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Budget Knife Is Aimed At Prison System In N.Y.


This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.


We begin with Brian Mann in Ogdensburg in Upstate New York.


BRIAN MANN: This is a prison town. For 30 years two state correctional facilities have anchored the local economy. Hundreds of people work behind the bars. But now Governor Andrew Cuomo, as part of a budget cutting effort, is talking about closing five prisons statewide, and people here are worried.

CHAD STICKNEY: For Ogdensburg to lose either prison, Riverview or Ogdensburg Correctional, would be economically devastating.

MANN: Here he is speaking earlier this year in his State of the State address.


ANDREW CUOMO: An incarceration program is not an employment program. If people need jobs, let's get people jobs. Don't put other people in prison to give some people jobs.

MANN: Prison guard Chad Stickney says his industry is collapsing and those officers who can afford to retire or find other work are getting out.

STICKNEY: Right now we're losing a rate of 70 to 80 officers a month. And with no academy running, they have to close prisons, just to keep up with retirements.

MANN: Katie Morgan runs the Busy Corner Cafe. She says even without a prison closure, things here are hard.

KATIE MORGAN: Taking money away from them(ph) would make it a lot worse. They're one of these people going out and buying food and tipping the waitress, just going somewhere else, and Wal-Mart, whatever.

MANN: For NPR News, I'm Brian Mann in Upstate New York. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Brian Mann
Brian Mann is NPR's first national addiction correspondent. He also covers breaking news in the U.S. and around the world.