ALBANY, N.Y. - The New York State Department of Corrections says they plan to close four more prisons in response the shrinking number of drug offenders behind bars.
The Department of Corrections announced plans Friday to close the minimum-security Monterey Shock facility in Schuyler County and three medium-security facilities: Butler in Wayne County, Chateaugay in Franklin County and Mt. McGregor, which is used to house 455 inmates including a significant number of drug offenders, in Saratoga County.
State officials cite a "dramatic" reduction in the state crime rate - 15% decrease in the past 10 years - and drug offenders in those prisons.
Since 1999, the prison population in New York has declined by almost 24%, from a high of 71,600 to approximately 54,600 incarcerated today.
the end of 1996, there were 24,085 drug offenders in custody. By comparison, on
December 31, 2012, that number reached a new low of 7,053, which represents a
reduction of 71%.
They say closing the four prisons will save taxpayers over $30 million annually.
The prisons will remain open for a full year, giving administrators time to transfer inmates to others. Officials say they want to prevent layoffs by moving employees to other facilities.
New York has closed seven prisons since 2011 and will close two more in September. The state currently operates 60 prisons.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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