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
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