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New York Prison Superintendents Live in Lap of Luxury on Taxpayer Subsidy

On the heels of a report that suggests ways to trim costs of New York’s prison system, several state legislators are calling for an end to subsidizing luxurious homes for prison superintendents.

Residences for prison guards and superintendents date to the 1800s. They were utilized as incentives to attract wardens and staff, who must be available around the clock.

State records reveal that at least eight prison wardens live in state-owned mansions that are located on or near prison grounds. At least one has a lake view. The only cost to the wardens is a “maintenance fee” that is set by the state budget division.

Shawangunk Correctional Facility Superintendent Joseph Smith makes $144,574 a year. His position allows him to live in a 6,968 square foot home located at nearby Wallkill Correctional. He pays the state $511.54 to live in the home.

Joseph Bellnier, Superintendent of Marcy Correctional Facility, pays the most of any superintendent to live in state subsidized housing. While he earns $120,279, he only has $373.40 deducted bi-weekly from his salary for housing, or $9,708 a year.

“These superintendents live basically for free in large and luxurious homes where they don’t have to worry about having to pay property taxes,” said State Sen. Jeffrey Klein. “We shouldn’t be subsidizing superintendents of prisons.”

Klein is calling, along with Sen. Diane Savino, for superintendents to pay the state “a fair and reasonable rate to live there.”

Source: Daily News

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