Watertown Correctional Facility to close in 2021, Congresswoman Stefanik opposes


WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — Following an anouncement that the Watertown Correctional Facility will close in 2021, New York State elected officials released statements opposing the decision.

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik released a statement, alongside State Elected Officials, in opposition of the decision to close both the Watertown Correctional Facility ad Clinton Annex Facility in 2021.

In her statement, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik refers to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s bail reform law and the spread of COVID-19 in prisons.

Congresswoman Stefanik’s full statement is as follows.

“In his latest misguided attempt to weaken our law enforcement and make New York less safe, Governor Cuomo is pulling the rug out from our correction officers, their families, and our North Country communities after an already challenging year. First, the Governor passed harmful bail reform laws that released violent criminals back onto the streets causing the crime rates across our state to skyrocket. Instead of listening to our corrections officers and law enforcement leaders, Governor Cuomo has repeatedly ignored their concerns regarding the spread of COVID through our prisons and only relented after widespread bipartisan outcry. Now, he is taking it a step further in deciding to permanently close these two critical facilities that have the capacity to distance prisoners and staff and lower the risk of COVID-19 exposure. I am deeply opposed to the Governor’s proposed closures. Our brave correction officers are an essential part of our Upstate law enforcement community. The timing of this announcement could not be worse right before the holidays and as crime rates in the state are on the rise and COVID-19 continues to spread throughout our prisons. Our correction officers have risked their health and personal safety throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. I am now calling on the Governor to immediately reverse this action and keep our corrections officers, their families, and our communities safe by keeping these essential facilities open.”

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik’s reaction to the closure of the Watertown Correctional Facility ad Clinton Annex Facility, December 21, 2020.

Additionally, following the announcement, NYGOP Chairman Nick Langworthy released a statement following Governor Cuomo’s announcement.

“The hardworking corrections officers and jail employees have been under-appreciated and disrespected when they should be receiving compassion and gratitude for working incredibly difficult jobs under horrible conditions. First, he withheld critical PPE from them and now he is ruining their families’ Christmas and putting them on unemployment lines in areas where his policies have crushed local economies giving the displaced workforce very few opportunities.”

NYGOP Chairman Nick Langworthy

Assemblyman Mark Walczyk also released statements on the decision.

During this time when the state’s economy is hanging by a thread, instead of applying some common sense by cutting spending and government programs, one person, who thrust this power onto himself, has made the decision to put countless people out of work and even more criminals back on the streets.  The Governor alone made this decision.

The Watertown Correctional Facility is one of the more efficient and modern in the state’s system.  If the Governor really wants to downsize, he should be looking downstate.  Those facilities have more real estate value and cost way more to operate.

Assemblyman Mark Walczyk


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