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STATE'S PRISON CUTBACKS PRESENT DANGERS FOR EVERYONE

The reason I write is simply to awaken the community to the dangers that will result from cutbacks by Gov. Cuomo, Correctional Services Commissioner Thomas Coughlin and the New York State Legislature.

Does the public realize that the budget cuts approved by the Legislature will include the release of 20,000 convicted felons, who committed "non-violent" crimes in their communities? The coverup name for this program is day reporting. The only responsibility these felons will have is to report for scheduled urine tests.

Does the public realize that this incompetent action by the Legislature threatens not only the lives of every correction employee in New York State but also the security of all correctional facilities in the communities?

Does the public realize that while the Legislature cuts correction officer and civilian jobs, the commissioner continues to have numerous first deputy superintendents and deputy superintendents, who share the same duties, and are paid almost twice the wage of correction officers?

Does the public realize that the last time there were layoffs of this magnitude in corrections, the end result was the Attica riot of 1971?

I do know these legislators will run for re-election and we, as correction officers, will do everything we can to assure their demise.

Although the governor, the Legislature and the commissioner assure that security will not be affected, I hope they are as quick to accept the responsibility for the end result of their political masquerade.

We protect the public from those who could not function legally in society. We perform a needed role in this society, yet the State of New York continues to treat us as merely payroll numbers that must be cut.

WILLIAM N. SCAHALL
President, Attica Correctional Officers
Local 1040, AFSCME, AFL-CIO
Attica

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