Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Prison Closings a Concern for Aubry

During Monday's final meeting of the Conference Subcommittee on Public Protection, Democratic Assemblyman Jeff Aubry expressed concerns about plans for prison closings in the state.
Aubry, who voted in favor of their final report, voiced concerns about the the future plans for prison closings in the state. As originally proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, prison closings would be decided by his own task-force, but this suggestion was dropped as part of a three-way agreement announced on Sunday. Now the prisons will be closed at the whim of the administration with "consultation" from the legislature.
This change was better in the opinion of Aubry, yet he noted that it didn't guarantee participation from the legislature.
Additionally, he questioned the number of prison beds that would be eliminated, as the number had risen from 3,500 to 3,700. Aubry wondered out loud how that increase had happened and what savings would be realized.

Here are some of the highlights from the Committee's final report:

-Partial restorations of various General Fund aid to localities' criminal justice programs.
- Office for Prevention of Domestic Violence, Office of Victim Services and the State Commission of Correction 10% reduction restoration - Reject merger with Division of Criminal Justice Services.
- Technical changes and residency requirements for the District Attorney and the Indigent Legal Service Attoreny Loan Forgiveness.
- Deny transfer (for two years) of $1.5 million from Public Safety Communications Account to the Emergency Services Revolving Loan Fund.
- Modify money available for County Public Safety Answering Points from $9.3 million to $18 million - Additional $9 million to be used for operations and consolidations in fiscal year 2012-13.
- Reject $1.5 million increase in operating funds for the Office of Indigent Legal Defense Services.

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