Governor Hochul Announces Launch of Prison Redevelopment Commission

May 23, 2022

Panel of Leading Experts across Community and Economic Development, Real Estate, Criminal Justice Reform, and Government Will Convene to Examine Repurposing Shuttered Correctional Facilities in Impacted Communities 

Empire State Development President & CEO Hope Knight and Ford Foundation President Darren Walker Named Co-Chairs 

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the ​launch of the Prison Redevelopment Commission focused on reimagin​ing closed prisons for innovative redevelopment opportunities across New York State. The fifteen-member panel, first announced as part of Governor Hochul’s 2022 State of the State address, is comprised of leading experts across real estate, community and economic development, ​criminal justice reform, and government. ​The panel will be led by Hope Knight, Commissioner, President and CEO of Empire State Development and Darren Walker, President at the Ford Foundation.

“As New York continues to move forward, we are looking at ways to revitalize our economy, including reimagining shuttered state prison properties as hubs of regional opportunity,” Governor Hochul said. “As I promised in my State of the State, I have created a commission of public and private sector leaders, as well as economic development experts from around the country, to best connect our industry and workforce goals with action plans that will both save taxpayer money and bring these buildings to new life as economic engines. Our ultimate goal is to put New Yorkers to work, and I am confident this newly formed Prison Redevelopment Commission will help create an action plan to do just that.” 

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Hope Knight said, “I am proud to accept Governor Hochul’s invitation to be co-leader of the newly created Prison Redevelopment Commission, and I look forward to working with Ford Foundation President Darren Walker and the expert members of this panel to make the Governor’s idea a reality. Workforce development is a priority for both the Governor and for ESD, and repurposing these former prison spaces into sites that can address regional industry needs will help to revive areas across the state, by moving from incarceration to innovation.”

Read the full press release here.