Elmira/Corning Regional Airport
Monterey Shock Closure Takes its Toll
Written By: Tanja Rekhi
ORANGE (WENY) -- As of July, New York's Department of Corrections will be closing the Monterey Shock Incarceration Correction Facility in the town of Orange.
"This is the end of something that was great," said Lisa West, who worked as the secretary at Monterey Shock for 8 years.
Monterey Shock is one of four prisons on the chopping block due to a lack of funding and need. However, shock is a different kind of prison. It's a opportunity for non-violent offenders to go through six months of boot camp style drilling instead of doing time behind bars.
The young men volunteer in the community four days a week, and spend the rest of their time in classes on things like substance abuse and decision making.
39-year-old George Jackson of Albany is one of today's graduates.
"It's sad. It's sad that they would close a place like this down," said Jackson. "This place helps a lot of people. And I know there's a lot of guys out there that need this place to be open."
If platoon members were paid minimum wage for all the work they've done in the community they would have made $156,078. Instead that revenue stayed here in the Southern Tier.
"These guys go out they work in the community four days a week," explained West. "And rural community like this, they need that. Tax payers money is, they're going to be hurt. It's the bottom line."
Brian Beasley who serves as Elmira's Superintendent from the Department of Public Works says the inmates made an impact in the city. Simple things like painting the parking garage, cleaning Eldridge Park and resetting bricks on the river front helped Elmira.
"We're just going to have to maintain at the levels that we have and get the jobs done, so trying to go above and beyond may be a little bit harder to do," said Beasley.
Meantime, local leaders aren't giving up just yet, there have been several rallies to keep Shock open over the past months. An online petition has gained support from over 1,000 people. You can sign it at: http://www.change.org/petitions/governor-cuomo-stop-the-closure-of-monterey-shock-2