NY Expects Further Drop in Prison Inmates

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -

New York officials expect the state’s prisons to shed 1,000 more inmates over the next four years, noting the steady decline of commitments for certain offenses since 1999 and allowing it to save money by closing some of the institutions.

Cuomo administration officials put two prison closings in the proposed $9.7 billion public safety budget for the upcoming fiscal year. It includes $2.96 billion for prisons and parole, down 6 percent.

State officials now project the prisoner total to decline 4 percent more to 53,662 in four years. The state has been shutting minimum- and medium-security prisons and camps, including seven in 2011-12, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposes closing of two women’s prisons in the coming year, Beacon in the Hudson Valley and Bayview in Manhattan.

Bayview has remained vacant since it was evacuated in last year’s flooding from Superstorm Sandy, and the administration intends to sell it.

Authorities have also reported a nearly 20 percent drop in both violent crimes and serious property crimes statewide since 1999, despite some upticks last year.