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News stories tagged with "prisontime"

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
The village of Dannemora, NY and Clinton-Dannemora prison, one of the facilities that remains open here in the North Country. Photo: Natasha Haverty
The village of Dannemora, NY and Clinton-Dannemora prison, one of the facilities that remains open here in the North Country. Photo: Natasha Haverty

Cuomo cuts corrections budget, closes prisons

Cuomo still plans to close four prisons later this year, including two here in the North Country. In his speech yesterday the Governor also spoke about putting more resources into programs to help offenders return to society and stay in society.

This comes only a few weeks after Cuomo talked about rolling back the "madness" of mass incarceration in New York. The new budget reduces funding for the Department of Corrections by $8 million.  Go to full article

Reporters' Roundtable: What to look for in Cuomo's budget address

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is set to present a budget proposal this afternoon detailing how he will pay for a broad program of tax breaks while maintaining funding for schools, health care and infrastructure.

It's expected to top $136 billion.

Cuomo and state lawmakers will try to maintain their three-year streak of reaching a final budget deal by the start of the state fiscal year April 1.

The governor says his budget will usher in three years of projected surpluses -- if lawmakers hold spending growth below 2 percent.

The governor says that New York can provide tax relief and increase investments in education, health care and economic development, even with the spending cap.

Joining me this morning to give the budget a North Country context are David Sommerstein, Sarah Harris, and Brian Mann.  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
View from a subway platform in Bedford-Stuyvesant, one of the neighborhoods in New York city with the highest concentration of men and women admitted to prison. Photo: Natasha Haverty
View from a subway platform in Bedford-Stuyvesant, one of the neighborhoods in New York city with the highest concentration of men and women admitted to prison. Photo: Natasha Haverty

Cuomo: "reducing the madness of an incarceration society"

Cuomo also talked about the state of prisons in New York yesterday. And according to the Governor, there's good news, and there's bad news.  Go to full article

Vt. report: Impaired parolees need better services

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) A Vermont legislative committee says the state should add early intervention services for parolees with mental illness, substance abuse or other problems to help them stay out of trouble.

The draft report says the services should be considered a priority over the addition of any new residential facilities for this group of parolees.  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
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
Brother Yusuf  Abdul-Wasi (R) and Joe Hackett (L) with moderator Russell Banks at an event hosted by John Brown Lives. Photo: Brian Mann
Brother Yusuf Abdul-Wasi (R) and Joe Hackett (L) with moderator Russell Banks at an event hosted by John Brown Lives. Photo: Brian Mann

A prison inmate, a corrections worker, a conversation

This week, our Prison Time Media Project is focusing in-depth on the the world of corrections here in the North Country.

There are more than a dozen state and Federal prisons in our region, from Cape Vincent to the town of Moreau. The industry is a pillar of the economy in many rural towns.

But those prisons are also a place where prison guards, civilian workers and inmates struggle every day to communicate, grappling with huge differences of race and class.

Two men -- a former inmate and a former corrections worker -- are working to bridge that divide by talking about their shared experience behind bars.  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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