State to shutdown Rochester Correctional Facility, 5 other sites in March 2022

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The Rochester Correctional Facility will be closed by next March, the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision announced Monday.

The minimum security work release center is part of five other state correctional facilities to be shut down by March 10.

According to the DOCCS, the state’s approved 2021-22 fiscal year budget gave the governor the okay to close state prisons as it says the population of people in lockup continues to decline. The department also cited criminal justice reforms for contributing to fewer people being incarcarted.

Rochester’s facility, which is located on Ford Street, has a staff of about 26 people, with 46 people incarcerated. The capacity is 70.

Other facilities to close:

  • Ogdensburg Correctional Facility (St. Lawrence County: Medium-security institution.
  • Moriah Shock Incarceration Correctional Facility (Essex County): Minimum security Shock institution.
  • The Willard Drug Treatment Campus (Seneca County): Medium security institution.
  • Southport Correctional Facility (Chemung County): Maximum security institution.
  • Downstate Correctional Facility (Dutchess County): Maximum security institution.

The department says it reviewed 50 correction facilities for possible closure, and weighed several factors including program offerings, security levels, mental and medical health services, and staffing, among others. Additionally, NY’s recent HALT and "Less is More" legislations were considered.

The DOCCS says it will be able to safely take in the population of incarcerated people at other facilities. People in Rochester’s facility will move to Orleans County. The state will work on relocating staff by voluntary transfers and does not anticipate layoffs as a result of closures.

The facilities could be re-used for other purposes.

The New York State Correctional Officers & Police Benevolent Association, the union which represents corrections officers, released the following statement on the closures:

“If people have been paying attention to the past decade of poor decisions made by our elected leaders in Albany, today’s news shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone. The State’s progressive policies are costly and need to be funded somehow. Sadly it’s at the expense of the hard working men and women of NYSCOPBA. The numbers tell the real story; despite closing over two dozen facilities the past 10 years, violent attacks on our members have doubled and yet nothing is being done to address it. Where is the reinvestment in the facilities to make these prisons safer working environments? My heart goes out to all of the individuals whose lives have been severely impacted by this announcement and know that our organization will hold the department accountable every step of the way. At some point, the State needs to realize that these choices are more than just buildings and tax-saving measures, these are life-altering decisions that upend lives and destroy communities.”