Pubdate: Sun, 16 Feb 2003
Source: Ogdensburg Journal/Advance News (NY)
Copyright: 2003 St. Lawrence County Newspapers Corp
Contact: P.O. Box 409, Ogdensburg, New York 13669
Note: Accepts LTEs by mail only! Must be signed w/phone#
Author: Charles W. Kelly, Publisher


I have read a lot of supposedly "scholarly" studies over my career,
but a report that claims to analyze the economic impact of prisons on
small towns in New York State is a travesty. According to the authors
of the study, most people employed by Ogdensburg, Gouverneur, and
Riverview correctional facilities live in some other county. Wrong!

I don't know about anyone else, but we know many people employed at
the three state correctional facilities. And most of them grew up
right here in St. Lawrence County. While the prisons have also brought
many new people here over the years, many of them have settled here
with their families. Some of them have even retired here.

Recently, we published in the Advance-News a list of where the prison
employees live. It showed that out of the 337 employees at Ogdensburg
Correctional facility, only eight live outside of St. Lawrence County.
Riverview Correctional employs 470 people and 454 live in the county.

Yet, the "study" repeatedly claims that most of the jobs go to people
outside the region and that the prisons have very little, if any,
economic impact on the communities where they are located. It's hard
to believe that a study can conclude that the almost $55 million
annual payroll, plus benefits and the approximately 1300 people
employed at the three prisons have no economic impact.

The per capita income for St. Lawrence county is about $14,000 per
year. The average income of the employees at the state correctional
facilities is about $44,975 a year.

I would have to conclude that whomever did the study must have done it
in a "closet." They certainly didn't visit this county.
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