Governor to close Downstate Correctional Facility

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FISHKILL – Governor Kathy Hochul announced Monday that she plans to close six state prisons by early next year including Downstate Correctional Facility in Fishkill.

That prison is a reception center for new inmates entering the state prison system. Built in 1979, it currently employs 644 people and houses 688 prisoners.

The announced closure plan for Downstate prison does not sit well with State Senator Sue Serino (R, Hyde Park).

“Since the start of the pandemic, hundreds of our neighbors who work at Downstate Correctional have selflessly put their own health on the line to do their jobs, protect our community, and return home to their loved ones, and how are they being repaid? With news of a pending closure just before the holiday season,” the senator said.

“New York’s prison populations are not dropping because our state has suddenly become safer, they are dropping because of misguided policies coming out of Albany like ‘bail reform’ that put criminals ahead of law-abiding citizens and back onto our streets. The proposed closures will hurt both our prison workforce and those incarcerated, who will likely be sent to more crowded facilities while the COVID-19 pandemic continues to pose a threat,” Serino said.

Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro said the announced closure “has taken Dutchess County by surprise.” He said there has been no coordination between the governor’s office and the county about the closure nor “a coordinated plan for the future use of the parcel and the hundreds of workers who will be affected.”

Michael Powers, president of the New York State Corrections Officers PBA said the state “needs to realize that these choices are more than just buildings and tax-saving measures, these are life-altering decisions that upend lives and destroy communities.”