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News stories tagged with "punishment"

Charles Rangel (L) at the signing of a drug-war era law with Nancy Reagan and President Ronald Reagan. Photo:  Wikipedia
Charles Rangel (L) at the signing of a drug-war era law with Nancy Reagan and President Ronald Reagan. Photo: Wikipedia

Charles Rangel: America's "front-line general" in the drug war

America's black leadership supported the drug war for decades in large part because of the efforts of one man.

Charles Rangel, a former federal prosecutor and Korean War veteran, emerged as one of the dominant figures in the nation's politics.

He was also a fierce supporter of tough crime policies and was once described as the "front-line general in the war on drugs" by Ebony magazine.

Our profile of Charles Rangel is the latest installment in our Prison Time Media Project series.  Go to full article
Serial killer Israel Keyes spent significant time in the North Country and Vermont and owned land in Franklin County.  The FBI is hoping the public can provide more information about his activities. Photo: Anchorage Police Department
Serial killer Israel Keyes spent significant time in the North Country and Vermont and owned land in Franklin County. The FBI is hoping the public can provide more information about his activities. Photo: Anchorage Police Department

Who did Israel Keyes murder and where are the bodies?

FBI officials this week released their latest timeline of the activities of Israel Keyes, the serial killer who spent part of his time in the North Country and Vermont.

Keyes committed suicide in his jail cell in Alaska last December 1. His death has left investigators scrambling to identify Keyes' victims and the locations of their bodies.  Go to full article
Gun rights activist Richard Mack (L) and Clinton County Sheriff David Favro (R) hold a press conference in Plattsburgh, opposing the New York SAFE Act. Photo: Brian Mann
Gun rights activist Richard Mack (L) and Clinton County Sheriff David Favro (R) hold a press conference in Plattsburgh, opposing the New York SAFE Act. Photo: Brian Mann

Will upstate NY cops, sheriffs enforce gun control laws?

New York's tough gun law, known as the SAFE Act, was pushed through last January by Governor Andrew Cuomo, winning support from the Democratic Assembly and the Republican-controlled Senate.

Over the last six months, however, political opposition to the law has grown, especially in upstate counties where gun ownership is popular. A growing number of law enforcement officials, especially county sheriffs, now say they're deeply troubled by the law, which bans assault rifles and large ammunition clips. Some officers say they won't actively enforce the SAFE Act.  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
62-year-old William Spengler is the alleged gunman in Webster, NY. Photo:  Monroe County Sheriffs Office via WXXI
62-year-old William Spengler is the alleged gunman in Webster, NY. Photo: Monroe County Sheriffs Office via WXXI

Gunman attacks, kills firefighters near Rochester

A Christmas eve shooting in a small town near Rochester has left two emergency responders dead and others wounded.

Authorities say the alleged gunman, William Spengler, laid an ambush for firefighters by setting a blaze and then lying in wait with a rifle or shotgun.

The shooting occurred in Webster, New York, near the shore of Lake Ontario.  Go to full article

Malone prison singled out in report on "extreme isolation"

A report released this week by the New York Civil Liberties Union calls for major reforms to the state prison system that would reduce the number of inmates held in solitary confinement or isolation.

According to the study, roughly 8% of state prisoners are being held in special isolation cells. Roughly a third of those solitary confinement cells, known as "special housing units," are located here in the North Country.

Critics say the use of solitary confinement by prison guards has spiraled out of control.  Go to full article
These bear paws were seized from an Asian market in Brooklyn last year (Source:  NYS DEC)
These bear paws were seized from an Asian market in Brooklyn last year (Source: NYS DEC)

New law regulates North Country trade in black bear parts for Asian markets

When black bear hunters head back into the woods this fall, they'll face new regulations that require them to document any parts of the animal that they plan to sell.

The new law went into effect this year. It's designed to help state and Federal officials crack down on black bear poaching.

It's still legal for hunters in New York to sell bear parts for use in Asian medicine and cooking, but the trade will be much more closely monitored.

Brian Mann has our story.  Go to full article
Last year, then state Sen. Darrel Aubertine spoke at a rally to save Ogdensburg Correctional (Photo: NYS Senate)
Last year, then state Sen. Darrel Aubertine spoke at a rally to save Ogdensburg Correctional (Photo: NYS Senate)

Ogdensburg waits to find out if state prisons will be spared

Governor Andrew Cuomo is preparing a final list of state correctional facilities that will close this year as part of his austerity spending plan.

That means prison towns here in the North Country are waiting on pins and needles, hoping their facilities aren't on the list.

Once the governor announces his decision, prisons could close within thirty days.

Brian Mann visited Ogdensburg. He found that people there are worried, but hopeful.  Go to full article
You're not a priest...you're no more than a common thug.

Former North Country priest sentenced to 20-25 years for child rape

A former priest convicted of raping two altar boys from the Glens Falls area has been sentenced to 20 to 25 years in state prison in Massachusetts.

Gary Mercure was traveling in that state with two boys from his North Country parish when he raped and assaulted them.

The attacks happened in the 1980s. Other children who were once under Mercure's care have since come forward to say that they were also molested.  Go to full article
Tower at Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora (Source:  Wikipedia)
Tower at Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora (Source: Wikipedia)

Does the North Country's prison industry have a future?

Tomorrow, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo will unveil a plan to cut New York's budget deficit, which now stands at more than $11 billion. Cuomo's spending plan could hit nearly every part of the North Country's economy, from schools to hospitals. He's also considering massive layoffs, with as many as 10,000 jobs on the line statewide.

One state agency that could face the deepest cuts is the Department of Correctional Services. According to the New York Times, between six and ten prisons could be slated for closure. This morning, Brian Mann looks back at the changing debate over prisons and their role as an economic engine here in the North Country.  Go to full article

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