A group of state and local officials from Westchester County are calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to close the Sing Sing Correctional Facility in Ossining as one of the measures the state will take to downsize its prison system. The state budget, which was adopted last week, gives Cuomo the authority to decide how to reduce 3,700 beds on the prison system. Up to six prisons could be shuttered. Cuomo had originally proposed setting up a panel to review prison capacity and make recommendations, but the Legislature agreed to give all the authority to the governor.
The officials sent a letter explaining their request to the governor today. The signatories include Assemblywoman Sandra Galef, D-Ossining; Sen. Suzi Oppenheimer, D-Mamaroneck; Westchester County Legislator Bill Burton; Ossining Town Supervisor Catherine Borgia; and Village of Ossining Mayor Bill Hanauer.
They reasoned that while there are concerns that upstate communities could be hurt economically if they lost their prisons, residents of Ossining have long been asking for Sing Sing to close. It is in a “high-value, densely populated residential community” and is located on 55-60 “of the most valuable and most viable waterfront acres in the lower Hudson Valley.” The state could make a good profit by selling the land, they contend.
The state committed to close Sing Sing in the late 1970s and should follow through on that, the officials wrote.