WPTZ: Community members rally in front of Clinton Annex
Facility to close March 30
10:02 PM EST Jan 9, 2021. WPTZ, Elena Barilla, Reporter
DANNEMORA, N.Y. — Community members rallied in front of Clinton Annex on Saturday morning, after its closure was announced along with two other state correctional facilities during the holidays.
“Here I am sitting here at Christmastime, celebrating Christmas, but next year, what are we going to do at Christmas?” said Kassandra Charland, whose husband works at the Facility.
The Clinton Annex is slated to close on March 30, now that the state has the lowest inmate population since 1985, according to New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.
“While conducting the review, DOCCS based the decision on a variety of factors, including but not limited to physical infrastructure, program offerings, facility security level, specialized medical and mental health services, other facilities in the area to minimize the impact to staff, potential reuse options and areas of the State where prior closures have occurred in order to minimize the impact to communities,” reads a statement from DOCCS.
“We need to do everything we can to save Clinton Annex,” Assemblyman Billy Jones spoke to the crowd. “We cannot have people moving out of the community. Can’t have it. Won’t have it. We have to keep the jobs here in the North Country and you have our word that we’re going to do everything to do that.”
The annex provides 300 jobs to the community, and DOCCS says they aren’t anticipating any layoffs.
“DOCCS is working closely with the various bargaining units to provide staff opportunities for priority placement via voluntary transfers and will receive priority in terms of employment at other facilities or other state agencies as a result of the formal Civil Service process that is followed with the closure of a correctional facility,” the statement reads.
As previously reported by NBC5, the corrections officers union, New York State Correctional Officers & Police Benevolent Association, says transfers to nearby facilities will be done on a seniority basis.
“I could be sent away from home, and I don’t know what my family and I are going to do. We don’t have a plan for that,” said Morgan Stanton, a correction officer at Clinton Annex of 3 years.
Congresswoman Elise Stefanik argues the Clinton Annex is an economic driver of the community, and even Dannemora small businesses will be impacted by the closure.
“Not only is it the wrong decision, but the governor should have come up here, heard directly from corrections officers and their families how much this would impact this community, and this economy which is already struggling. This region is struggling,” said Congresswoman Stefanik.
According to DOCCS, facility closures will save the state $89 million.
“Ultimately there is a budget and it is a business, you have to do what’s best, but I think there’s a lot of other things we can cut and maybe take a look at it before we just ultimately close three facilities with no reasons given,” said John Roberts, Northern Regional Vice President of NYSCOPBA.
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