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NY budget allows Cuomo to expedite more prison closures

April 6, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 66%. 2 min read.

The final 2021-22 state budget gives Gov. Andrew Cuomo the authority to fast-track more New York prison closures.

NY budget allows Cuomo to expedite more prison closures

The final 2021-22 state budget gives Gov. Andrew Cuomo the authority to fast-track more New York prison closures.

The public protection and general government budget bill contains language that allows Cuomo to close more correctional facilities in the 2021-22 fiscal year.

Cuomo has used a similar provision in past budgets to close state prisons.

In the 2020-21 fiscal year, which ended March 31, he could order the closure of correctional facilities as long as he notified Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins at least 90 days before the prisons ceased operations.

COVID-19 delayed the closures, but Cuomo announced in December that three state prisons would close — Gowanda and Watertown correctional facilities, and the annex at Clinton Correctional Facility.

Two years ago, Cuomo expedited the closure of two prisons — Lincoln and Livingston correctional facilities.

When Cuomo proposed additional closures this year, he asked the state Legislature to grant him the authority over two fiscal years — 2021-22 and 2022-23.

Acting DOCCS Commissioner Anthony Annucci told state legislators in February that "we anticipate additional facility closures in the upcoming two fiscal years. " The number of facility closures wasn't disclosed, but Annucci said they would eliminate approximately 1,800 beds.

The state Legislature differed on whether to allow Cuomo to expedite more prison closures.

The state Senate's one-house budget would've required Cuomo to notify legislative leaders at least 180 days before closing New York prisons.

However, the state Assembly's one-house budget didn't include any language that would speed up the prison closure process.

While Cuomo will be able to expedite prison closures, the public protection budget bill requires him to include certain details in his notice to legislative leaders.

The notification should include the list of correctional facilities Cuomo will close, the number of incarcerated individuals in the affected prisons and how many employees work at the facilities.

Within 60 days of the prison closures, the DOCCS commissioner must provide information to legislative leaders about staff relocation efforts.

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