Stec talks prison closures, reforms
GABRIELS — When state Sen. Dan Stec toured the long-shuttered Camp Gabriels state prison last week, he had prison closures on his mind.
On Nov. 8, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the closure of six more state prisons, including Ogdensburg Correctional Facility and Moriah Shock Incarceration Correctional Facility, a decision Stec, R-Queensbury, opposed.
Stec said the state does not have a good track record on putting closed prisons to use after they shut down — adding that Camp Gabriels, which has been empty since 2009, is a prime example of that.
The state says these six prison closures, which are slated to take place on March 10, 2022, are expected to save $142 million.
‘Times have changed’
Stec has a complex view of prisons. He believes criminal justice reforms are needed from time to time, but he’s often voted against the reforms proposed by Democratic legislators, who hold a majority in the state Legislature. He said these changes from progressives are too “soft on crime.”
Stec said perception of the state prison system depends on someone’s point of view.
“Is the system fair? Is the system racist? Is the system biased? It depends on where you sit,” he said. “In my limited exposure to it, (I) have confidence in it. But if I had a loved one in there, maybe I’d be a critic.”
Stec said he believes there are cases of abuse and mistreatment in state prisons. He said he’s heard the “horror stories.” But he doesn’t believe the whole system should change because of these cases. He believes most DOCCS workers are good people and that his Democratic colleagues are making their job harder.
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