CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — In a new radio ad, the Brotherhood of Correctional Officers is taking aim at a proposal by Governor Gina Raimondo to temporarily shut down the high-security facility at the Adult Correctional Institutes (ACI).
“Tell her to rescind this dangerous proposal because if she doesn’t,” the ad reads, “blood will be on her hands.”
“It’s not helpful right now,” Raimondo said in response to the ad Thursday.
In her budget proposal in January, Raimondo pitched spending $60 million to renovate the high-security facility. The state says the facility is outdated and costs far more than similar facilities surrounding states. They estimate the cost at $240,000 a year per inmate.
The union president, Richard Ferruccio, says a plan to shut down the facility temporarily for the renovation will have an extremely negative impact.
“We can’t afford to have high-security closed down for three days, let alone three years,” he said. “We do believe this will be a loss-of-life situation.”
While the union attacks the plan for the temporary closure, the Raimondo says they still don’t have a firm plan.
“It may be that you don’t have to and well know a lot more as we go through the plans,” she said.
Patricia Coyne-Fague, the director of the Department of Corrections, says while all facilities are being reviewed, high-security is at the top of the list.
“The reason we’re starting with high-security is because it is the most expensive facility to run,” she said. “But she echoed Raimondo by saying nothing is a done deal yet.”
“Our priority, like the brotherhood, is safety,” she added. “I’m not interested in doing something that is going to put anyone at risk.”
Raimondo said she wants the union to be more involved in the decisions going forward.
“They really need to come to the table to be constructive and find an answer that’s good for everybody,” she said.
Ferruccio doesn’t believe that the plan is still being worked out.
“They can say all they want, ‘Oh we’re just looking at options,'” he said. “That’s not what was presented in the governor’s budget. It was presented that it would be closed.”
He says he will keep airing the ad, “because the governor’s team is still moving forward with the plan.”
Any decision on the closure of the facility would still need approval from lawmakers at the State House.