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Senate GOP pushing new prison plan

Republicans in the state Senate have developed their own plan for reforming New York's prison system.

Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos said Wednesday the proposal would phase-out up to six minimum security correctional facilities. But the plan, Skelos says, also protects upstate communities from devastating job losses.

Many communities in the North Country rely on state prisons for employment.

The state Senate presented its plan to Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday, but details were not made public. Sources close to the story indicate the plan would cut jobs in New York City and shutdown at least five prisons around the state.

According to state Senator Betty Little, Gov. Cuomo says he is open to considering proposed closures.

In an email sent to WNBZ, Little's spokesman, Dan MacEntee, said the senator maintains that "it is important when considering a closure the value and marketability of the property to be considered."

Here in the Tri-Lakes, officials from the town of Brighton say the former minimum security prison at Camp Gabriels has been a tough sell due to its deteriorating condition.

Little says the economic impact of prison closures should also be considered.

Cuomo wants to eliminate 3,500 prison beds statewide in attempts to close a massive budget deficit. The Assembly and Senate are expected to present different proposals to the governor.

The budget is due April 1.

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