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Corrections officers union radio spots oppose state prison, mental health closures

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The union representing state corrections officers and police is launching an advertising campaign opposing the closure of inpatient services at the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center, Ogdensburg, four prisons and four centers for the developmentally disabled.

The New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association-sponsored radio ads will air in Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, Elmira, Plattsburgh, Rochester, Syracuse and Watertown. Radio stations will start broadcasting them today, according to a news release from NYSCOPBA.

“While Governor Cuomo is focused on New York City, upstate continues to suffer,” the ads say. “Instead of reforming bureaucratic waste and overtime costs, the governor wants to shut four prisons and several mental health facilities. That will kill hundreds of good paying jobs, and make these institutions even more overcrowded and dangerous. Tell Governor Cuomo: no unilateral prison and mental health closings. Let’s protect good jobs and services, and not hurt our economy.”

The state Office of Mental Health has proposed removing inpatient services from the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center and transferring patients to downstate hospitals in a move toward a treatment model that relies less on costly inpatient care and more on community-based support programs. The NYSCOPBA news release also states that four state-run centers for the developmentally disabled are proposed to be shuttered.

Prisons proposed for closure include Mt. McGregor Correctional Facility, Saratoga County, Chateaugay Correctional in Franklin County, Butler Correctional in Wayne County, and Monterey Shock Incarceration Facility in Schuyler County.

In total, the planned closures will affect 675 corrections officers and 4,000 mental health care providers, according to NYSCOPBA. The St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center employs approximately 500 workers.

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