Posted by on October 29, 2014

Yesterday, Assemblyman Gary D. Finch (R,C,I-Springport) advocated for the safety of New York State corrections officers during a press conference at Marcy Correctional Facility.

Finch expressed deep disappointment with the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) for releasing a report that claimed there were zero instances of inmates committing serious assaults against correction officers in 2014.

In fact, assaults in our prisons are at an all-time high. According to the New York State Correctional Officers & Police Benevolent Association, Inc. (NYSCOPBA), inmate-on-officer attacks have spiked 24 percent since 2010, on the heels of the Cuomo administration closing four New York State prisons in July. During his tenure as governor, Cuomo has closed fifteen prisons.

The move has created dangerous overcrowding. Prisons across the state are suffering from limited staffing due to the governor’s budget cuts. DOCCS disciplinary restrictions have left officers perilously unable to protect themselves. Facilities have long been suffering from double bunking directives from DOCCS.

“I stand strong with the brave members of NYSCOPBA,” Finch said.

“It is disheartening to realize that DOCCS is prioritizing public relations over the safety of the men and women who provide us with the indispensable service of securing our correctional facilities,” said Finch. “We need to protect these dedicated officers, as well as civilian employees and the inmates themselves from these volatile conditions that cause danger and harm, said Finch.”

There were 645 inmate-on-officer assaults in 2013. NYSCOPBA reports that 2014 is on pace to see 718 such assaults.

This January, increased violence caused the Auburn Correctional Facility to be locked down for several days. During the ensuing search, inmates were found to be in possession of dangerous weapons and narcotics.

“I have stood up in the Assembly Chamber and advocated for the safety of NYSCOPBA member when I thought that imprudent budget cuts and double bunking were putting them at risk. I stand with them now, and I’ll stand with them next legislative session to continue to advocate for their safety,” added Finch.

“It is vitally important to have the voice of Assemblyman Finch and other elected officials who support the men and women of NYSCOPBA and the job they do to keep all New Yorkers safe. This is an extremely difficult and dangerous job that goes unnoticed, and we are grateful to have the support of Assemblyman Finch and his colleagues,” said Michael Powers, NYSCOPBA President.

In May, an inmate at the Marcy Correctional Facility delivered such vicious blows to the back of the head and neck of an officer that the officer needed overnight hospitalization and a CAT scan.

In September, a serial rapist stabbed an officer seven times in the chest at the Elmira Correctional Facility.

“These are indisputably serious injuries, and for DOCCS to suggest otherwise indicates that it is more interested in budgetary figures than the men and women who are willing to work hard in dangerous conditions to keep New York families safe,” concluded Finch.

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