Opposition planned in wake of sudden announcement

GENESEO — With Friday afternoon's surprise announcement that Livingston Correctional Facility in the Town of Groveland is closing, Livingston County government officials are upset and are taking action.

The prison, which is presently undergoing a series of taxpayer funded capital improvements and is at nearly full capacity, is one of two facilities the Governor's office has signaled to the State Legislature that he intends to close. Livingston Correctional is a state-run, medium-security prison that employs 327 employees and houses 806 prisoners.

The Board of Supervisors is planning a Committee of the Whole resolution in opposition to the closure, and specifically the closure process, and has also sent a freedom of information request to the Department of Corrections and Community Services ("DOCCS").

"We understand that the Governor was given wide authority to close correctional facilities, but we question the process and why Livingston," questioned Chairman of the Board David LeFeber. "Why spend millions of taxpayer dollars on recent and current improvements only to close the facility? Why close a facility that is near maximum capacity at 92% occupancy? We have a lot of questions. It does not make sense. We are also concerned about the impact to the local economy and the hurt this causes the hundreds of taxpayers who rely on this facility for good paying jobs."

The County only found out about the closure on Friday afternoon, minutes before the news was released to the public. The Board's resolution will be asking the state to reconsider the closure plans for Livingston Correctional, due in part to the economic impact of losing hundreds of middle-class jobs.

The lack of transparency is a concern as well.

"The DOCCS press statement indicates the state used a thorough process to review possible prison sites for closure consideration," stated Ian Coyle, County Administrator. "We simply want to know and have now asked via a records request, what went into that process, what reports were produced, who was notified about what and when and - if this indeed a done deal - what the redevelopment and reuse plans are for the site moving forward."

Assemblywoman Marjorie Byrnes (R,C-Caledonia) held a press conference today in response to the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision’s decision to close Livingston Correctional Facility. Byrnes seeks to investigate and delve deeper into why the Cuomo administration specifically targeted Livingston Correctional Facility. Check back for updates.