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News stories tagged with "prisons"

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
Governor Andrew Cuomo Photo:  Mark Kurtz
Governor Andrew Cuomo Photo: Mark Kurtz

Budget deal in Albany reshapes NY education, taxes

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Saturday that lawmakers in Albany have hammered out a deal that would mean major changes to education in New York.

The agreement would delay implementation of controversial new "common core" standards, while also adding funding for pre-K education.

The deal also aims to rein in property taxes, which Cuomo has described as the highest in the US.  Go to full article
Chateaugay Correctional Facility, source of 110 jobs in northern Franklin County, is slated to close in July.  File photo.  Brian Mann
Chateaugay Correctional Facility, source of 110 jobs in northern Franklin County, is slated to close in July. File photo. Brian Mann

Budget deal closes two North Country prisons

A budget deal worked out over the weekend appears to lock in plans to mothball two North Country prisons, including facilities in Chateuagay in Franklin County and Mt. McGregor in Saratoga County.

According to a report in the Auburn Citizen newspaper, a total of four prisons statewide will be closed in July.

Prison guards and local officials from the North Country rallied earlier this month in Albany, demanding that Governor Cuomo keep at least some of the correctional facilities open.  Go to full article
A housing unit at Camp Gabriels. Photo: Chris Knight, courtesy Adirondack Daily Enterprise
A housing unit at Camp Gabriels. Photo: Chris Knight, courtesy Adirondack Daily Enterprise

Public will see plans for the new Camp Gabriels next week

The public will get its first look next week at the plan to convert a now shuttered state prison near Paul Smiths into a summer camp and year-round educational retreat.

A pair of downstate men are in the process of purchasing Camp Gabriels, which the state closed in 2009. The state approved the sale of the property just last week.  Go to full article
A housing unit at Camp Gabriels. Photo: Chris Knight, courtesy Adirondack Daily Enterprise
A housing unit at Camp Gabriels. Photo: Chris Knight, courtesy Adirondack Daily Enterprise

Camp Gabriels prison buyer hopes to open summer camp this year

A plan is in the works to turn Camp Gabriels, a former medium-security prison in the Adirondack town of Brighton, into a private group camp and retreat center.

The former prison in Franklin County has been closed since 2009. The state put the property up for auction in October; Adam Fine of New York City is in process of buying it. He reportedly wants to get it up and running as a summer camp this year.  Go to full article
Camp Gabriels, once the center of a fierce debate over prisons, closed its doors in 2009.  Source: Save Camp Gabriels
Camp Gabriels, once the center of a fierce debate over prisons, closed its doors in 2009. Source: Save Camp Gabriels

Former Camp Gabriels prison to become year-round camp

GABRIELS, N.Y. (AP) The prospective owner of a former medium-security prison in the Adirondacks plans to transform the property into a private group camp and retreat center.

The Adirondack Daily Enterprise reports that the $166,000 bid submitted in October by Adam Fine of New York City was the second-highest bid for Camp Gabriels. The highest bid, nearly $212,000, was submitted by a Brooklyn businessman who was unable to complete the transaction.  Go to full article
Rep. Chris Collins (R) NY-27. Photo: official portrait
Rep. Chris Collins (R) NY-27. Photo: official portrait

GOP Rep.: bar federal money for prison college

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) A Republican congressman from the Buffalo area says he will introduce legislation to prohibit the use of federal money to provide college courses for convicted criminals.

The promised legislation from U.S. Rep. Chris Collins comes days after Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed a program to offer associate's and bachelor's degree education at 10 state prisons. Cuomo says it will reduce the likelihood of inmates returning to crime.  Go to full article
Tower at Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora (Source:  Wikipedia)
Tower at Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora (Source: Wikipedia)

NY prisons "heavily reliant" on overtime work

A new report issued this week finds that overtime pay in New York's prison system continues to grow. Prisons are one of the biggest employers in the North Country.

The study by the state Comptroller's office found that the Department of Correctional Services spent more than $160 million on overtime last year.  Go to full article
Milk Not Jails' Lauren Melodia and her team want to convince New York to invest in farms, not prisons. Photo: David Sommerstein
Milk Not Jails' Lauren Melodia and her team want to convince New York to invest in farms, not prisons. Photo: David Sommerstein

What could replace the North Country's prison industry?

This week, our Prison Time Media Project is examining the North Country's vast complex of prisons. It's an industry from Cape Vincent to Chateaugay that employs thousands of people in a region with few other options.

Today we ask - what if? What if the crime rate continues to drop and the number of inmates locked up continues to fall? What if, as Governor Cuomo has advocated, New York keeps closing prisons, as it did in Lyon Mountain and Gabriels?

What's next for the North Country's prison towns?

One tiny not-for-profit from New York City has an idea. Take the money saved from shuttering prisons and spend that money on agriculture. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article
Community leaders meeting in Chateaugay to orchestrate fight to save the state correctional facility. Photo: Brian Mann
Community leaders meeting in Chateaugay to orchestrate fight to save the state correctional facility. Photo: Brian Mann

How prisons became the North Country's normal

This year, North Country Public Radio has been looking in-depth at New York's Rockefeller drug laws and how those laws reshaped our state over the last forty years.

This week, the series will focus on the North Country, which is home to more than a dozen state and federal prisons.

Corrections work has grown into one of the region's biggest and most controversial industries, providing thousands of high paying jobs, and anchoring the economies in towns from Malone to Moriah.

As part of our Prison Time Media Project, Brian Mann has a special report on how the North Country became a magnet for new prisons and how the industry is facing new scrutiny.  Go to full article

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