CA Calls On DOJ To Investigate DOCCS In Wake Of Fishkill Homicide

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On August 18, the CA released a statement condemning the pervasive culture of violence at New York State prions and calling on the Department of Justice to fully investigate the entire Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS).  In response to a New York Times story today reporting the April homicide by Fishkill C.F. corrections officers of Samuel Harrell, our statement concluded that,  “It is long past time for a complete overhaul of New York’s prison system.”   The NYT article specifically refers to a  2013 CA report on Fishkill  which documented harrassment and provocation by officers assigned to the same building in which Mr. Harrell was being held. The culture of violence, abuse, intimidation, torture, and humiliation pervades the entire DOCCS system and cover-ups is typical, not unique.  Our statement in its entirety reads:

“Today the Correctional Association of New York calls on the Department of Justice to expand its current investigation of Attica and conduct a comprehensive, systemic investigation of DOCCS. It is long past time for a complete overhaul of New York’s prison system.

The CA once again condemns the pervasive culture of violence and abuse perpetrated by DOCCS staff and the attempted cover-up  – this time at Fishkill. The homicide of 30-year-old Samuel Harrell on April 21, 2015 by Fishkill prison guards is a reminder that the entire prison system is out of control and irreparably broken.

The State’s plan to turn over evidence to the Dutchess County District Attorney provides little comfort. Similar efforts in Wyoming County to prosecute Attica prison guards for the brutal beating of George Williams resulted in nothing more than a slap on the wrist and retaliation against the eye-witnesses who dared to come forward. In the aftermath, the Department of Justice launched an investigation.

The torture, murders, and cover-ups must end. Only a federal investigation of DOCCS can begin to accomplish this.”