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State leaders spare Moriah Shock Incarceration Facility

MINEVILLE - The Moriah Shock Incarceration Facility - and its 102 jobs - has been spared.

Gov. David Paterson announced last week he has restored funding for the prison, located in the Moriah hamlet of Mineville, in his 2010-11 executive budget.

"It's absolutely great news for the community and Essex County," Moriah Supervisor Tom Scozzafava said. "The day I got the call that they were going to close Moriah Shock was devastating news. This is wonderful news."

Paterson and leaders of the Senate and Assembly, as part of the state budget process, reached an agreement to continue operating the Moriah facility, as well as a medium-security correctional facility in Ogdensburg.

Both facilities had been slated for closure under Paterson's original budget proposal.

Scozzafava made four trips to Albany to lobby the governor and state leaders to keep the prison open. He also met with the governor and other state officials when they came to Crown Point for Lake Champlain Bridge activities.

"It was a team effort from day one," Scozzafava said of the effort to save Moriah Shock. "The Essex County Board of Supervisors, County Board Chairman Randy Douglas, the county manager, everyone worked very hard."

Paterson was the key, though, according to Scozzafava.

"The governor was willing to meet with us and he listened," Scozzafava said.

Paterson called Scozzafava with the news June 18.

"He told me, 'You people have been hit hard enough with the bridge closing and economy'," Scozzafava related. "He showed real compassion for our residents."

The Moriah Shock Incarceration Facility houses nonviolent 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.

The 200-bed camp employs 102 and is the second-largest employer in Moriah.

Scozzafava said some former inmates contacted state officials asking that Moriah Shock be spared.

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