Some economically ailing communities in upstate New York are preparing for bad news that Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans to close their local state prison to save money. The New York Times says that in Ossining, a Hudson River village 45 minutes from midtown Manhattan, residents are pleading with Cuomo to close their Sing Sing prison.
Local officials argue that Sing Sing now an awkward fit for its locale. What was a blue-collar village suitable for the rough-and-tumble of prisoners and guards now is an upscale suburb fit for backyard cocktail parties. Several local and state lawmakers wrote to Cuomo this month asking to close “the big House,” as Sing Sing has been called, and move its 1,725 inmates to a new or refurbished prison upstate where communities would welcome the jobs. The want Sing Sing’s 60-acre riverside property to be turned into condos and shops that will generate taxes for local government and raise property values. It may not happen, because Cuomo wants to eliminate minimum- and medium-security facilities where there are more empty beds and not maximum-security prisons like Sing Sing.