PHARSALIA – With a declining state prison population resulting in part from a sustained, overall drop in crime, New York plans to close the Pharsalia and Gabriels correctional camps, the medium security Hudson Correctional Facility and Camp McGregor, the minimum security camp at Mt. McGregor Correctional Facility, in January 2009.
The camps - Pharsalia (Chenango County), Gabriels (Franklin County) and McGregor (Saratoga County) - are each operating at about one-half capacity. Remaining inmates will be transferred to other camps and possibly other minimum security correctional facilities. Remaining inmates from Hudson (Columbia County) will fill vacancies at other medium security prisons. Hudson’s Work Release component will remain open.
The closures will save taxpayers $10.4 million in operating costs in 2008-09 and $33.5 million annually in operating costs beginning in 2009-10, plus nearly $30 million by avoiding prison capital expenditures. Those savings will help pay the estimated $20.6 million annual operating cost and $70 million two-year capital project cost to the Department of Correctional Services (DOCS) to provide expanded treatment and programs mandated by the State Legislature and the courts for mentally ill inmates and incarcerated sex offenders.
The State will seek to help each impacted community by attempting to find another use for the closed facility, working with local officials. And all of the 584 employees (some part-time) at the four facilities will be offered jobs that become vacant at other correctional facilities as staff there retire or leave, in accordance with Civil Service rules and union contractual agreements. DOCS intends to work with the four labor unions that represent state correctional employees to ensure smooth transitions for affected workers.
Additional information and details are available in a “Prison Closure Fact Sheet” on the Department’s web site, www.docs.state.ny.us.
A complete story with local reaction will appear in Monday’s Evening Sun.