New York pledged millions to communities after prison closures, but much of those funds went unspent

In 2011, Gov. Andrew Cuomo pledged $50 million to help communities deal with the closure of seven prisons he shuttered in his first year in office, making good on a campaign pledge to lower the number of people incarcerated in the state.

Three years later, the state added another $32 million as the number of closed prisons has now swelled to 17, leaving upstate communities with hulking empty facilities and hundreds of lost jobs.

But over the past eight years, the money has gone largely unspent, a review of records by the USA TODAY Network New York found.

Of the $80 million pledge, $59 million has been committed to projects, and only $39 million has been disbursed.

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