State continues prison review; Essex County could be spared

Officials are continuing their review of New York's prison system and potential closures could be announced in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, a regional lawmaker feels confident that a pair of state correctional facilities in Essex County will be spared.

Governor Andrew Cuomo was in Lake Placid earlier this week to outline his legislative agenda for the coming weeks. The popular Democratic governor hopes to enact a cap on property taxes, pass meaningful ethics reform, and sign a bill legalizing gay marriage by the end of the current legislative session.

Cuomo is pressuring lawmakers to accomplish these goals by June 20.

Speaking after a presentation of his agenda, Cuomo said news on potential prison closures is forthcoming.

"We're in the midst of the process now and we'll be having decisions to announce in several weeks," he said.

Earlier this month, a review of state records showed prisons running at about 88 percent capacity. Additionally, the study showed an excess of 8,000 beds throughout the state's 67 correctional facilities.

Cuomo wants to lower the count by some 3,700 beds, which could result in the closure of up to six prisons.

Here in the North Country, a number of state prisons provide critical employment in communities with few private sector opportunities.

Last year, lawmakers scrambled to save the Moriah Shock Incarceration Facility. Rumors have surfaced this year that the boot-camp style prison could be on the chopping block again - as well as the Adirondack Correctional Facility in Ray Brook.

But Randy Douglas, who chairs the Essex County Board of Supervisors, says he's confident the two facilities will remain open.

"We've had no inclination from the governor's staff or the governor's office that any of the two jails in Essex County - Adirondack Correctional or Moriah Shock - will be on the hit list this time around," Douglas said.

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