PHARSALIA –Gov. David Paterson’s proposed 2009-10 state budget cuts call for the closure of Camp Pharsalia.
This is the second time since November that the governor has aimed to cut back at the minimum security facility, which state officials claim is below 50 percent capacity and needs to be consolidated into other facilities.
“I’m not happy about this. Pharsalia has been an ongoing saga for many years. It gets tougher and tougher every year to keep it open,” said Sen. Thomas W. Libous, R-Binghamton.
This is hardly the first time the prison facility has found itself posed on the state’s chopping block.
Former Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s 2008-09 budget proposal also called for its closure, but local state representatives in the districts were able to convince the state to reverse it plans.
The New York State Department of Correctional Services began implementing an $8.7 million savings plan in November that closed one of camp’s housing units.
This action was part of a larger state move called for by Gov. Paterson to reduce housing in 15 prisons.
Originally, Camp Pharsalia had four dormitories. One was closed in 2004, and the November shut down was completed in early December, leaving only two housing units in operation.
The facility has since faced a gradual loss of inmates and staff in an eroding war of attrition, said Libous.