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Fight for Monterey Shock

Written By: Tanja Rekhi
Fight for Monterey Shock

ORANGE (WENY) -- It's been the "Home of Shock" since 1987 and the first boot camp style facility with therapeutic treatment aspects in New York. But now, Monterey Shock, the state's first shock facility is slated to close it's doors for good with no funding in sight in Governor Cuomo's newly signed budget.
     In a press conference after signing the budget on April 1, Gov. Cuomo said the budget moves the state forward "people in Upstate New York, believing in their towns and believing in trajectory of Upstate New York."
     But some local leaders and neighbors beg to differ.
     "Unfortunately, we're Upstate and we don't get anything," said Ron Luedeman, a retired drill instructor at Monterey Shock.
     Luedeman would have been a drill instructor at Shock for nine years. He says the program is different from anything he's experienced-- and he's worked at 6 other facilities.
     "At Monterey, they came in one door out the other and in six months they looked like something. They acted like somebody. It was a really good feeling knowing you can turn someone's life like that," said Luedeman.
     Despite their best efforts, including neighbors and leaders traveling out to Albany to rally for the 300-bed facility, the Governor is sticking to his plan to close Camp Monterey. State Senator Tom O'mara isn't calling it quits.
     "We're looking at ways right now and working with the department of corrections on how we can expand the eligibility," said Sen. O'Mara.
     He says Shock competes with the current drug treatment programs, which are sometimes seen as an easier way out for inmates. The state owned property is ready to be set as a a tax-free zone; one of the Governor's newest initiatives which aims to draw in new businesses.
     "It's very isolated, it's the perfect facility for what it's been doing and I think the opportunities for realistic development are very slim," said Sen. O'mara.
     Numerous county leaders relied on Shock inmate work crews to help with community projects, clean up, and repair. Now that it's getting warm out, they won't have those much needed crews, costing tax payers some money or they'll have to spread resources thinner.