The state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision will close a pair of prisons due to an overall decline in the inmate population and low crime rate.
The agency announced Friday that it will close Lincoln Correctional Facility, a minimum security prison in Manhattan, and Livingston Correctional Facility, a medium security prison in western New York. The prisons were selected for closure after a review of the state's 54 correctional facilities.
"The closures will eliminate approximately 1,200 vacant beds without impacting the safety and security of the 52 remaining facilities," said Thomas Mailey, a DOCCS spokesperson.
Livingston Correctional Facility has 806 inmates, a maximum capacity of 874 and 327 employees. Lincoln Correctional Facility has a maximum capacity of 284, with 133 inmates housed at the prison and 113 employees.
Livingston is adjacent to Groveland Correctional Facility, another medium security prison. Lincoln is in Manhattan. There are two other minimum security facilities in New York City.
DOCCS said the closure plan includes options for staff to transfer to other prisons or state agencies.
The 2019-20 state budget authorized Gov. Andrew Cuomo to close up to three prisons. Cuomo proposed the prison closures in a 30-day amendment during the budget process.
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Cuomo, who has closed 13 prisons since becoming governor in 2011, said additional closures were necessary because of a reduction in the prison population. There are 46,718 inmates in state prisons, according to DOCCS. The population has decreased by more than 10,500 — 18.4 percent — over the last eight years.
"These closures are a result of the governor's successful progressive criminal justice reforms that have led to a historic decrease in crime, including both violent and property offenses, as well as individuals incarcerated in New York state prisons," Mailey said.
It's the first round of prison closures in five years. In 2014, Cuomo closed four prisons — three medium security facilities and one minimum security facility. The shuttered prisons include Butler Correctional Facility in Wayne County.
Cayuga County prisons have been spared from the prison closures. The county has two state prisons: Auburn Correctional Facility, a maximum security prison, and Cayuga Correctional Facility, a medium security prison in Moravia.
Online producer Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.