With Gov. Andrew Cuomo pushing to close two prisons in this year’s $142.6 billion budget plan, the New York State Correctional Officers & Police Benevolent Association is stepping up its lobbying efforts.

The union has a new radio spot that began airing today highlighting the impact of the closures on individual families, along with full-page ads running in both The Daily News and The New York Post.

The campaign comes as NYSCOPBA President Donn Rowe is due to testify before a joint Senate-Assembly hearing on the public safety provisions in the governor’s budget proposal.

The two prison closures — hitting facilities in Beacon and Manhattan — come after 11 prisons have been closed in recent years, nine of which have been under Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration, though two of the closures were made by the Paterson administration.

For NYSCOPBA, the proposed closures are unusual, given that the state’s budget gap of $1.3 billion isn’t as bad as it has been in recent years.

From Rowe’s prepared testimony, scheduled to be delivered later today:

“This year’s proposed closures are particularly confounding because they come in a year with the smallest budget deficit New York has seen since before the Great Recession. After years of double-digit deficits, the state is now facing a more manageable $1 billion gap. While all deficits must be taken seriously, this shortfall simply does not warrant the hardship that would fall on so many New York families if these closures were to take effect. We owe it to them – some of New York’s hardest working public servants – to find alternate solutions to this year’s budget challenge.”

Cuomo has been critical of the cost of the state’s prison system and the high empty bed counts in some facilities when justifying the prison closures.

Update: Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi sends along a statement calling the prison closure move one that will save New York taxpayers millions.

“The facts are clear: under the Governor’s correctional reform plan no one will be laid off and taxpayers will save over $80 million dollars over the next two years, period.  New York state taxpayers simply cannot afford for the state to treat our prison system like a job program when we have one of the lowest crime rates in the nation and far fewer inmates in our correctional system. “

Nyscopba Feb 2013 Ad 8 75×11 5 Dailynewspress by Nick Reisman