Legislators call for role in prison closures
Three state legislators from the Capital Region are pushing for the state Legislature to gain approval over prison closures, following this summer's announcement that Mt. McGregor prison would close in the summer of 2014.
“Proper management of our prison system is crucial for ensuring public safety," Assemblyman Tony Jordan, R-Jackson, a co-sponsor of the proposal said in a statement.
"The decision to close any facilities should be subject to a full public vetting that can only be accomplished through legislative review and ratification," he added. "It is crucial that we consider all of the consequences, both short term and long term, and consider other viable alternatives to achieve cost savings, before these decisions are made.:
A copy of the proposal, which is sponsored by Jordan and Assemblyman James Tedisco, R-Glenville, in the Assembly and in the state Senate by Sen. Kathy Marchione, R-Halfmoon, is available below.
Tedisco said in a statement that the closure plan was an example of "covert government in action."
"Last I checked New York State was still a representative democracy with three branches of government: the executive, legislative and judicial," Tedisco said. "Any prison closure plan should be brought before the legislature for a full and open public debate and a vote and not crafted in secret and handed down by fiat from the administration."
Marchone accused Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration of trying to balance its budget on the back of the corrections department. “It’s time for a little more check-and-balance in New York’s system of checks and balances; our legislation would ensure that the legislative branch is heard and goes on-record before any correctional facility is closed so serious matters of public safety can receive an actual public hearing,” Marchione said in a statement.
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