Revisiting Shock Incarceration: CA Report Details Conditions at Lakeview Correctional Facility
The CA’s Prison Visiting Project has published a report detailing conditions at Lakeview Correctional Facility, a minimum security prison located 50 miles outside of Buffalo. The CA last visited the facility in 1996, noting then, as we did this time around, that Lakeview is not your average state prison.
Lakeview is one of four “Shock Incarceration” facilities in New York State, which is home to the largest Shock program in the country. Shock Incarceration is a controversial, “boot camp” style program that emphasizes substance abuse treatment, discipline, and education, and enables incarcerated individuals to reduce their sentences to six months.
Overall, the Project found positive conditions at Lakeview, with the staff highly dedicated and committed to the program’s mission. Incarcerated people largely benefit from the intensive programming and many expressed their appreciation for the program’s rehabilitative components. However, the Project was concerned about the apparent high level of physical and verbal confrontations between staff and incarcerated people and among other incarcerated individuals, which exceeds that of many other facilities. The Project also noted that incarcerated individuals who were not accepted into or who declined the Shock program would often wait months in the prison’s “Annex” before transferring to another facility. Programs in the Annex were limited, leading to a significant degree of idleness and adversely affecting incarcerated individuals’ ability to earn early release.
As with all its monitoring reports, the Project presented its findings to the facility’s administrators, to New York State Department of Correctional Services officials, and to state legislators.
Based on our recommendations, Lakeview has already substantially reduced the Annex’s population, effectively addressing the idleness issue. In drawing attention to both positive and negative aspects of New York’s prisons, such reports provide a means of improving conditions and promoting best practices at individual facilities as well as system-wide.
The CA has been monitoring the high rates of suicide and self-harm in the state prisons for more than a decade and has repeatedly drawn attention to excessively high rates of harm at certain prisons and in specific locations, such as solitary confinement and residential mental health units, to the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS), the Office of Mental Health (OMH) and the legislature in the CA’s reports and legislative testimonies. DOCCS suicide rate from 2010-16 was 56% higher than the national average for all US prisons.Read More
If New York state were punishing misbehaving prisoners by pulling out their fingernails, I believe our local senators and assemblymen would put a stop to this. Yet the legislature continues to allow the extended use of solitary confinement in prisons. Make no mistake, this is torture. Don’t take my word for it. Go spend 15 [...]Read More
Reports & Research
“Solitary at Southport: A 2017 Report Based Upon the Correctional Association’s Visits, Data Analysis, & First-Hand Accounts of the Torture of Solitary Confinement from One of New York’s Supermax Prisons”
“The isolation itself is torture. Mentally and emotionally, it breaks you down. Spiritually it strips you. The way it is built is to break you down as a person and push your family away.” From “Solitary at Southport” Solitary confinement is torture. New York State subjects people to solitary confinement and other forms of isolation [...]Read More