The Clinton Correctional Facility Report
Clinton Correctional Facility has an infamous history of staff violence, brutality, dehumanization and racist attitudes that are an affront to any sense of humanity. The Correctional Association (CA) visited Clinton in July 2012, received more than 600 surveys from people incarcerated at Clinton, and obtained updated information about conditions at Clinton in 2014.
Our investigation revealed that these longstanding abuses at Clinton remain pervasive. The CA’s review of conditions at the prison found frequent infliction of solitary confinement for months and years, inadequate medical care, a high incidence of suicides and self-harm, and a dearth of meaningful programs. Moreover, the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) closed Clinton’s Merle Cooper program, a highly praised therapeutic and rehabilitative program aimed at reducing recidivism by promoting greater freedom, responsibility, self-reflection, and peer-led initiatives.
Clinton – the largest and third oldest DOCCS prison – did have a number of industry jobs, relatively high ratings of vocational programs in the prison’s Annex, and a residential mental health program. Yet overall, the level of physical violence and staff abuse and intimidation, the pervasive environment of oppression, the lack of proximity to any urban center, and the tensions derived from vast racial and cultural disparities between staff and incarcerated persons at Clinton epitomize the worst aspects of mass incarceration in New York State.
New York must reverse the downward spiral of excessive punishment, isolation, warehousing, violence, and abuse at Clinton and across DOCCS, and envision a system where the state puts people before prisons. New York can begin by expanding and replicating, rather than closing, programs like Merle Cooper, and by ending the brutality of prisons like Clinton.
Read the Full Report, Summary, and Fact Sheet below
The New York Times in this editorial today is saying what we at the CA have been reporting on for decades: without any any transparency and accountability, the abuse of people who are incarcerated will persist and those who are responsible will still act with impunity. Until accountability is the norm and not the exception, the abuse -- and in some cases, loss of life -- will continue.Read More
Fishkill is supposed to take care of mentally ill people like Ben, who was locked up as a schizophrenic teen. It turned out to be a death sentence. Benjamin Van Zandt’s hellish odyssey through New York’s criminal justice system began when the voices inside his head compelled him to light a neighbor’s house on fire. [...]Read More
Under unique statutory authority granted to the CA in 1846, WIPP monitors conditions in women’s prisons in New York, a role played by no other group in the country. WIPP coordinates the Coalition for Women Prisoners, a statewide alliance of more than 1,800 people, and carries out advocacy campaigns to reform harmful criminal justice policies. [...]Read More