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Moriah supervisor heads to Albany

PORT HENRY - Moriah Supervisor Tom Scozzafava will meet with Gov. David Paterson this week to state the case for the Moriah Shock Incarceration Facility.

Scozzafava and Randy Douglas, chairman of the Essex County Board of Supervisors, are scheduled to sit down with the governor in Albany Feb. 9.

It will be the second time the two local leaders have had face-to-face talks with Paterson about the Moriah prison, which is scheduled to be closed in April 2011 as part of the governor's plan to trim the state budget deficit.

Scozzafava and Douglas met with Paterson Jan. 24 when the governor was in Crown Point to announce the opening a ferry service there.

"I think it went very well," Scozzafava said of the meeting. "It was brief, maybe five minutes, but he certainly listened to what we had to say. He promised he would look into the reasons they chose Moriah (Shock) and he'd get back to us personally.

"We're going to meet again Feb. 9," the Moriah supervisor said.

The facility in Mineville houses non-violent offenders in a military boot camp-type program that involves exercise, physical labor, academics and substance abuse treatment.

It is one of four shock incarceration facilities in the state, housing 170 inmates.

With 100 employees, the prison is Moriah's second-largest employer. Under Paterson's proposal no one will lose their job, but Moriah Shock employees would have to transfer to another corrections facility.

The community demonstrated its support for the shock facility at a rally Jan. 25 in Port Henry. About 200 people attended, including state Sen. Betty Little and Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward.

"The community, employees, everyone is rallying to keep the facility open," Scozzafava said, noting the people who need to be convinced weren't at the rally.

The governor could spare the Moriah Shock Incarceration Facility or the state legislature could do do it. Little and Sayward have expressed their support for the prison.

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