Downstate Correctional Facility
The Correctional Association (CA) visited Downstate Correctional Facility, a maximum security reception and classification facility for men operated by the Department of Correctional Services (DOCS) on November 19, 2009. The facility is located in Dutchess County in the town of Fishkill, NY, approximately 60 miles north of New York City. Downstate was constructed in 1979 as the first facility designated entirely to the reception and classification of inmates. At the time of our visit, Downstate housed 1,130 inmates, with a total capacity of 1,234. The facility contains a 36-bed Special Housing Unit (SHU), which held 12 inmates in disciplinary segregation at the time of our visit. While the facility is dedicated to reception and classification, it also maintains a work cadre comprising non-reception inmates who reside at the facility to perform support services. The work cadre capacity is 288 inmates and at the time of our visit housed 274 inmates.
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
John J. Lennon, a contributing writer at The Marshall Project, has written for Vice, The Atlantic, and The New York Times. He is currently in Sing Sing Correctional Facility in Ossining, New York. He will be eligible for parole in 2029. Joe Cardo was out hunting for half-smoked cigarettes. From my perch at the white-boys’ table of the A Block [...]Read More
“Prison Within Prison: Voices of Women Held In Isolated Confinement in New York” is a collection of oral and visual observations from twenty women about their experiences being held in isolated confinement in New York’s women’s prisons and Rikers Island. They are advocates and leaders on a range of issues in the movement to end [...]Read More
WOMEN AND ISOLATED CONFINEMENT Women held in isolated confinement are subjected to dehumanizing treatment—treatment that makes it difficult for them to maintain their dignity, hygiene, nutrition and personal property. They can get in trouble for something as simple as attempting to talk to the person next to them. They are denied commissary privileges which provide [...]Read More