Prisons in New York are currently under a high level of scrutiny after a series of separate events has led the Correctional Association of New York to call for a federal investigation.
New York prisons have been in the national news frequently in 2015. In June two inmates escaped from the Clinton Correctional Facility. Just like something out of a movie, they escaped by tunneling out of the facility using hacksaw blades provided by a prison corrections employee. One of the inmates was later shot and killed, while the other was apprehended alive. All said the escape is estimated to have cost about $23 million. Another related event has been the reported beatings of inmates that have occurred at the Clinton Correctional Facility since the escape. A more recent incident was the death of an inmate at the Fishkill Correctional Facility after reports that he was beaten by as many as 20 of the prison corrections officers. These and other cases that have occurred over the past few years have raised the concerns of some groups.
These events have not gone unnoticed, and have lead to some shakeups in the New York prison system. One corrections officer has been arrested for her role in providing contraband to inmates. Two prison superintendents have been removed. Dozens of corrections officers are currently on administrative leave. However, the Correctional Association of New York, which is a non-profit with state provided authority to inspect prisons, is still calling for a federal review of New York prisons citing the pervasive culture of violence that is present. The corrections departments of the prisons have their Office of Special Investigations working with state police and district attorneys to investigate each event.
At the best of times corrections officers have a tough job. In fact, the guards’ union claims that the level of violence against corrections officers is at record highs at the moment. So, sifting through to find the truth on each of the events impacting the New York prison system may pose difficult.