Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo toured Great Meadow Correctional Facility and held a press briefing to address a lockdown in the wake of an incident involving inmates at the correctional facility.
AUDIO of the Governor's remarks is available here.
PHOTOS of the event will be available on Governor Cuomo's Flickr page.
A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks is below:
Thank you very much. I want to thank Commissioner Annucci not just for today, but for extraordinary public service as the Commissioner of the Department of Corrections. It was a pleasure to spend time with Superintendent Miller. We went through the facility, talking about procedures and his team who are all dedicated public servants.
As the Commissioner said, there was an incident in the yard yesterday. There was an incident this morning. And the facility is on lockdown. Lockdown allows a systematic search of the facility, and a "cooling off" period. There has been a recent increase in the frequency of lock downs, which is something that we are watching. The best way to deal with a problem is to prevent it. When you see something developing see if you can get ahead of it. And there seems to have been a recent increase in the number of violent incidents across the system. There has been an increase in the frequency of lock downs of late. So, we wanted to talk about that. Safety is job number one here. Safety of the inmates, safety of the correction officers, that is first and foremost the number one mandate of the correctional system. And we're exploring ways to do an even better job at that.
Technology offers opportunities, and we talked about new technological solutions that can be brought in. And DOCs has been experimenting with several that show promise. We're talking about that. We're talking about possible use of canines who have had great success as drug detection dogs, etc. Number of technology devices that can detect weapons. So, technology has a number of options. And then just procedures, and what procedures work better than others, what training works better than others, etc.
Again, the best way to handle a problem is to prevent it. Most often you get early warning signs. And when you hear the early warning signs, make sure you're on top of it. And that's what the conversation today is all about. Managing the prison system is probably one of the most difficult jobs in state government. That's why Commissioner Annucci gets the big bucks. The job that correction officers have is one of the toughest jobs in the state of New York. And I applaud every man and woman who does the job, because it is a tough, tough job. And being here again, today, you get a real sense of how difficult the situation is that they're dealing with every day. So, I applaud all of them.
And we have a remarkably good safety track record, system-wide. And our system has won applause nationwide and we want to keep it that way. And part of that is to keep improving and when you have any possible situation, get ahead of it, learn from it, before it becomes out of hand. So I want to thank again the Commissioner and the Deputy Commissioner and the Superintended for their time.