An incarceration facility like no other in the Southern Tier is in jeopardy of closing its doors next year. Monterey Shock Incarceration Correctional Facility is among just a few sites on the chopping block in an effort to save the state money. As our YNN's Katie Husband found out, lawmakers think the benefits of the facility outweigh any cost savings.
SCHUYLER COUNTY, N.Y. -- "Well now, I would probably be in a maximum prison somewhere serving my time but this has given me a second chance at life," said Raymond Leiby, Monterey Shock Incarceration Correctional Facility, graduate.
Raymond Leiby successfully completed the six month program and graduated Thursday from Camp Monterey. He's among the hundreds of inmates who have come and gone at the Town of Orange facility.
"Impressive graduation that goes on when they have a class that graduates and there's been some success stories of some of the people that have graduated in the past and how they've gone out and made good of themselves as a result of what they learned at the camp," said Philip Barnes, Schuyler County legislator.
It's a regimented, vigorous program where they do physical training and even off-campus work to help Schuyler, Tompkins, Chemung and Steuben counties.
"They mow, they clean all the brush in the spring, they come in and clean all the brush, they help there. And they help keep all of our cemeteries mowed. During the winter time when they can't be doing cemeteries they help our town cleaning out culverts," said Jocelyn Harrison, Town of Orange Supervisor.
Local leaders say Camp Monterey inmates save the town approximately $40,000 a year. Now they have to look into hiring four more people to do the work.
"You figure, it's not $7.25, minimum wage, but at the $10 range, we're thinking of maybe, you know, to get somebody good that will really handle the job well," said Harrison.
And the work continues in various local municipalities to try and keep Monterey Shock open.
"And one of the things the local governments will be doing is passing local resolutions to keep Monterey open. So it's more than just petitioning, it's actually the municipalities having resolutions to support this to keep it open," said Sue Skidmore, Elmira Mayor.
So when people make mistakes, like Leiby did, hopefully they'll have that second chance given to them.
"For me, I couldn't follow directions, basically did what I wanted to do, I made some mistakes in my life. And coming here made me realize the mistakes that I made and helped me change my ways," said Leiby.
After every graduation at Camp Monterey, a new platoon of inmates enters camp. However, because of the announcement there weren't any incoming inmates Thursday. There are only four platoons of inmates left at the camp.