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News stories tagged with "prison-time"

Call-in: the future of the North Country prison industry

Guests include Brother Yusuf Abdul-Wasi Burgess, a former inmate who spent time in North Country prisons and now works as a youth counselor and activist. We also hear from Donn Rowe, head of NYSCOPBA, the prison guard union, who has fought to keep North Country prisons open. And we hear from Donald Bilow, a town supervisor from Chateaugay, where the prison is due to close in July.

Prison Time Media Project reporters Brian Mann and Natasha Haverty, and NCPR News Director Martha Foley, along with guests take calls and questions from listeners.  Go to full article
Brian Fischer led New York's corrections department for seven years from 2007 until 2013, a time when nine state prisons were mothballed.  Photo:  Brian Mann
Brian Fischer led New York's corrections department for seven years from 2007 until 2013, a time when nine state prisons were mothballed. Photo: Brian Mann

The man who led a revolution inside NY prisons

For decades, New York has maintained one of the largest -- and fastest growing -- prison systems in the country.

At its peak, more than seventy thousand men and women were held in state correctional facilities, many on lengthy mandatory drug sentences.

But over the last few years, the prison system has begun to shrink dramatically, with thirteen facilities closed or in the process of shutting down.

That quiet revolution was led in large part by former Corrections commissioner Brian Fischer, who stepped down last year after seven years in the post.  Go to full article
At a rally in March, workers from Chateaugay Correctional Facility protested the Cuomo administration's decision to close the prison in July. Photo provided by NYSCOPBA.
At a rally in March, workers from Chateaugay Correctional Facility protested the Cuomo administration's decision to close the prison in July. Photo provided by NYSCOPBA.

How America's drug war sparked the North Country prison boom

This week, North Country Public Radio is looking in-depth at how New York's 40-year prison boom changed two very different neighborhoods, Brownsville in New York City and Chateaugay in Franklin County. Check out these stories and many more in our Prison Time Media Project.

This week, the tiny North Country town of Chateaugay learned that their local prison -- operated by the state Corrections Department -- will close in July.

The decision was made final in New York's state budget.

Town supervisor Donald Bilow told the Plattsburgh Press-Republican that he is "devastated" by the closure.  Go to full article
Five Omar Mualimmak spent nearly five years in a solitary confinement cell. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/m_at/8566414982/">Matthew Thompson</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Five Omar Mualimmak spent nearly five years in a solitary confinement cell. Photo: Matthew Thompson, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Prison reform advocate will speak in Canton tonight

St. Lawrence University is hosting a series of events this month aimed at opening up a public conversation about the prison system.

Last night was the first: Five Omar Mualimmak spoke to a lecture hall full of students and community members, about his near five years in solitary confinement, on charges that were later overturned. He also talked about his work to reform the system, and the art he created in prison.  Go to full article
Corrections officers from the North Country rallied in Albany on Tuesday, protesting closure of Chateaugay Correctional Facility Photo:  Gary Carlsen, NYSCOPBA, used with permission
Corrections officers from the North Country rallied in Albany on Tuesday, protesting closure of Chateaugay Correctional Facility Photo: Gary Carlsen, NYSCOPBA, used with permission

Guards rally in Albany to block NY prison closures

Hundreds of prison guards, many from the North Country, rallied yesterday outside the Capitol in Albany, demanding that Gov. Andrew Cuomo cancel a plan to mothball four state prisons in July.

The closure list includes two state prisons in the North Country, Chateaugay Correctional Facility in northern Franklin County, and Mt. McGregor in Saratoga County.  Go to full article
Franklin County legislator Billy Jones calls for action to stop the closure of Chateaugay Correctional Facility in his home town. NCPR file Photo: Brian Mann
Franklin County legislator Billy Jones calls for action to stop the closure of Chateaugay Correctional Facility in his home town. NCPR file Photo: Brian Mann

Rally to save prisons today in Albany

A rally is planned for later this morning in Albany to protest the planned closure of four state prisons across New York, including Chateaugay and Mt. McGregor here in the North Country.

Local leaders face tough choices in the weeks ahead. They're still fighting to save local prisons, and the jobs and economic funds that come with correctional facilities.

But they're also hoping to work with the Cuomo administration to win millions of dollars in redevelopment funds.  Go to full article

Watertown program helps keep people out of prison

In his state of the state address last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo called for more taxpayer dollars to be spent keeping people out of prison. Now the governor's office has unveiled a list of programs that will receive a first round of funding - roughly $5 million dollars in total.

Brian Mann has been following prison-related issues over the last year as part of our Prison Time Media Project.

This morning, Brian reports that one of the programs receiving new dollars from the state is the Urban Mission in Watertown, which helps people with drug and alcohol problems avoid serving time.  Go to full article
Police take a suspect into custody as part of a drug sweep in Saranac Lake.  This strategy has been used for decades to reduce drug-related crime in the North Country. Photo: Chris Knight
Police take a suspect into custody as part of a drug sweep in Saranac Lake. This strategy has been used for decades to reduce drug-related crime in the North Country. Photo: Chris Knight

North Country drug war continues, despite debate

This year, North Country Public Radio is looking in-depth at America's 40 year era of mass incarceration - a period of American history that saw the massive growth of prisons around the US, and here in our region. This week, we're focusing on how those policies changed the North Country.

A big part of the rising inmate population has stemmed from the war on drugs. Under state and Federal law, millions of felons have spent much longer sentences behind bars.

That's starting to change. In 2009, New York state reformed the Rockefeller drug laws. As a result, the number of drug offenders behind bars in New York's has dropped by two-thirds.

Despite state and national debate, however, many local and state law enforcement agencies still use many of the same tough-on-crime strategies that have shaped America's drug war for decades.  Go to full article
Franklin County legislator Billy Jones calls for action to stop the closure of Chateaugay Correctional Facility in his home town. Photo: Brian Mann
Franklin County legislator Billy Jones calls for action to stop the closure of Chateaugay Correctional Facility in his home town. Photo: Brian Mann

Another North Country town rallies to save its prison

This year, we're looking in-depth at the North Country's prison industry, how it grew into one of the region's top employers and how it's changing.

Over the weekend, hundreds of corrections officers, families, and elected officials gathered in Chateaugay in northern Franklin County.

They came to protest the latest round of state prison closures, now slated for 2014.

Four correctional facilities are on the chopping block, including two here in the North Country -- Mt. McGregor in Saratoga County and Chateaugay Correctional Facility.  Go to full article
Chateaugay Correctional Facility in Franklin County is among four slated for closure. Image: Google Maps
Chateaugay Correctional Facility in Franklin County is among four slated for closure. Image: Google Maps

Prison guard union smarting over closure announcement

Correction officers say they are still in "shock," that late on a July Friday, with very little advance warning, Governor Cuomo's prison agency announced the closure of four prisons within the next year. And they are asking the legislature to rescind the closures.  Go to full article

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