Cuomo wants to cut visitation, positions at Auburn, other NY maximum security prisons
From The Auburn Citizen:
A proposal in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 2017-18 executive budget would reduce the visitation schedule at New York’s 17 maximum security correctional facilities and result in the elimination of 39 positions.
Under the governor’s plan, the number of days visitors are allowed at maximum security prisons would be reduced from seven to three. The figure would be nearly identical to the visitation schedule at the state’s medium security facilities, which currently allow visitors on weekends and holidays.
The proposal would allow the state to eliminate 39 positions and save $2.6 million.
At Auburn Correctional Facility, the lone maximum security prison in Cayuga County, visiting hours are from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day, including holidays. The same policy is in place at nearby Five Points Correctional Facility in Seneca County.
For medium security prisons, such as Cayuga Correctional Facility in Moravia, visiting hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.
“Weekend visitations are the most popular as many families have to travel long distances,” said Morris Peters, a spokesman for the state Division of Budget.
“This change — which comes with the expanded use of video conferencing — would be a more efficient use of taxpayer dollars and match the preexisting policy at medium security (Department of Corrections and Community Supervision) facilities.”
Peters added that visits would be offered on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The video conferencing component — “tele-visiting,” he said — would be scheduled at a certain date and time. The visitor would go to a designated site with the necessary equipment for a video conference with an inmate.
Jack Beck, director of the Correctional Association of New York State’s Prison Visiting Project, criticized Cuomo’s proposal.
“Basically going from seven days to three for maximum security facilities will mean that, I think, for many people they will not be able to have their visit or they will be substantially shortened,” Beck said. “It will clearly deteriorate the relationship between an incarcerated person and their family.”
One of Beck’s concerns is with a reduced visitation schedule, families may be discouraged from traveling to see an inmate. For those who live in New York City and have a family member serving a prison sentence at an upstate facility, it can take several hours to travel to and from the prison.
Beck predicts there will be fewer visits if Cuomo’s proposal is adopted.
“And to save a few million dollars really doesn’t make sense to have one of the most positive programs inside being substantially curtailed,” he said.
While Beck acknowledged the video conferencing provision is “something,” he said it doesn’t replace the physical interaction between an inmate and his or her family.
“There’s nothing more important than being able to come in and hug the person that you love,” he said.
Read the full article here.
( Sept. 9. 2018,The Guardian) Inmates within America’s overflowing prisons are marking the end of a 19-day national prison strike on Sunday with a new push to regain the vote for up to 6 million Americans who have been stripped of their democratic rights.Read More
Staten Islanders had the opportunity Thursday night to briefly experience one of the hardest parts of our nation’s penal system. A group of advocates brought a makeshift solitary cell to the South Shore YMCA in Eltingville to show people the level of isolation inmates can face. The model was constructed by Doug Van Zandt, of [...]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
Prison Monitoring Reports
Attica Correctional Facility, a 2,000-bed maximum security prison in western New York, continues to operate as a symbolic and real epicenter of state violence and abuse of incarcerated persons in the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) state prison system 43 years after the 1971 prison uprising and violent suppression by state authorities. The [...]Read More