Two stories today out of Malone about Franklin County’s correctional facilities.
First, the Franklin County legislature unanimously passed a resolution opposing the planned closure of Chateaugay Correctional Facility next year, the Plattsburgh Press Republican reports. Chateaugay is one of four prisons in New York that the state’s planning to close; currently it houses 234 inmates who are all parole violators with short terms to serve. It provides 111 jobs, but the state has said no one’s going to lose his or her job: All 111 positions will be absorbed into other prisons in the area.
This may be true, but county officials say the movement of jobs out of Chateaugay will have a strong impact on the local economy. Legislature Chairman Billy Jones, who’s also a corrections officer told the paper local retail will suffer: “They say no job losses, but 111 people won’t be shopping at Stewart’s or the IGA or Price Chopper in Malone or other convenience stores.”
Since New York state is closing the prisons to save money (it says it expects total savings for all four to be more than $30 million), Jones also points out that a new gas pipeline will include the prison next year, which would mean substantial savings if it was still open.
The resolution is blunt in its wording on the local economy’s need for prisons, the paper reports: “They said the North Country economy is built around the prison system, ‘making our economy now dependent on open and functional facilities,’ the resolution states.”
Also from the Press Republican today (indeed, from the same reporter!) comes the news that the state has suspended two Franklin Correctional Facility sergeants and a corrections officer for a “use of force incident” involving an inmate on July 23. The three corrections workers haven’t been identified, and the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision says its investigating the incident internally. Apparently there haven’t been any arrests at this point.