Congressman Zeldin on Today’s Prison Closure Deadline

NEW YORK – Today, Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1), the Republican Party and Conservative Party designee for Governor, issued the following statement on Kathy Hochul’s prison closure deadline, which marks the last day to close six correctional facilities in the State of New York:

“If you commit an offense, you should face the consequences. That’s the difference between Kathy Hochul and I. I believe prison populations should be set based strictly on that principle, while Hochul believes prison populations should be set based on political calculations. Kathy Hochul is actually trying to convince us we don’t need as many prisons because the inmate population is just naturally decreasing. Those of us living in the real world know it’s not because there’s a decrease in crime. It’s because of decreasing enforcement and politicians like Hochul siding with criminals over law-abiding New Yorkers.

“I have been meeting with the amazing corrections officers and local residents whose livelihoods Kathy Hochul is destroying, who are proud of the work they’re doing to keep our communities and state safe. In fact, when I toured Ogdensburg Correctional Facility, they talked about how proud they were to have one of the lowest rates of use of force and unusual incidents in the entire state.

“Moving forward, we must ensure that these facilities across the state are actually reused, not abandoned. We must ensure that corrections officers are taken care of, not set up to fail or forced into retirement, and most importantly, moving forward we need a major change at the ballot box.”

During Congressman Zeldin’s visit to Ogdensburg earlier this year, he discussed his policy positions necessary to improve the lives of Corrections Officers and those incarcerated in facilities around the state. Among many other solutions Congressman Zeldin has been offering to address this issue, he detailed his support of the following ten policy positions during his remarks:

  • Increasing the budget for the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision to hire more correctional officers and reduce the ratio to inmates;

  • Appointing a Commissioner who will put correctional officers, employees, visitors, and volunteers before inmates;

  • Repealing the HALT Solitary Confinement Act;

  • Commissioning a violence study in New York State prisons that would also identify additional recommended improvements;

  • Setting prison populations based on crimes committed instead of political calculations;

  • Repealing Cashless Bail and the Less is More Act;

  • Overhauling the Board of Parole as detailed in Congressman Zeldin’s rebuttal to Hochul’s State of the State address;

  • Opposing the Defund the Police Movement;

  • Repurposing closed facilities rather than just leaving them abandoned, unused and deteriorating; and

  • Providing economic assistance to communities affected by closures.


About Lee Zeldin

Lee Zeldin was born and raised on Long Island. He grew up in Suffolk County and graduated from William Floyd High School in Mastic Beach, where his identical twin daughters attend school today. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Albany and then his law degree from Albany Law School, becoming New York’s youngest attorney at the time at the age of 23.

Lee spent four years on Active Duty with the U.S. Army after completing ROTC and served in different capacities, including as a Military Intelligence Officer, Prosecutor, and Military Magistrate. In the summer of 2006, while assigned to the Army’s elite 82nd Airborne Division, Lee deployed to Iraq with an infantry battalion of fellow paratroopers in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

In 2007, Lee returned to Suffolk County with his family. It was at this time that Lee transitioned from Active Duty to the Army Reserve, where he currently serves with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

In 2008, Lee established a successful law practice in Smithtown, NY. Elected to the New York State Senate two years later, in 2010, Lee’s been working hard every day since to keep the promises he made to the hard-working families he represents.

In the State Senate, Lee:

  • Led the successful effort to repeal the MTA Payroll Tax for 80 percent of employers, a job killing tax that was hurting small businesses. 

  • Cosponsored the nation’s strongest property tax cap, which became law.

  • Reduced middle-income tax rates in New York to the lowest level in 60 years.

  • Secured the repeal of the Saltwater Fishing License Fee.

  • Created the PFC Joseph Dwyer Veteran Peer Support Program to help our returning veterans cope with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). 

  • Authored the law to protect our fallen veterans and their families from protests at military burials. 

Lee was then elected to the United States Congress in 2014, representing New York’s First Congressional District, and has now won seven consecutive races since 2010 in purple NYC suburban districts, unseating two Democrat incumbents along the way. In Congress, Lee quickly became a leading voice in America on top local, domestic and foreign policy issues: 

  • Combating and defeating MS-13 on Long Island, leading the charge in New York and nationally against cashless bail, opposing all efforts to defund, dismantle or abolish police, and providing law enforcement the resources they need to fight gang violence and other crimes in our communities, including bulletproof vests.

  • Securing the repeal of many harmful, job killing regulations, with the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, and many other initiatives, to improve our business climate and grow our economy. 

  • Leading the charge to end all COVID mandates. 

  • Saving Plum Island, by securing the repeal of a 2008 federal law requiring the island to be sold off to the highest bidder. 

  • Delivering a $1.5 billion boost in border security resources, helping to choke off the flow of illegal migration across our borders. 

  • Introducing and passing into law his Adult Day Health Care legislation for disabled veterans and opening a new health care clinic for East End veterans.

  • Delivering the Electron Ion Collider “discovery machine” to Brookhaven National Lab that will enable advancements in national security, medical and cancer research, astrophysics, and more and create an extensive number of jobs. 

  • Advancing his law enforcement bill of rights, which would help ensure that our great law enforcement officers and the people they serve are protected.

  • Championing the expansion of the Dwyer Program nationally, to help all of our nation’s veterans access the resources they need. 

  • Securing much needed support of treatment, enforcement, and prevention for those affected by the heroin and opioid abuse crisis.

  • Leading the effort against the fatally flawed Iran Nuclear Deal.

  • Co-authoring a bipartisan resolution (H.Res. 246) that passed the House opposing the anti-Israel and antisemitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement.

  • Working with the Army Corps of Engineers to protect our coastlines, advancing the ambitious Fire Island to Montauk Point project, in addition to several other vital projects on the north and south shores of Long Island.

  • Co-Chairing the Long Island Sound Caucus and advancing top priorities for the Long Island Sound Program, National Estuary Program and SeaGrant.

  • Co-chairing, as one of only two Jewish Republicans in Congress, the House Republican Israel Caucus, and serving on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Financial Services Committee, as well as four House Subcommittees.

  • Successfully resolving over 17,000 constituent cases in favor of his constituents.

Lee and his wife, Diana, reside in Shirley with their twin fifteen-year old daughters, Mikayla and Arianna.