Lawmakers outraged about proposal to shut down Orange County juvenile detention facility
There's bipartisan outrage in Orange County about a proposal to shut down a juvenile detention facility.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed closing Goshen Secure Center in his next budget.
It's a facility where 29 boys under the age of 16 are going through rehab after committing violent offenses.
If it closes, those kids would be relocated. Hundreds of employees could lose their jobs.
"Just about the dumbest thing that we could do is lay off more people here in New York state," says Sen. James Skoufis.
"Besides being bad for jobs, this is bad for the young men who rely on the facility that you see behind me," says Sen. Mike Martucci.
The facility is about one-third full, but County Executive Steve Neuhaus says as we get out of this pandemic, more of the beds could be used.
"County courts in Orange County have been mostly closed. The local courts have been virtual if not closed. There is going to be a backlog of getting caught up on a lot of people who need help, and they're going to need institutions like this," he says.
Lawmakers say the state has said the closure could save about $20 million, but they worry if there will be a bigger impact on the Orange County economy and the young kids inside.
A spokesperson for the state released the following statement: "There are no layoffs associated with the closure of the facility. Since 2010, New York state has seen a dramatic 73% reduction in the number of youth in juvenile justice placements. Goshen is significantly underutilized, resulting in significant costs to taxpayers. Any youth still in placement at closure will be transferred to another OCFS facility or residential program close to their homes as possible.
OCFS, along with the state's Career Mobility Office, has already completed an initial series of meetings with impacted facility staff to outline the process for assignment to other facilities or agencies. OCFS has also made available current vacancies within the agency for which qualified staff will be prioritized for reassignment."