prisonFrom the Morning Memo:

Alphonso David, the top lawyer in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration, called the effort to move juvenile offenders out of the adult prison population an “operational challenge” that the state is continuing to purse.

In a Capital Tonight interview on Tuesday, David called the effort to move the youthful offenders will be carried out in the “near future.”

“We are in the process of engaging with a few agencies, the relevant agencies, to determine how we can do that,” he said. “There are operational issues that you can anticipate that we have to address. We’re hoping to do that in the near future.”

Cuomo in June failed to reach an agreement with state lawmakers on broader legislative effort for changes to the state’s juvenile justice system, including a plan to increase the age of criminal responsibility.

Part of the push was to move some non-violent juvenile inmates — mainly 16- and 17-year-old offenders — out of the adult prison population.

When the measure stalled in the Legislature, Cuomo announced he would move juveniles to new facilities without lawmakers having to take action.

“Removing the kids from adult facilities into juvenile facilities is an operational challenge,” David said. “It’s a fiscal one as well. We want to make sure we can address both of us in a meaningful way. We’re still committed to doing that in the near future.”

Meanwhile, Cuomo continues to face calls for granting more clemencies — a practice critics contend he has not done enough since taking office. A candlelight vigil — being organized by his 2014 primary challenger Zephyr Teachout — is planned for Saturday outside of the governor’s Westchester County home to raise the issue once again.

David, in last night’s interview, contended the governor has issued clemencies every year he has been in office. But he pointed to a “dramatic shift” in the applicant pool for clemencies that has changed over the years.

“We’ve had many drug offenders who are no longer in prison as a result of the Rockefeller drug laws. So, many of the applicants that we’re looking at are violent offenders. We want to make sure that to the extent you have a violence offender that we are going to consider for the purposes of clemency, we want to make sure there is rehabilitation and no risk for the public health and public safety.”

The administration last year released a website designed to explain the clemency process and have interested parties submit potential candidates for clemency.