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News stories tagged with "prisontime"

Bedford Hills Correctional Facility. Photo by Amy Lindemuth
Bedford Hills Correctional Facility. Photo by Amy Lindemuth

In NYS prison, women hold on to motherhood

In New York state's prison nursery program, a woman can qualify to live with her newborn baby for up to one year.

But during the many hours when their mothers have to attend programs like GED classes or addiction counseling, or work in the garment shop, these babies have another group of inmates who look after them. Each of these inmate caregivers has to go through a long training to have this job. And the majority of them are mothers themselves.

This morning, our Prison Time Media Project continues, with a profile of one caregiver at Bedford Hills, New York's maximum-security prison for women.  Go to full article
Cassidy and Hermione. Cassidy says she has to work hard not to obsess about the day her daughter will leave. "You can't get sad about it yet, because everything that you feel they feel." Photo: Natasha Haverty
Cassidy and Hermione. Cassidy says she has to work hard not to obsess about the day her daughter will leave. "You can't get sad about it yet, because everything that you feel they feel." Photo: Natasha Haverty

When should babies stay with their moms in NY prisons?

The number of women in American prisons has gone up 800 percent over the last thirty years, according to the Federal Bureau of Justice. Most of these women are mothers. And about one in twenty of them are pregnant.

Here in New York State, a woman who gives birth while serving time has the chance to stay with her baby in a prison nursery, for up to one year, or eighteen months if the mother is eligible for parole by then.

A Department of Corrections study found that participating in prison nurseries lowers recidivism rates dramatically--cutting the chances of a woman coming back to prison in half.

Researchers say these programs also help the babies, giving them a chance to form secure attachments to their moms.

But in recent years, the numbers of mothers in the prison nurseries have gone down. In our latest installment of the Prison Time Media Project, reporter Natasha Haverty set out to learn why.  Go to full article
In New York state, the number of youth confined in public facilities decreased from 2,517 in 2001 to 1,005 in 2010, a 60 percent decline. Photo: Richard Ross, Juvenile-in-Justice Project
In New York state, the number of youth confined in public facilities decreased from 2,517 in 2001 to 1,005 in 2010, a 60 percent decline. Photo: Richard Ross, Juvenile-in-Justice Project

Study finds fewer NY, US children behind bars

A new study released this week finds that the US is putting fewer children behind bars. New York state has seen one of the sharpest drops.

In 2000 there were more than 2,800 kids being held in detention centers across New York. That number has dropped by nearly two-thirds -- and 13 youth detention centers have closed statewide.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has made closing those facilities one of his priorities: "You have juvenile justice facilities today where we have young people who are receiving help, assistance, program treatment that has already been proven to be ineffective."  Go to full article
Kim Dadou from Rochester spent seventeen years in state prison on first degree manslaughter charges after she killed her boyfriend, a man who abused her severely. Photo courtesy the Correctional Association
Kim Dadou from Rochester spent seventeen years in state prison on first degree manslaughter charges after she killed her boyfriend, a man who abused her severely. Photo courtesy the Correctional Association

Are too many domestic violence victims going to prison?

As the legislature winds to a close in Albany, a coalition of prison reform and domestic violence activists are hoping to convince the Republican-controlled Senate to bring one more bill to the floor for a vote.

Supporters say the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act would allow judges to factor physical and mental abuse into sentencing decisions in felony criminal cases.

District Attorneys are opposing the bill, arguing that it would allow too many people to claim that domestic violence was a factor in their crimes.  Go to full article
Prisons for sale. As two more prisons close down, there a dozen corrections and juvenile justice facilities in NY will be mothballed or up for sale. Photo: Brian Mann
Prisons for sale. As two more prisons close down, there a dozen corrections and juvenile justice facilities in NY will be mothballed or up for sale. Photo: Brian Mann

Act now! Clinton County prison just $140,000!

State officials have set a price tag on the mothballed prison in Clinton County and it looks like a bargain.

The Office of General Services says it will accept a minimum bid for the Lyon Mountain Correctional Facility of just $140,000.

That includes more than 27 acres of land and 23 buildings.  Go to full article
On the inside looking out. An image from the documentary film "The House I Live In." Photo: "The House I Live In," used by permission
On the inside looking out. An image from the documentary film "The House I Live In." Photo: "The House I Live In," used by permission

Why don't we talk more about North Country prisons?

Locking people up and keeping them behind bars is one of the North Country's biggest industries. There are more than twenty jails and prison facilities scattered across our rural region. Corrections and law enforcement agencies provide high-paying jobs from Ogdensburg to Glens Falls.

But the prison industry isn't something we talk about very often. The North Country's Regional Economic Development plan talks about renewable energy and trains and farms and government. But it doesn't even mention prisons -- not once.

Earlier this month, a student group at SUNY Plattsburgh invited community members, faculty and activists to meet and talk about mass incarceration and how it affects communities.  Go to full article
Once a public school, the Lyon Mountain Correctional Facility operated from 1984 until 2011.  Now it's up for sale. Photo: New York state
Once a public school, the Lyon Mountain Correctional Facility operated from 1984 until 2011. Now it's up for sale. Photo: New York state

Want to buy a North Country prison? Bargain basement prices!

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
"Milk Not Jails" is the brain child of activist Lauren Melodia, who spent a year in Canton and Ogdensburg Photo: <a href="https://www.facebook.com/MilkNotJails?fref=ts">MNJ Facebook page</a>, used by permission
"Milk Not Jails" is the brain child of activist Lauren Melodia, who spent a year in Canton and Ogdensburg Photo: MNJ Facebook page, used by permission

What if NY invested more in dairy farms and less in prisons?

This week we've been looking at the fortunes of the North Country's dairy industry and some of the hurdles faced by farmers and processors.

Over the last few months, our Prison Time Media Project has also been looking at the way prisons shape communities and the local economy in the North Country.

There are more than a dozen state and Federal prisons in the region, along with eleven county jails. That makes corrections work one of our top employers.

One activist group based in Brooklyn thinks these two issues -- prison jobs and the dairy industry -- should be linked in people's minds, as we think about ways to grow the rural economy. That group's called "Milk Not Jails."  Go to full article
Fewer inmates have meant fewer prisons. It turns out Camp Gabriels was part of a slow but important national trend. Source: Save Camp Gabriels
Fewer inmates have meant fewer prisons. It turns out Camp Gabriels was part of a slow but important national trend. Source: Save Camp Gabriels

NY, US see dramatic drop in prison inmate population

New York state officials say the state's prison population is expected to drop again this year by nearly 800 inmates.

The Department of Corrections will close two more prisons this year, bringing to a total of nine the number of correctional facilities shut down since 2011.

Inmate populations in New York have been edging downward for more than a decade. But a report from the Justice Department suggests that for the first time in decades, fewer Americans nationwide are being sent to prison.

Surveys of state and Federal prisons nationwide show the number of inmates actually declined over the last three years - the first downward trend in a generation.  Go to full article
"My association with being a felon is probably the same as most people's: You're dehumanized. There's a stamp on your forehead that says 'you're less than.'" Photo: Natasha Haverty
"My association with being a felon is probably the same as most people's: You're dehumanized. There's a stamp on your forehead that says 'you're less than.'" Photo: Natasha Haverty

Alternatives to Incarceration: Back in the world

Today, the final part in a series about society's efforts to turn away from long-term incarceration for nonviolent offenders. In Part one, we met Jeff, a college-bound young man from Western New York who fell into serious drug addiction, broke into a pharmacy, and cycled through drug courts and rehab for years before being sentenced to prison.

But instead of serving a four year sentence, Jeff went to Moriah Shock, a bootcamp-style, six-month program in the Adirondacks. We left off yesterday when Jeff was three months away from his release, and feeling confident his time in Shock would help him stay drug and crime-free when he returned home.

"I mean obviously I'm not going to walk around, I'm not going to march around and call cadence, but it helps establish certain discipline that's essential through the program, and this is from the heart, I'm not just speaking to build up the program because I know whatever I say is going to be fine."

In Part three, producer Natasha Haverty finds Jeff back in the world, rebuilding his life and looking ahead.  Go to full article

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