Governor Andrew Cuomo traveled to the Great Meadow Correctional Facility on Thursday after a fight at the prison led to a lockdown of the facility. Cuomo says there's been a spate of lockdowns due to gang related activity at prisons around the state this summer.
“There has been a recent increase in the frequency of lockdowns which is something that we are watching,” said Cuomo.
But the visit also comes as the union that represents correction officers have aired TV and radio ads critical of the governor, including the distribution of tablet computers.
Cuomo has drawn the ire of correction officers in the past for his push to close prisons as the state's prison population gets smaller. On Thursday, Cuomo singled out correction officers for praise in his remarks.
“The job that correction officers have is one of the toughest jobs in the state of New York and I applaud every man and woman who does the job,” said Cuomo.
Cuomo did not rule out addressing what has been a key concern for the correction officers union: Adding more staff at prisons. The governor said a range of issues for addressing prison security will be addressed in the next legislative session.
“We'll be looking at all of it and I want to have for January a comprehensive reform plan and that's part of the conversation we're having now,” said Cuomo.
The visit comes as Cuomo is due to be depicted in an upcoming Showtime miniseries dramatizing the 2016 escape at the Dannemora prison in the North Country. The movie was filmed at the prison itself with the state's approval.
“Doing a movie in the North Country is great,” Cuomo said. “It's economic activity. It brings people to the North Country.”
The miniseries is set to air in November.