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News stories tagged with "corrections"

The New York Civil Liberties Union says isolation cells like this one are used far too often. Photo source: NYCLU
The New York Civil Liberties Union says isolation cells like this one are used far too often. Photo source: NYCLU

Lawsuit targets solitary confinement at Malone prison

The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) filed a federal lawsuit Thursday, challenging the use of isolation cells in New York state prisons.

The suit follows a report NYCLU issued in October that claimed state officials were placing far too many inmates in solitary confinement.

The suit could have big ramifications for corrections facilities here in the North Country.  Go to full article
State Senator Patty Ritchie meets with law enforcement and elected officials at her office Monday in Watertown. Photo: Joanna Richards
State Senator Patty Ritchie meets with law enforcement and elected officials at her office Monday in Watertown. Photo: Joanna Richards

Counties face costs of jailing state parole violators

Right now, county jails, and ultimately, local property taxpayers, are footing the bill for housing state parole violators while they wait for the state to pick them up. State Senator Patty Ritchie has proposed a solution to the problem.  Go to full article
NYS Sen. Patty Ritchie at Fort Drum Day gathering. Source: Ritchie website
NYS Sen. Patty Ritchie at Fort Drum Day gathering. Source: Ritchie website

Ritchie wants to ease costs, crowding in county jails

State Senator Patty Ritchie has an idea to help ease overcrowding and costs at county jails.

As WRVO's Catherine Loper reports, the issue pits New York State against local governments.  Go to full article

SOS gives prison system a pass

Governor Andrew Cuomo spoke only briefly about the state's correctional system during his speech yesterday. Last year, his administration mothballed seven prisons, none of them in the North Country. Cuomo called that an important accomplishment. "We closed 3800 prison beds," he said, "because we finally realized prison operation is not economic development."

But the governor didn't call for any further prisons to be closed. After the speech, state Senator Betty Little of Queensbury said she thinks further prisons closures are off the table for now. That's good news for North Country prison towns from Moriah to Ogdensburg that had faced calls for prison downsizing.  Go to full article
Dannemora prison construction in 1898.
Dannemora prison construction in 1898.

Adirondack Attic: an industry inside a prison

In the 19th century, iron mining was the main operation at the Dannemora Correctional Facility, with three main mines scattered within the structure's walls. The mines provided employment for the convicts and earned the region the nickname, "Little Siberia." Inmates also helped with prison construction and renovations. Coming up on the next Adirondack Attic, Andy Flynn and Adirondack Museum chief curator Laura Rice examine a photo taken during prison construction in the late 1800's.  Go to full article

Little: change in prisoner count could cut district numbers

New York lawmakers have begun the process of reshaping electoral districts following last year's census. Last week, a redistricting task force announced it would ignore a law requiring prison inmates to be counted at their last known address.

That angered civil rights advocates, who argue home districts deserve credit for the prisoners, for electoral representation as well as state aid and services that depend on population. But the change worries North Country representatives whose districts have long counted prisoners where they're incarcerated.

The law passed in 2010 when Democrats controlled both legislative houses and the governor's mansion. The measure has since been challenged in court by nine Republican state senators. Betty Little of Queensbury is a plaintiff in that lawsuit. She isn't commenting on the suit, but she told Chris Morris the loss to her district would be significant, 9,000 to 10,000 people.  Go to full article
The governor in Lake Placid this week.
The governor in Lake Placid this week.

State prison review continues: Essex County could be spared

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says it'll be several weeks before his administration decides which of the state's prisons to close.

The governor has said six prisons could be closed.

That's causing anxiety across the North Country, where state prisons pump tens of millions of dollars into hard-pressed communities. Martha Foley has more. Chris Morris contributed reporting to this story.  Go to full article

Cuomo wins first union concessions

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and one of New York State's biggest unions have agreed to labor concessions in the first major union contract of the year. The deal includes a pay freeze for three years and other concessions.

Cuomo praised the Agency Law Enforcement Services unit of Council 82 for sharing in the sacrifice of a state fiscal crisis. A union leader says the deal is in the best interest of members and taxpayers. Karen DeWitt has more on the deal the governor calls "a model."  Go to full article
Last year, then state Sen. Darrel Aubertine spoke at a rally to save Ogdensburg Correctional (Photo: NYS Senate)
Last year, then state Sen. Darrel Aubertine spoke at a rally to save Ogdensburg Correctional (Photo: NYS Senate)

Ogdensburg waits to find out if state prisons will be spared

Governor Andrew Cuomo is preparing a final list of state correctional facilities that will close this year as part of his austerity spending plan.

That means prison towns here in the North Country are waiting on pins and needles, hoping their facilities aren't on the list.

Once the governor announces his decision, prisons could close within thirty days.

Brian Mann visited Ogdensburg. He found that people there are worried, but hopeful.  Go to full article
Governor Andrew Cuomo (Source:  NYS)
Governor Andrew Cuomo (Source: NYS)

North Country looks for state budget fallout

Last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York lawmakers reached a budget agreement that closes a $10 billion deficit without raising taxes. Hundreds of millions of dollars will be cut from education, health care, senior programs, education and funding for state prisons.

Groups around the North Country are still scrambling to understand what the consequences will be in their communities. Tomorrow, Brian Mann reports from Ogdensburg on the impact corrections cutbacks could have on the prisons in this region. This morning, he talked with Martha Foley about the larger picture for the North Country.  Go to full article

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