Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy, D-109, said at an Albany press conference Thursday that Greene County would be “a good candidate for this type of law.”
State Sens. Luis Sepulveda, D-32, and Jamaal Bailey, D-36, both from New York City, D-109, showed their support for the law at the press conference. Fahy and the senators are sponsoring either a Senate bill or its companion bill in the Assembly. The bills are also supported by Assemblymen Joseph Lentol, Mark Weprin, Michael Blake and Clifford Couch and Sens. Zellnor Myrie and Julia Salazar, many of whom also hail from the Big Apple.
And what is “this type of law” Fahy alluded to at the press conference? The answer is a bill that would enable Greene County to share a jail with a contiguous county.
“Greene County now has about 30 inmates and that’s expected to drop significantly with bail reform,” Fahy said Thursday. “I think Greene County would be right for shared services with, for example, Albany County.”
Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple said he sees the logic behind a shared jail but he stressed Greene County must support it.
“It does make sense but it’s a Greene County issue,” he said. “If they had a plan, then we could sit down.” If we understand Apple’s comment, it means that Albany County would at least be willing to talk about a shared jail if Greene County developed a plan.
Fahy added that the $47 million to build the jail could be better spent elsewhere.
“We know that localities are scrambling for money and that drug and opioid abuse services and related social services are needed,” she said. “I think that money could be better invested elsewhere.”
While Greene County officials make plans for a groundbreaking this month, elected officials from as far away as New York City are suggesting Greene County think this project through one more time. Assemblymen and senators who have never been here seem to know more about the situation than Greene County knows itself. Maybe it is not too late for Greene County officials dead set on building a $47 million white elephant to stop, look and listen.