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New York to close 3 prisons, including Clinton Annex

Published: Dec. 21, 2020 at 6:16 PM EST
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PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (WCAX) - Three New York state prisons could be shut down: Watertown, Gowanda Correctional Facilities and the Clinton Annex. The Clinton Annex is attached to the maximum-security prison in Dannemora. Our Kelly O’Brien has reaction.

There is a lot of concern over the announcement of the Clinton Annex closing. The prison is one of the largest employers in the county.

“Couldn’t come at a worse time. What a way to end the year and go into the Christmas season. I’m just very disgusted by this and extremely upset,” said Billy Jones, D-Chateaugay Lake.

Outrage in the North Country after the decision to cut three prisons in the state.

Of the 975 jobs that will need to be relocated, 214 are in Clinton County.

“The department is hopeful they can make some of the positions transfers to where people want to go, as close to home as possible if not at least at Clinton,” said John Roberts of NYSCOPBA.

With civilian jobs included, it’s estimated that 300 jobs would be impacted total.

“This is stressful on our families, this is stressful on the people who have to do this,” Jones said.

The decision comes from the state’s Department of Corrections and Community Supervision. It says the closures are the result of fewer prisoners.

DOCCS says the closure will save the state $89 million and reduce over 2,700 beds.

When picking which prisons to shutter, they look at things like infrastructure needs and what kind of programs they offer.

“Closing the annex does not make a lot of sense to me. It is a shared resource with the main,” Roberts said.

The Annex at Dannemora is medium security and houses fewer than 500 inmates, who will be transferred to other prisons in the state.

“The only thing separating the two jails is a wall in between,” Roberts said.

This is an all too familiar feeling for Dannemora Town Supervisor Bill Chase

“It’s actually the second closure of a correctional facility within the confines of the town of Dannemora,” Chase said. “The Lyon Mountain Correctional Facility was closed in 2011 and it still sits there empty. There has been no reuse put to it.”

And they’re worried the annex will meet the same fate. But DOCCS says they will work with the state’s Office of General Services and Economic Development to find ways to reuse it.

The state has 90 days from now to finish these closures but elected officials are calling on DOCCS and the state to reverse their decision.

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