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News stories tagged with "prison-time"

Sabrina Jones translates the history and statistics of America's era of mass incarceration into a graphic, sometimes claustrophobic story. Image: Sabrina Jones
Sabrina Jones translates the history and statistics of America's era of mass incarceration into a graphic, sometimes claustrophobic story. Image: Sabrina Jones

A graphic account of America's love affair with prisons

One of the most complicated issues to talk about, here in the North Country and across the US, is our nation's massive prison system. America incarcerates far more individuals than any other nation on earth, far outstripping countries like China and Russia. It's a thorny topic that tangles up everything from race relations to small-town economies to our ideas about justice and drug addiction.

Sabrina Jones is a political artist who spends each summer in Saratoga County and she'll speak tonight at at 7:30 pm at Bluseed Studio in Saranac Lake. Jones uses comic books to capture the complicated, painful history of America's four-decade long era of mass incarceration.  Go to full article
Shawn McKeen from Plattsburgh saw his life derailed, first by prescription drugs, then by street heroin.  Photo:  Brian Mann
Shawn McKeen from Plattsburgh saw his life derailed, first by prescription drugs, then by street heroin. Photo: Brian Mann

North Country heroin stuns small towns, wrecks lives

Over the last few years, Vermont has grappled with a growing heroin epidemic. The drug's painful reach into small towns has drawn national headlines. Now there's growing awareness that heroin has also arrived in the North Country. The drug is cheaper and easier to find.

At a public hearing held by a new state Senate task force, formed in March, addicts, treatment experts, police and prosecutors talked about a wave of heroin.  Go to full article
Donnie (in the foreground) and Didd on the bus leaving the North Country. Photo: Amy Finkel, for Gothamist, used with permission.
Donnie (in the foreground) and Didd on the bus leaving the North Country. Photo: Amy Finkel, for Gothamist, used with permission.

North Country inmates on the bus: free and nowhere to go

Every year, hundreds of men are shipped to prisons here in the North Country, to correctional facilities in Watertown or Malone, Moriah or Ray Brook. We've been telling the story of the region's prison industry with our Prison Time Media Project.
But every year, hundreds of men are also released back into society after serving their time in state or Federal lock-ups.

Often, former inmates are sent back downstate with little preparation and few resources for reentering society. Many begin their new lives with a bus ticket, a new set of clothes, and a small amount of cash.

Amy Finkel is a journalist and documentary filmmaker. She's working on a new project looking at reform and education programs in prisons and she recently published a photo essay in the online magazine Gothamist.

Her photos capture the bus journey that one group of men made from Saranac Lake after being released from prison back to New York City. She spoke about her work with Martha Foley.  Go to full article

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

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