As closures loom, No.Co. prison pops drop

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ALBANY — As Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration weighs likely prison closures later this year, thirteen correctional facilities in the North Country could be targets, with most operating far below their inmate capacity.

The number of men incarcerated in the region’s state-run prison complex has plummeted by nearly half over the last four years.

‘FISCALLY APPROPRIATE’

In the 2021 NYS budget, the state legislature authorized Governor Andrew Cuomo to close additional prisons this year “as is safe and fiscally appropriate,” according to DOCCS.

Recent state data shows the North Country currently houses roughly 7,300 men behind bars. That’s a 45% drop from 2017-2018, when the region’s inmate population was roughly 13,300.

BELOW CAPACITY

According to data from the NYS Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS), ten out of the thirteen prisons in the North Country are operating below half-capacity.

Moriah Schock in Essex County is about 16% full. Altona Correctional in Clinton County is 30% full, while the state prison in Ogdensburg is about 35% full.

The facility operating at the highest capacity in the North Country is Great Meadow, a maximum-security prison in Washington County, which is 85% full with about 1360 incarcerated people.

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