GOWANDA – Several New York State legislators are calling on the Governor and Department of Corrections to pause the Gowanda Correctional Facility closure.
Senator George Borrello, Senator Patrick Gallivan and Assemblyman Joseph Giglio sent a letter on Friday to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision calling for the pause.
The closure was announced last month under an expedited 90-day timeline that was authorized in the last state budget. Typically, the lawmakers say, there is a one-year notification requirement.
“The Gowanda Area Redevelopment Corporation submitted a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request in January to the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision for budget figures related to the closure of Gowanda Correctional,” said Senator Borrello in a statement.
Calling the fast-tracked closure unacceptable, Borrello questions the amount of savings shutter the facility will yield.
“Millions of dollars in construction projects were reportedly approved for Gowanda Correctional prior to the closure announcement, including roof replacements and new windows,” furthered Borrello. “These contracts will have to be honored, even though the facility will be empty.”
According to Department of Correction officials, they carefully reviewed operations at 52 correctional facilities and identified Gowanda, among Watertown and Clinton Annex, for closure.
The three facilities are slated to close by March 30.
A spokesperson says since Governor Cuomo took office in 2011, the prison population has declined by more than 22,000, a 39% reduction.