Petition: Cuomo’s plan to reduce visitation at NY maximum security prisons ‘cruel’

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From The Auburn Citizen:

A petition has been signed by more than 2,100 people opposing Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to reduce visitation at New York’s 17 maximum security correctional facilities.

As of Saturday afternoon, there are 2,102 supporters of the petition titled “Don’t Restrict Visits in NYS Prisons!” The petition calls the governor’s plan to alter the visitation policy “regressive, counterproductive and cruel.”

The initial goal for the petition is 2,500 supporters. Once complete, the petition will be sent to Cuomo.

Cuomo included the proposal in his 2017-18 executive budget. He wants to reduce visitation at the state’s maximum security prisons from seven days to three — Fridays and weekends. The policy would be similar to the existing visitation rules at medium security facilities, which permit visitors on weekends.

The state Division of Budget said New York would eliminate 39 positions and save $2.6 million by reducing the visitation hours.

Anthony Annucci, acting commissioner of the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, defended the proposal at a budget hearing in January. He said the visiting rooms at maximum security facilities don’t get a lot of use during the week.

“There’s a very limited number of visitors,” he said.

The proposed policy change has been panned by various groups, including the Correctional Association of New York State.

Jack Beck, director of the group’s Prison Visiting Project, said an inmate’s family will not have their visits shortened or may not be able to visit at all if the new schedule is adopted.

“It will clearly deteriorate the relationship between an incarcerated person and their family,” Beck said in an interview with The Citizen.

To read the article in The Citizen, click here.