OGDENSBURG, N.Y. (WWTI) — On Thursday, local lawmakers stood on the steps of the Ogdensburg Correctional Facility to protest its imminent closure.

This was through the means of a rally led by Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY), and included local lawmakers such as Senator Patty Ritchie, Assemblyman Mark Walczyk and NYSCOPBA President Mike Powers.

It was previously announced that the facility would be closing in 2022 by the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision on November 8.

The decision was made based on a variety of factors including, physical infrastructure, program offerings, facility security level, specialized medical and mental health services, the proximity of other facilities in the area to minimize the impact to staff, and potential re-use options and areas of the state where prior closures have occurred in order to minimize the impact to communities.

According to Rep. Stefanik, the decision to close the facility is “devastating” for the North Country. She said she is planning to continue to fight to keep OCF open.

“I am proud to speak out for our law enforcement families and the North Country communities that too often are forgotten by the decisions Democrats make in Albany,” Stefanik said. “Especially at a time when Democrats’ failed policies have undermined our law enforcement and made our communities less safe, Governor Hochul’s decision to close these facilities will devastate our North Country communities and harm our hardworking residents. We must work together to save our North Country prisons.”

Both Senator Ritchie and Assemblyman Walczyk have been issuing statements since the announcement was made. They also spoke at the rally to further protest the closure.

“In closing Ogdensburg Correctional Facility, Governor Kathy Hochul has broken her promise to ‘fight like hell’ for New Yorkers. Instead, she’s working against us—ripping nearly 300 jobs out of our community, which is already struggling economically. I am proud to join Congresswoman Stefanik in standing up against this decision, which will have a devastating impact locally and on the North Country as a whole,” Senator Ritchie stated.

Governor Hochul didn’t plan accordingly and instead, she has torpedoed the upstate economy. Closing a prison with no plan is lazy, it’s not fair for the hardworking staff, and devastating to communities like Ogdensburg. It’s also pretty terrible for the taxpayer, too,” Assemblyman Walczyk added.

The medium-security facility located in Ogdensburg currently staffs 268 employees and houses 158 incarcerated individuals. The DOCCS plans on working with bargaining units to provide staff from the facilities with priority placement via voluntary transfers and priority employment at other facilities or other state agencies. The Department said in a statement that they do not anticipate any layoffs will take place due to the closures.

The incarcerated population at the six prisons will be relocated at other institutions. According to the DOCCS, the closing will save taxpayers approximately $142 million.

A video from the rally on December 16 is included below: