PORT HENRY - Moriah Supervisor Tom Scozzafava will meet with Gov. David Paterson this week to state the case for the Moriah Shock Incarceration Facility.
Scozzafava and Randy Douglas, chairman of the Essex County Board of Supervisors, are scheduled to sit down with the governor in Albany Feb. 9.
It will be the second time the two local leaders have had face-to-face talks with Paterson about the Moriah prison, which is scheduled to be closed in April 2011 as part of the governor's plan to trim the state budget deficit.
Scozzafava and Douglas met with Paterson Jan. 24 when the governor was in Crown Point to announce the opening a ferry service there.
"I think it went very well," Scozzafava said of the meeting. "It was brief, maybe five minutes, but he certainly listened to what we had to say. He promised he would look into the reasons they chose Moriah (Shock) and he'd get back to us personally.
"We're going to meet again Feb. 9," the Moriah supervisor said.
The facility in Mineville houses non-violent offenders in a military boot camp-type program that involves exercise, physical labor, academics and substance abuse treatment.
It is one of four shock incarceration facilities in the state, housing 170 inmates.
With 100 employees, the prison is Moriah's second-largest employer. Under Paterson's proposal no one will lose their job, but Moriah Shock employees would have to transfer to another corrections facility.
The community demonstrated its support for the shock facility at a rally Jan. 25 in Port Henry. About 200 people attended, including state Sen. Betty Little and Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward.
"The community, employees, everyone is rallying to keep the facility open," Scozzafava said, noting the people who need to be convinced weren't at the rally.
The governor could spare the Moriah Shock Incarceration Facility or the state legislature could do do it. Little and Sayward have expressed their support for the prison.
"The governor has the executive power to save Moriah," Scozzafava said. "That's my goal, to convince the governor it's in the state's best interest to keep the prison open."
Scozzafava said the local facility should remain open based on merit. The shock program is successful and the Moriah camp is in excellent condition with a proven track record, he said.
Closing the facility would be a blow to Moriah, the supervisor noted.
"The next closest facility is 60 miles one way," Scozzafava said. "That will create a tremendous hardship for employees and force people from our community."
If Moriah Shock closes there will be ripple affect through the community, Scozzafava said.
"We can not afford to lose this facility," he said. "If it closes we've lost those jobs forever. The impact on small businesses in the town will be substantial."
The Moriah Shock Incarceration Facility was constructed in 1988 as part of a state effort to boost the local economy. That same year Moriah was designated as the lone rural state Economic Development Zone.