Prison Visiting Project
Since 1846, the Prison Visiting Project (PVP) has carried out the CA’s unique mandate to keep policymakers and the public informed about conditions of confinement that have an impact on the people who are incarcerated, prison staff, communities disproportionately affected by incarceration, and ultimately, society at large.
Each year, PVP visits seven to ten of New York State’s correctional facilities that house men, and issues facility-specific reports on prison conditions to both policymakers and the public, shedding light on problems and promoting effective and humane practices that we observe. In addition to its general prison monitoring efforts, PVP conducts in-depth research on key corrections issues and publishes comprehensive reports of findings and recommendations. The Project also receives, logs, and answers thousands of letters each year from individuals confined in New York prisons.
Based on the information gathered through its monitoring and in-depth research, PVP engages in strategic advocacy and presses for reforms at the level most likely to yield positive results—from working with the executive staff at an individual prison; to urging the state to adopt agency-wide policies, replicate model programs, and institutionalize best practices; to collaborating with formerly incarcerated people, service providers and community organizations to develop more humane prison policies; and to working with state policymakers to enact legislative reforms.
Project staff also make presentations and provide expert testimony at conferences and public forums across the country, and engage in activities aimed at educating the public about prison conditions, the high cost of incarceration and the need for alternatives to incarceration.
Explore our issue areas:
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.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 at rates above the national average and in a racially disparate manner.Read More