Saranac Lake, NY, Feb 24, 2014 — Last week, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo agreed to sweeping changes to the way state prisons use solitary confinement. The deal was prompted by a federal lawsuit filed by critics who say thousands of inmates, some of whom are pregnant or have mental illness, are being held for months and even years in isolation, often for minor infractions.
The deal will end the use of solitary confinement for the most vulnerable inmates, and will also mean strict limits on the length of time an inmate can be locked away.
The lawsuit focused in part on inmates housed at Upstate Correctional Facility in Malone, but will affect disciplinary procedures at a dozen state prisons across the North Country. 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
Lyon Mountain, NY, May 02, 2013 — What happens to prisons and correctional facilities when there aren't enough inmates to fill the jail cells?
That's the dilemma facing nearly a dozen communities in upstate New York. After a massive prison construction boom that continued for nearly four decades, the state has seen its inmate population decline steadily in recent years. The change follows a sharp decline in crime rates and changes to sentencing guidelines that mean fewer nonviolent drug offenders spending years behind bars.
Now a state agency called Empire State Development is struggling to auction off eleven former prisons and juvenile justice centers, including two facilities now for sale here in the North Country.
But many rural communities fear that another economic engine is dying with nothing to replace it. Go to full article