ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – The Southport Correctional Facility officially closed its doors Thursday afternoon, forcing hundreds of inmates and staff to relocate to various prisons across New York State.
“I can’t really get into where they [the inmates] were sent to, it’s all based on their classification and security requirement,” Western Region Vice President of NYSCOPBA Mark DeBurgomaste said. “Being that the facility was a step down program jail, they had to go to specific locations.”
DeBurgomaste said inmates were required to go to specific locations because Southport Correctional was a “supermax” prison, which is a step above maximum security.
NYSCOBA told 18 News a majority of the 405 staff at Southport Correctional kept their jobs. Nine resigned and only a handful retired. Those who stayed are now working at various correctional facilities in the state.
DeBurgomaste also told 18 News he’s unsure of what’s going to happen to the empty facility, though he expressed hope the state would reverse their decision and reopen it.
“But do I see that in the near future? No,” he said. “Whether they do anything with this facility as with all the other ones they closed throughout the state [is unknown]. I mean, you’ve got mothballs all over that the state is sitting on.”
Chemung County said they have ideas about how they would like to utilize the empty building, though they’re not releasing them to the public yet. County Executive Chris Moss said he wants to make sure the ideas are “feasible” first.
Despite the uncertainty, Republican Assemblymember Philip Palmesano told 18 News Hochul has briefly discussed what to do with the building, though nothing is set in stone.