Governor Cuomo has announced the complete closing of 6 or 7 prison facilities in New York State. It seems that the prison population has declined from 71,600 in 1999 to 56,000 in 2010. According to the Staten Island Advance this drop in the population has occurred due to changes in how NYS handles non-violent drug crimes. We don't lock em up and throw away the key any more. Now they have access to early release programs or alternate programs which I assume include treatment.
One of those prisons slated for closing was, until last month, the home of Plaxico Burress. He served close to a two year sentence for shooting himself in the foot in a NYC nightclub. Apparently one doesn't need brains to play football since the incident happened because he tucked a heavy Glock pistol into the waistband of his sweatpants and set out to party in da club. When the gun began to slide down, he tried to grab it and accidentally pulled the trigger. At the time, I remember asking myself what kind of doofus puts a loaded Glock in the waistband of sweatpants WITH THE SAFETY OFF? Methinks he's lucky he only shot his foot.
Now that Oneida Correctional Facility has lost it's resident celebrity, it too is slated for closing. Of course, they could have moved him to Mohawk Correctional, which is directly next door to Oneida Correctional. Or, they could have moved him to Midstate Correctional or Marcy Correctional which are both located next to each other about 3 miles past my house. Oneida and Mohawk are about 6 miles in the other direction from my house.
There are 4 medium security facilities in my backyard, so to speak. We fought long and hard to get them, back in the day. Now, one of them is slated for closure within 60 days. With the announcement happening on the start of the long holiday weekend, not much has been said locally. By Tuesday night I'm going to hear how this will break our local economy. It will probably be in the rag we call a daily newspaper. There will be letters to the editor claiming that we will be bankrupt within X amount of weeks after the closing and people who don't know any better will believe it and add their shouts of dismay to the whole mess.
All these people who will be screaming for the head of Andrew Cuomo, will be the same ones who scream every time the state tries to tax the Oneida Indian Nation on all of it's money making holdings. There's all of those cigarettes being sold for which the state collects only it's share of sales tax. There are all those beds at the Turning Stone hotel for which the state collects no bed tax. Then there's the gasoline they sell at a mere 10 cents a gallon cheaper than any other place which pays 31 to 39 cents a gallon to the state of NY in gas, excise and sales tax. Of course, since the Oneidas are a "sovereign" nation, they pay no land taxes or school taxes.
There is a small group of citizens who live in the areas where the Oneidas have their holdings. They pay some pretty high taxes so that the Oneidas and their Turning Stone Casino and Resort patrons get to arrive safely on roads kept in good condition by NYS taxes. That small group of people are rather vocal about exactly how unfair this is. They've fought state government to change things and, of course, they lost. The Oneidas are the biggest employers in a two county area, we can't have them closing up shop and putting all those people out of work. Which is the threat that we hear every time someone mentions making them pay their fair share. Something in me just doesn't believe that threat. Probably since pretty close to one third of those employees are actually members of the Oneida Nation.
The ignorant screamers who will be demanding that these prisons remain open so that people can be employed don't bother about the reduced population in those prisons. They don't look at the fact that with a diminished population there are a lot of correction officers making big paychecks for doing a whole lot less than they used to. They also don't look at the fact that they demanded and won a property tax cap. Which means that NYS MUST reduce their expenditures in order to stay within the budget. Of course, the screamers seem to think that this can all be accomplished by reducing the number of $300 hair cuts that they believe our legislators have every month. Hey! Our legislators have every right to look as good for the cameras as any other legislator does. After all, to hear the screamers talk, that's all they're good for.