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Neighbors Rally for Monterey Shock in Albany

Written By: Tanja Rekhi
So. Tier Neighbors Rally in Albany for Monterey Shock
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ALBANY (WENY) -- New York residents and lawmakers alike are hoping their message won't fall on deaf ears. They hope Governor Cuomo will keep four state incarceration facilities open; Among them: Schuyler County's Monterey Shock.
     Neighbors from the Southern Tier came out in force to Albany's West Capitol Park. Despite push back from local lawmakers-- Monterey shock-- New York's first shock facility-- is slated to close this July.
     "Numbers don't lie, we need the facility open," said State Assemblyman, Phil Palmesano. "It saves state tax payer dollars, it saves local tax payer dollars, but most importantly it saves and changes lives."
     Georgia Verdier, President of the Elmira-Corning NAACP was among about 100 people who traveled out from the Southern Tier. Her hopes were that Governor Cuomo would see all the people rallying outside and realize how many people support Monterey Shock and three additional facilities slated to close across the state.
    "This community is geared toward giving young men a second chance," said Verdier. "And we thought that anything that would help reduce prison and incarceration is worth saving."
     Those in support of Shock say inmates provide valuable services to the community, like cleaning up at Eldridge Park and Dunn Field in Elmira.
     "It's gonna be a huge impact on the local communities because they'll have to pay for those services where they don't at this time," said Walter Gilbert, Chemung-Schuyler Labor Council.
     As it stands today, Monterey Shock only has a handful of employees left working. According to the Governor, all workers will be reassigned to other facilities. Meantime, Corrections Officers say the closure is already taking it's toll-- they say violence is up.
     "Our assaults on staff are up, assaults inmates on inmates are up, this is all due to the closures," said Mark Deburgomaster, a corrections officer in Southport and Union Representative for New York State Corrections Officer Police Benevolent Association (NYSCOPBA).
     State Assemblyman Phil Palmesano says the fight isn't over just yet, he's calling on the governor to expand Monterey Shock instead of closing it