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Cuomo budget proposal would close Beacon Correctional Facility

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Albany/HV: Cuomo budget proposal would close Beacon Correctional Facility
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Included in Governor Cuomo's budget proposal -- prison closures. He wants to close the minimum security Beacon Correctional Facility which sits more than half empty. Cuomo says it's one of the least efficient prisons in the site. YNN's John Wagner reports.

BEACON, N.Y. -- Governor Cuomo says the state is spending nearly $70,000 a year for an inmate at Beacon Correctional Facility, and even more at the Bayview prison in Manhattan. The benchmark for efficient prisons sits at $34,000 per inmate a year.

"It is not right, we can't afford it," said Governor Andrew Cuomo. "If we are serious about balancing the budget, let's run government the way it should be run. We should close these two facilities."

The proposal shocked Beacon's mayor who worries the shuttering could slow down the city's positive momentum. The prison currently pays Beacon for sewer and water services.

"Any impact when you lose jobs, no matter where it comes from, hurts the economy in the valley," said Beacon Mayor Randy Casale.

Beacon and Bayview correctional facilities combine to hold 432 beds. By closing both prisons, Governor Cuomo expects to save nearly $19 million through 2014 and another $62 million the year after.

The NYSCOPBA union representing the correction officers released a statement from their President, Donn Rowe, saying, "By once again jamming more inmates into fewer locations, the state will drive up the inmate to officer ratio and increase the risk of violent incidents inside correctional facilities. Coupled with the state’s consistent inability to sufficiently staff state facilities, the proposals introduced today will increase the level of danger for our members."

"Then what do we do, take the people that are already here and crowd the other prisons up," questioned Diane Spiak-Pisanelli, councilwoman for the City of Beacon. "Then we have people that are going to lose jobs and that means people moving out of Beacon and that means us losing tax revenue--so I don't think this is a good idea."

Beacon lawmakers say they will press the governor to come up with ways to make the prison more efficient, rather than shutting it entirely.

"Hopefully our legislators will be looking out to protect us up there in Albany," said Mayor Casale.

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