Governor Kathy Hochul highlights her plan to fight retail theft on February 14, 2024. Susan Watts / Office of Governor Kathy Hochul
New York's incarcerated population has been declining for decades. Why is it so hard for prison closures to keep pace?
By Eliza Fawcett

Governor Kathy Hochul has made no secret of her goal to scale back state spending across agencies. But among some rural state lawmakers, her plan to save $77 million on prisons is driving backlash.

The savings would come from Hochul’s proposal to close up to five correctional facilities in the next fiscal year. The move, her office says, would allow the state to “right-size and eliminate excess capacity” in its prison system. The process has been in the works for decades: New York’s prison population has shrunk by more than 30,000 people since 2003, and Andrew Cuomo closed 18 facilities while governor. In 2022, Hochul shuttered six more.

Hochul’s budget would level off funding for addiction treatment — and use opioid settlement funds to fill the gaps. New York Focus reporter Spencer Norris shared the story with Radio Catskill. 

A new bill would set up the first full public takeover of a major utility in decades. Joan D Squared
A new bill to municipalize Long Island's utility includes key worker protections that the union had sought.
By Julia Rock

When tropical storm Isais hit New York in 2020, Long Island’s utility left tens of thousands of customers without power for a week. The botched response revealed longstanding issues with the utility’s unique structure — publicly owned, but privately managed — and Long Island legislators embarked on an extensive study of its operations. In January, they unveiled their solution: a full public takeover of the utility.

And their legislation includes provisions that have mollified a key constituency. The union that represents the utility’s approximately 1,500 employees says that while it prefers the utility’s current public-private structure, it nevertheless endorses the bill’s inclusion of bolstered protections and rights for their workers, bucking a national trend of union opposition to public power campaigns.

Have you or somebody you know applied to a Conviction Integrity or Conviction Review Unit in New York to fight a wrongful conviction?

New York Focus and Columbia Journalism Investigations are taking a look at how these units work—and we’d like to hear from you.


Copyright © New York Focus 2023, All rights reserved.
Staying Focused is compiled and written by Alex Arriaga
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