View Full Version : Mid-State Correctional Facility


Manzanita
10-26-2004, 08:56 PM
Mid-State Correctional Facility
P.O. Box 216
Marcy, New York 13403-0216
(315) 768-8581

(Oneida County)

Inmate Mail:
P.O. Box 2500, 13403

Medium Male

Thanks to CaringGF12---12/2/2012


I stay in the Red Roof Inn, 8min away. There's also a Super 8, Days Inn, and a couple motels across the street from each other. If you stay overnight, either do your research or take your pick. I stayed at the Red Roof Inn, overnight Saturday [into Sunday], for $58 with military discount. It's $60/night without any discounts. I'm making that my hotel for every time I visit overnight. Clean, courteous, cheap, and very close to Mid-State/Marcy/Psych prisons. Food is only seconds away. Subway, Taco Bell, Dunkin Donuts, a couple sit down places, etc.

As far as the prison itself goes, you have to keep an eye out. I wound up going a half mile out of my way because I missed it. It's the first right after the sign for the Marcy prison. The sign has smaller letters on it. After making the right, you go straight up the road towards this big building. When you get to the fork, bear left. Follow the road past the Psych prison, where you'll go around a left curve to a parking lot. There's a trailer to your left that says "Visitor's Center" on it. The gate that's to the left of that is the entrance to the Mid-State Visiting Area. Park anywhere in the parking lot. It's free. You'll only need one quarter for the locker, which you'll get back immediately after locking it [at the bottom of the row]. You'll also need singles for the vending machines and ID to get in. If you have a package, you have to empty it into a green bin. If anything isn't allowed, they'll give it back at the end of your visit [if it's not contraband]. You have to fill out a visitor's form as well. Go in through the left door. (Don't ask, it's how they do things.)

After signing in and the officers inside say you can go, go out of the trailer through the left door and bear right towards the gates. Buzz to be let in through both doors. The building door is unlocked. Now is the metal detector process. Pretty simple. When they're ready for you, you go around the right side. Empty your pockets and everything into the bins, take off your coats [in the colder weather], and put your shoes in a separate bin. Pass through the detector. If it beeps, and you're wearing an underwire (ladies), you have to go into the bathroom, take a paper bag from the counter in there, take it off, and go back through. You CANNOT put the bra back on until you're on the visit floor! Occasionally, they do drug tests on visitors. The kind they do in Rikers with the cloth, but it's more in-depth. After you're cleared and stamped, you go to the visit floor. If you have kids, you stay in the front room. If not, you go to the back room. (I like how they did that.) You can stay as long as you want. According to Sean, it takes inmates about 15-20min to get to the visit floor. Mid-State is like a campus. They have to walk to everything. Gym, Mess Hall, Visiting Center. When your visit is done, be sure to see the officers in the first room to get your visit sheet back. You have to sign the sheet and show your stamp under the black light after you leave the visit floor.

Visits are usually 8am to 3pm every weekend and holiday. Be sure to call before visiting to make sure your inmate is available and for any other questions/concerns. I loved my visit and can't wait to see him again. Hoping to go this coming weekend. Hope this post helps for future visitors.

Prison Web Site: http://prisonministry.net/marcy

FRP available: No

Number of prisoners:Opened: 1983, Capacity: 188 male (16+), Adult Correctional Institutions, Employees: 687, Cost of care: $46.45 per day

General Information:New maximum-security modular unit opens at Mid-State Correctional Facility

The new 100-cell double-occupancy maximum-security modular unit at Mid-State Correctional Facility in Oneida County is scheduled to receive another 24 inmates today.

Similar modular units opened earlier this year at Cayuga Correctional Facility in Cayuga County, Orleans Correctional Facility in Orleans County, Greene Correctional Facility in Greene County and Lakeview Correctional Facility in Chautauqua County. Identical 100-cell maximum-security modular units are under construction at three other medium-security prisons — Collins, Fishkill and Gouverneur. All are scheduled to open this summer.

"The men and women who work in New York state’s 69 prisons deserve a safe and secure work place," said Governor George E. Pataki. "That includes having the disciplinary housing unit cells to lock up offenders who assault them and violate other prison rules. In turn, this frees up general confinement cells, allowing the prison system to accept from Oneida and other counties those offenders who have been sentenced to state prison.

"Additionally, as more violent offenders receive longer sentences under my 1995 Sentencing Reform Act, the prison system will have more cells to lock up these violent offenders," said Governor Pataki.

"These increased capacity provides us with much-needed maximum-security space," said Commissioner Glenn S. Goord of the Department of Correctional Services. "We have nearly 70,000 inmates but fewer than 21,000 cells. We need more cells, especially in disciplinary Special Housing Units, to house those inmates who assault staff and disrupt our facilities.

"This expansion also helps address the need for more maximum-security cells to house those violent offenders who will be serving longer sentences under Governor Pataki’s Truth in Sentencing Law for repeat violent felony offenders," said Commissioner Goord. "At the same time, we will enhance security inside our prisons through our increased ability to segregate disruptive and violent inmates from staff and other inmates."

The latest round of transfers into Mid-State will increase the population of the new modular unit to 150 inmates. The unit opened June 9 and will operate as a disciplinary housing unit for disruptive inmates throughout the prison system. The $10.3 million unit is expected to be at full capacity by the end of next week, following two more rounds of transfers.

A total of 47 new security and civilian posts, with an annual payroll of $1.75 million, have been authorized for each of the eight new modular units. Those positions include 26 correction officers, four sergeants, nine support staff, four health services employees and four program services employees.

The eight new modular units were part of Governor Pataki’s proposed prison expansion included in the 1997-98 budget. That expansion authorized the addition of 1,550 maximum-security cells, the largest cell expansion since the construction of Attica Correctional Facility was approved in 1929. Besides the modular units, the budget authorized construction of a new 750-cell double-occupancy maximum-security prison in Franklin County. That facility is under construction in Malone and is scheduled to open next summer. Construction of an additional 750-cell double-occupancy maximum-security prison was authorized in the current budget.

The 100-cell maximum-security modular units are specifically designed to keep contact between inmates and staff and between inmates themselves to a minimum. That greatly reduces the possibility of disciplinary incidents while holding the line on management costs.

Inmates assigned to the new modular units will be confined to their cells around-the-clock with the exception of medical and legal appointments, very limited family visits and one hour each day of court-mandated outdoor recreation.

Contact between inmates and staff, and among other inmates, will be minimal in the modular units. All inmates will be fed in their cells and each cell also has a shower. That means there’s no need for staff to escort inmates to a community messhall or shower area, reducing the opportunity for disruptive inmates to assault staff. In addition, each cell can be accessed through the rear to an enclosed recreation area for the required one-hour-a-day outdoor recreation. That further minimizes contact between inmates and staff.

Prior to the opening of each unit, assigned staff receive two weeks of intensive training encompassing issues like cell extractions, search procedures, suicide prevention, special housing unit procedures, equipment, defensive tactics and other security and operational issues. Training is expected to continue on a regular basis.

The eight units are based upon a prototype that opened last year at Marcy Correctional Facility in Oneida County. Having monitored that facility’s initial operations, Commissioner Goord decided that security staffing should be increased from 19 correction officers and two sergeants to the current complement of 26 officers and four sergeants. Governor Pataki supported the initiative and authorized its funding.

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Both sides of the 'balloon theory'

Mid-State Correctional Facility
Halfway between Utica and Rome, at the end of a long, tree-lined driveway, there is an enormous tangle of razor ribbon atop endless mazes of crisscrossing fencing. Behind the fences and the jagged wire is a sprawling collection of old three-story brick buildings, most of them dating back 70 years or more - to the days when the state operated massive custodial institutions for the mentally ill and retarded. This was one of them, but it is no longer a hospital. The razor ribbon proclaims its new function: it is now a state prison.

Mid-State opened in 1983,just about at the midpoint of the prison expansion years, a 25-year building spree starting in 1972. During that period, the prison population increased by more than fivefold and the state built more prison beds than had been created in the entire prior history of the state.

Central New York had long been home to three huge mental hygiene institutions. The community had a hard time accepting the inevitable disappearance of the hospitals through deinstitutionalization and bitterly fought the coming of corrections to the region.

To ease tensions, Mid-State was phased in gradually, opening as a small, 300-bed medium-security facility. In the 15 years since, it has grown to over 1,900 inmates and now includes a minimum-security community service unit and a maximum-security S-Block, making it one of very few facilities in the state featuring all three security levels.

In its short life, Mid-State has proved to be a good neighbor, enabling it to overcome community hostility and preparing the way for three more prisons -- Oneida, Marcy and Mohawk in central New York. Seven years ago, when the Department created regional groupings to make the ever-increasing number of facilities more manageable, these four young facilities teamed to become the state's first functioning "hub."

The Rise of the State Hospitals

New York established its first state hospital in 1843. Within two years, the Utica Lunatic Asylum (later called State Hospital) was accepting mentally ill patients from prisons, jails and penitentiaries. Within a decade, its population was dominated by patients of the criminal class. It was a group difficult to hold and manage in a civil institution. Their presence represented not only a hazard, but was also an injustice foisted upon their civil fellow-patients, whose only "crime" was illness.

To correct the situation, the State Lunatic Asylum for Insane Convicts was erected on the grounds of Auburn. The Auburn Asylum was created to hold convicted and sentenced persons who had become mentally ill. But this did not resolve the problem. Civil commitments, including persons not convicted by reason of insanity, were still the responsibility of the Utica State Hospital. In addition, many of the indicted but unsentenced persons were extremely deluded and dangerous, and managing them was as difficult and hazardous as the custody of convicted insane persons.

Utica gradually pressed for authority to transfer such persons to the Auburn Asylum, and Auburn soon was overcrowded with the convicted and unconvicted of both sexes. In 1892, a new prison mental hospital was built at Matteawan and soon after, in 1899, another was in place at Dannemora. By the late 1960's, these two institutions held over 3,000 insane prisoners.

Meanwhile, the old, informal systems of caring for the mentally ill were withering away - both the good-old-days tolerance for the "village idiot" as well as the more usual misery of isolation and neglect in locked attics and basements, poorhouses and jails. In their place, a state hospital system evolved.

When Utica State Hospital reached 3,000 patients, New York built another asylum. The old Crane Hill Farm eight miles away was purchased in 1912, and patients were lodged in two farmhouses. Construction of new buildings was finally begun in 1919, and the complex, which would also soon hold nearly 3,000 patients, was named the Marcy State hospital. It would operate for more than 60 years before yielding to Mid-State.

Deinstitutionalization and the "Balloon Theory"

Highs in the populations of public mental health hospitals occurred in New York state and the United States in 1955. There were then over 500,000 patients in the nation's public mental institutions, including nearly 97,000 in New York. At about this time, the process now known as "deinstitutionalization" got underway, made necessary by the state governments' realization that they could no longer afford the asylums they had built. It was also made possible by the discovery of thorazine and other new drugs.

The deinstitutionalization movement gained momentum in 1963 when President Kennedy, calling for "a bold new approach" to helping the mentally ill, signed the Community Mental Health Centers Act. Hospital censuses plummeted.

On the heels of economic/medical deinstitutionalization, the civil rights movement brought a new insistence on due process that soon closed New York's prison mental hospitals. A series of court decisions in the 1960's and '70's established:

* That criminals could not be placed in mental hospitals without due process protections;

* That the correctional system could no longer retain inmate patients beyond their maximum sentences.

By the mid - 1970's, Matteawan and Dannemora were closed and corrections was out of the treatment business. To provide care for mentally ill prisoners, the state Department of Mental Hygiene (now the Office of Mental Health) opened the secure Central New York Psychiatric Center in a section of the medical/surgery building at Marcy.

From the 1955 peak of nearly 97,000, there are now fewer than 12,000 patients in New York's state hospitals. The institutionalized mentally retarded population has also declined dramatically as community care options have gained acceptance. Prison populations, on the other hand, have climbed from 12,500 in 1972 to almost 70,000 today. As long ago as 1931, researchers advanced a "balloon theory" suggesting that the mental hospitals and prisons are parts of an interrelated system, so that when one part is pressed in as with a balloon there will be a bulge somewhere else. Regardless of the validity of this theory, what is true is that by the 1980's, the mental health/retardation system could no longer afford to staff and maintain huge depopulated institutions, and the corrections system was desperate for beds. The mental hygiene bubble leaked just in time to save the corrections system from bursting.

Mid-State Leads DOCS Presence in Central New York

Central New York did not extend a glad hand to the Department. The new prison was not seen - as new prisons often have been in recent years - as an economic boon. The Utica/Marcy/Rome area already had three vast institutions with which it was familiar and comfortable: the Utica and Marcy state hospitals and the Rome Developmental Center, holding about 9,000 patients in their heyday. Given a choice none was given, of course the community would have kept its mental patients and the hospital jobs that went with them.

The corrections encroachment actually began in 1977, when the state created the Central New York Psychiatric Center (CNYPC) - for mentally ill prisoners on the grounds of Marcy. CNYPC was erected in spite of expressed fears for community safety. Then, in early 1983, when the state unveiled a plan to take over part of the Marcy Psychiatric Center as a 300-bed medium-security prison, there was an explosion of public indignation. The community saw this as a first step toward the takeover of the entire hospital. This time though opposition was sometimes still couched in terms of public safety, the real fear was economic: Some of the hospital’s employees might get jobs at the new prison, but many would not meet the qualifications for corrections titles. Others wouldn't be willing to undergo the serial relocation that is the lot of a rookie correction office. Still others wouldn't want a prison job, anyway.

Elected officials scrambled for leverage, CSEA and PEF picketed, and, amazingly, Marcy Psychiatric Center's Board of Visitors the governor's own appointees sued the state. In the midst of the protests, four buildings were fenced off for renovation, and correction officers were assigned round-the clock to protect the property from threatened vandalism. Work proceeded quickly, and Mid-State was ready for occupancy in December 1983.

During the three years of Phase I, Mid-State shared the site with the hospital. Official relations between the two facilities were amicable, but whispered grumblings were continuous and there were occasional unpleasant encounters. One evening several hospital employees, from the adjacent state-owned golf course, began teeing up balls and hitting them into the prison; OMH security staff were called to stop the bombardment, and at least one of the resentful golfers was arrested. From time to time, hospital patients, allegedly goaded by staff, taunted prison inmates from behind the safety of their fence.

Phase II of the transition took place in 1986 with the transfer of additional buildings to DOCS, increasing Mid-State's census to 1,400. In 1991, the last Marcy patients were moved to new sites, leaving the entire campus to Mid-State and CNYPC.

Over the years, the community accepted the reality of the shrinking mental hygiene presence. The new prison had transitioned as many of the displaced hospital workers as possible, and there had been no escapes or other upsetting incidents. Mid-State slowly gained respect, setting the stage for the opening, during 1988 and 1989, of three additional prisons in the region. Mohawk and Oneida absorbed the grounds and facilities of the former Rome Developmental Center. Marcy opened as a medium-security "cookie-cutter"-style prison across the road from Mid-State. With the 202-bed CNYPC, the central New York region now contains over 6,000 correctional system beds.

Mid-State Today

The Mid-State/CNYPC campus occupies over 1,000 acres of land, 78 within the perimeter fence enclosing the prison proper. There are about 35 buildings, most dating from the 1920's. Some are used for administrative offices, some as classrooms and other program areas and some for maintenance purposes. Most are residential buildings, each housing between 28 and 60 inmates in rooms ranging from two beds on up. "A-Building," outside the perimeter fence, was renovated in 1993 to house 188 minimum-security inmates.

There are also several new buildings. A new medical building opened in 1995, a 200-bed maximum security "S-Block" opened in June 1998 and an addition to the visitors' building is under construction. The new construction uses red brick and is architecturally compatible with the older surrounding structures.

Mid-State maintains several special subpopulations. In addition to A-Building and S-Block, there are two special housing units; five honor units affording increased privileges; a floor of one housing building set aside for older inmates; a residential veterans program and a residential Alcohol and Substance Abuse Treatment program.

Colorful flower beds abound on the grounds, and here and there are small "unofficial" vegetable gardens. Two institution operated farm fields comprising five acres are outside the fence. Minimum-security inmates farm these fields using donated surplus farm equipment reconditioned by a vocational class - to grow corn and tomatoes for consumption by Mid-State inmates and sometimes by others: 2,000 ears of corn have been promised this year to CNYPC and the Mohawk Valley Psychiatric Center (the successor to the former Marcy and Utica state hospitals). Pumpkins seeds, paid for by the Employee Benefit Fund, are also planted annually; the harvested pumpkins are distributed to staff at the annual Halloween party and also donated to underprivileged children.

In addition, 2,000 white pine trees, donated by the Department of Environmental Conservation in gratitude for assistance from facility community service crews, were planted behind S-Block. The grove will serve as an aesthetically pleasing buffer between the maximum-security unit and its neighbors.

Underground tunnels, used in former times to transport difficult patients, connect all the buildings of the old state hospital. Today, they are unused, symbolic of Mid- State's determination to operate above-ground and above-board. Groups of students and curious citizens are routinely granted tours of the facility. Citizens willing to volunteer their time and expertise to instruct inmates are always welcome.

And as the community comes into the facility, so does the facility go out to the community. A-Building minimum security inmates serve on Correction Officer-supervised community service crews, donating their sweat and talents to local churches, little leagues, the Department of Environmental Conservation, municipalities and not-for-profit organizations.

Mid-State in this regard probably typifies post-Attica corrections in New York state: where our prison walls were once as impassable to outsiders as to prisoners, Mid-State strives toward openness and mutuality with its neighbors.

There are no walls at Mid-State, but there is plenty of fencing, enclosing the outer perimeter and certain areas within, such as the visitors' building construction site. And atop the fencing, 87,100 coiled feet of razor ribbon gleam and glint in the sunlight reminding all that, despite the relaxed and open atmosphere, this is indeed a prison.



If you have any additional information, you can PM Mrs G.- and it will be added accordingly