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News stories tagged with "prison"

Inmates, Families Boycott High Phone Rates

Today, inmates around New York State will pick up the phone to call their families - collect, as always. But this time, families will refuse to accept the charges. It's a one-day boycott to protest the high rates charged by the phone company MCI. MCI has had an exclusive contract to provide phone service for inmates since 1999. Rates for the prisoners' collect calls are more than six times higher than regular consumer rates. Inmates can only call collect, and the charges add up for families on the other end. Advocates say that these high rates threaten inmates' family ties - a crucial bulwark against recidivism. They're also critical of the contract deal. MCI gives over half the profits to the state. Advocates call that a kickback scheme. But the contract is set to expire at the end of March, and the State Senate appears set to make a change. Gregory Warner reports.  Go to full article

St. Lawrence County Sex Offender Returned to Prison

A sex offender from St. Lawrence County who was to have been released Wednesday has instead been returned to state prison. The man is among a group of sex offenders Governor Pataki wants to detain involuntarily after they've served their time. Last week, a judge ruled the practice is illegal. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

Prisoner Assaults Two COs at Great Meadow

A prisoner attacked and injured two corrections officers at a maximum security prison near Glens Falls Monday morning. As David Sommerstein reports, the incident has prompted the officers' union to call for a policy change regarding inmates with disciplinary violations.  Go to full article

Assembly Revisits Rockefeller Reform

Democrats in the New York State Assembly are trying to revive reform of the Rockefeller drug laws with a new proposal that offers more treatment to non-violent drug offenders. Karen DeWitt reports from Albany.  Go to full article

Keeping the Faith, Behind Bars

Adirondack Correctional Facility is in Ray Brook. It's unusual among New York State prisons that it has some sort of christian activity group meeting 7 days a week.

Greg Warner attended an evening bible study inside the prison. He spoke to about a dozen inmates there, who chaplain Eric Olsen calls "the elders" of the prison church. He says they do much of the missionary and organizational work to keep the church going.

Inmate Hector Cruz began the evening by reading aloud the prayers of other inmates. One inmate prayed for his mother's health, another for his court case.  Go to full article
St. Lawrence County's aging jail
St. Lawrence County's aging jail

Counties Bear Burden of Incarceration

The population in New York's county jails is rising fast, by almost 25% in the last five years. It comes at a time when state officials are pressuring counties to close aging facilities. The result is an explosion in new jail construction. In the North Country, the price tag will well exceed a hundred millions dollars. Warren and Washington counties have opened new jails in the past two years. St. Lawrence, Essex, Herkimer, and Clinton counties are in the planning stages. As David Sommerstein reports, the costs of building the new facilities and housing inmates will fall on local taxpayers.  Go to full article

An Old Jail Outlives Its Usefulness

The North Country is home to New York's three oldest county jails - in Hamilton, Essex, and St. Lawrence, in that order. Washington and Warren counties recently built new ones. Clinton County is expanding its 15 year-old facility. County jails have to do more than ever before. They handle all kinds of inmates. They have to follow a blizzard of state mandates. And they cost upwards of $40 million to build. But the state constitution says each of New York's 62 counties has to have one. In the first part of a series on North Country jails, David Sommerstein gets a tour of St. Lawrence County's jail, which is likely to be replaced soon.  Go to full article

St. Lawrence County Prepares to Build New Jail

St. Lawrence County will announce this afternoon its preferred locations for a new county jail in Canton. The existing jail is among the oldest in the state. The meeting marks the initial stages of a long process for a politically unpopular issue. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

Prisoners: North Country Residents?

St. Lawrence County will be exhibit A in a forum at the U.S. Census Bureau today about how the census counts prisoners. An Ohio-based researcher says the county's decision to include prisoners in its legislative districts distorts democracy and may be unconstitutional. As David Sommerstein reports, the move was highly controversial when it was adopted.  Go to full article

Essex County Jail Must Close: Could Mean Higher Costs For Taxpayers

New York state has given Essex County thirty days to close its outdated jail. The Plattsburgh Press Republican is reporting that a new engineering report found health and safety violations. Brian Mann has details.  Go to full article

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