Prison incidents reported
REGION — In response to a push by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to close three state prisons, a prison guard advocate released two recent incidents in which guards were wounded or splattered with human feces in state correctional facilities in the Town of Walkill and the Town of Fallsburg.
Michael Mazzella, a vice president of the Mid-Hudson Region of the New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association, issued a press release that said one incident occurred on February 19 at the prison in Wallkill. Two officers were injured when they tried to take a “green leafy substance” from a prisoner. The prisoner resisted and punched the lead officer in the face several times, and bit both officers. The prisoner was ultimately subdued when more officers arrived. The officers were treated for their injuries.
The 28-year-old inmate, who was serving a seven-year sentence for attempted burglary, was transferred to Sullivan County Correctional Facility (SCCF) in the Town of Fallsburg.
The second incident occurred at the SCCF on February 10. The press release states, “An officer was conducting security rounds when he was struck with feces in the face, chest and legs that was thrown by an inmate from his cell.” Two other officers had the same experience. The inmate was serving 25 years to life after being convicted of murder in 2000.
Mazzella said, “Governor Cuomo’s prison closure announcement is just another example of being penny wise and pound foolish. While there will be savings in closing three prisons, you can never put a value on public safety, and that is exactly what he is doing. Year after year, the prison population declines, yet the amount of violence inside our prisons increases to record levels.”
On February 15, Cuomo called for the prison closures, but he did not indicate which three prisons out of 54 the state operations might be impacted.
In announcing the possible closures, Cuomo noted that the state’s crime rate has been dropping over recent years, and the three proposed closings would save the state some $35 million annually.
As the legislature moves through the budget process, lawmakers are facing a $3.2 billion deficit, which Cuomo has blamed on the Tax Cut and Jobs Act, passed in Washington D.C. in December 2017, which had a significant impact on the tax rate paid by wealthy New Yorkers.