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ELMIRA HUB PRISONS - NY DOC New York Prisons located in the ELMIRA HUB - Butler, Auburn, Five Points, Cayuga, Willard, Monterey, Elmira, Southport.

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Old 10-26-2004, 06:58 PM
Manzanita's Avatar
Manzanita Manzanita is offline
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Thumbs up Southport Correctional Facility

Southport Correctional Facility
P.O. Box 2000, Institution Road
Pine City, New York 14871

(607) 737-0850

(Chemung County)

Maximum Male

Southport is pretty much all SHU housing, which is Special Housing Unit. Inmates are locked in their cell 23 hours a day, with 1 hour outside by themselves. They also have what are called Cadre's, who normally work in the kitchen area.

Visitation hours are from 9-3, once a week. Between 11-12:30 you will sit there an wait for their count to be done, so make sure you're there in plenty of time to get in before it hits 11. Ladies be careful of your bra, even if it may not have underwire, they're very strict on suggesting you remove it anyways because sometimes the metal clasps in the back go off through the metal detector machine. Best bet is to just remove it and then after you go through the machine you can put it back on. That reduces time on you getting in there and the CO's won't get an attitude because you thought you could go through with it on and it ends up beeping...that really irritates some of them!

Visiting room is all caged, meaning there is a metal, mesh-type gate between you and the inmate. It's pretty much like you're in a cage. The visiting room is all long counter-like tables with chairs on each side. There is just enough room between the counter and the mesh to hold hands and give them food. There are vending machines in there and microwaves to heat up the food. When an inmate first arrives at Southport, he is considered Level 1, which means if he gets a visit he is to be remained chained throughout the visit. Handcuffs around the wrists with a chain that goes around the stomach. They're only like that for the first week they're there. Bathrooms in visiting area, can get up anytime to use them. 3 visitors allowed in at a time. There is also a separate visiting area for the Cadre inmates, which I'm not too sure about because I was never over in that area. I know the visiting room over there though is different, has tables and chairs, and you don't have to sit with the mesh between eachother.

Lodging: Lodging is pretty much mostly in Elmira, which is only about 15-20 minutes north of Southport.
There is a Best Western in Horseheads that runs about $75, a Landmark inn also in Horseheads that runs between $49-$60. There are also a bunch of hotels in Elmira, Relax Inn that runs about $45.95, Econolodge that runs between $50-$70, but the cheapest I have found yet is Motel 6 in Horseheads on Route 17, which has a special internet rate of $28.79 +tax, and actually the standard rate isn't that much higher, which is $31.99+tax.

Prison Web Site: http://prisonministry.net/pinecityYou can also get plenty of information on the history and up to date info on southport from this site:

Prison Picture:

FRP available:no

Number of prisoners:Inmate population is over 780 SHU inmates and 150 cadre inmates.

General Information: This information below is taken from old threads between members sharing information on Southport

Q:Any information on the cadre program at Southport Correctional Facility? wondering if anyone there had any info on conditions there?

The cadre is the group of inmates who are there to work at the prison (yardwork, maintenance, ect.), they are not in the box (SHU) part of the prison and have all the same rights as any other non-SHU inmates.


The Cadre inmates are seperate from SHU, they are still like any other inmate there to keep up the prison so to speak (from what I have been reading on it) and so then ...why would someone put in a transfer to go there as a cadre inmate? what are the benefits in being a Cadre inmate?

They are afforded the same rights, privledges, and some of the same programs as any other Max C.F. while in the cadre at Southport. They also have trailers there and from what I've heard run on a pretty quick schedule. Maybe the inmate has family near there and would rather go to Southport Cadre rather then to Elmira CF (which is the only other prison in the area.)

They don't have a choice to go to Southport SHU (or to leave either!) Southport Cadre is completley seperate from that and an inmate can request a transfer there.

Maybe he has family close by and doesn't want to go to Elmira CF (which is the only other prison in the area.) According to my husband, Elmira is one of the worst prisons to be at. I wonder what the pay is for Cadre at Southport? Maybe it's better then the usual?

Most Southport SHU inmates go to either Elmira, Auburn, or Attica.

Southport Information Thread:

Here is more information on SHU...

...If you do misbehave, prison officials will slap you with time in the "box" or the "hole"— a "special housing unit" (SHU) set apart from the general inmate population. On any given day, close to 4000 of the state's 71,000 prisoners are doing time in special housing units at facilities across New York. They can be in there for a few weeks or many months. Or they could be looking at 17 years, as Luis Agosto was after he slammed a lieutenant in the head with a baseball bat during a 1997 riot at Mohawk Correctional Facility.

As the state's SHU population has grown, prison officials have run out of places to house these inmates. To solve this dilemma, the state converted one of its maximum-security prisons, Southport Correctional Facility, into a supermax in 1991. Putting hundreds of troublesome inmates together in one prison helps keep the peace at other state facilities. "It's a major management tool," says Flateau. But a few months after Southport's transformation, angry inmates staged a riot to protest conditions, taking three guards hostage for 26 1/2 hours.

Southport is still a supermax, but the demand for places to send rebellious prisoners persists. So over the last year, prison officials have added 100 SHU cells to eight prisons around the state, and have begun housing two men in each. The rest of the solution lies with Upstate. There, officials insist, the problems will be manageable. "When you get large groups of inmates— that's when you have problems," says Thomas Ricks, Upstate's superintendent. "But here there's never going to be any large groups of inmates. They're not as likely to get in trouble because they're only dealing with their cell mate."

If you get sentenced to at least 75 days in the box, you could find yourself on a bus headed to Upstate. The only way you can avoid this fate is if prison officials decide you are mentally ill or a "known homosexual." (In the state prison system, sex is banned and a sort of "don't ask, don't tell" policy prevails; you are a "known homosexual" if you get caught having sex or if you tell someone you're gay.)

At Upstate, your new home will be a 105-square-foot rectangular room. It'll be bigger than any other state prison cell you've lived in. But it's still no larger than the bathrooms in many Manhattan apartments. Step in and spread your arms, and your fingers will touch both your bunk bed and the wall. But don't even think about rearranging the furniture. The sink, toilet, desk, chair, mirror, and bunk bed are already bolted to the cell's five-inch-thick walls.

Prison officials say they will try to find you a compatible cell mate. If you smoke, you should wind up with a smoker. If you're small, you're not supposed to get a roommate who can easily overpower you. Most likely, you'll share a cell with someone who is the same race. You may spend your days obsessing about whether he has tuberculosis or HIV. And if prison officials don't do a good job matching cell mates, you could be assaulted or raped or killed.

At first, it might not be so bad living with a roommate. He may help you battle the boredom, and he could stop you from becoming suicidal. But it won't be long before sharing a cell all day every day becomes unbearable. You'll be able to tell what your cell mate has eaten for breakfast by the stench of his feces. And soon, you will feel like you are living inside his skin.

When you arrive at Upstate, the guards will confiscate most of your possessions— snacks, razors, radio, photographs. All you'll have to entertain you are a pen, paper, and your cell mate. You won't be trading gossip in the mess hall, napping through ESL classes, or playing ball in the rec yard. In fact, you won't be leaving your cell at all. Food trays arrive through a slot in the door, and there's a shower in the corner that's carefully regulated to spew lukewarm water three times a week.

You will almost never see the prison's 370 guards. Nor will you see much of the 300 "cadre" inmates, who keep the facility running, mopping the halls and doing laundry. To stay plugged in to the prison's gossip mill, you may try to chat with your neighbor on the "telephone"— by plunging all the water out of your toilet and shouting down the pipe. But if you're losing your mind, or if your cell mate turns out to be a "booty bandit" (rapist), you better pray the guard who is supposed to check on you every half-hour intervenes. Good luck trying to get help from the outside world— from a journalist or an attorney with Prisoners' Legal Services (PLS). Prison officials don't let reporters interview inmates in the box, and Governor George Pataki shut down PLS last year by decimating its budget.

A guard in a central tower will control your access to the outside world. Each day, the officer will unlock your back door by flipping a switch in the control room. Now is your time for "recreation"— a privilege that the courts have said you must get. At Upstate, "rec time" means 60 minutes by yourself in the outdoor cage attached to the rear of your cell. It's about half the size of your cell, just big enough to do jumping jacks. You could try to wrap your fingers around the steel-mesh fence and do a few pull-ups. But you can't lift barbells, toss horseshoes, or shoot hoops. The cage is empty. Of course, even if you had a basketball, there's barely enough room to dribble more than a couple of steps.

Looking out from your own personal rec area— what one of the prison's architects describes as a "caged balcony" and some guards call a "kennel"— you'll see other cages and a dirt yard empty except for a row of surveillance cameras mounted on poles. Officers watch your every move, and if you don't come in from recess, they'll come get you.

But if you do follow the rules and don't irk the guards, you'll regain a few privileges after 30 days. You'll be able to buy candy from the prison store, though you won't actually be able to go there and pick it out. And you'll get back your own underwear, so you can ditch that state-issued pair. Stay clean and you will eventually escape this prison-within-a-prison. You'll be shipped to another facility to finish off your sentence or sent straight back to the streets.
If you have any additional information, you can PM Mrs G.- and it will be added accordingly


The box, the hole, segregation. Its official name is "special housing." It is the "jail within the jail," the area of the prison set aside for assaultive inmates and chronic troublemakers. Eight years ago, the then-growing Department of Correctional Services converted an entire prison into a special housing unit. Southport, on New York's southern tier, was selected as the first prison in the history of the Department to be earmarked exclusively for disciplinary functions.

There were transition problems, and in May, 1991 inmates rebelled and look hostages. When order was restored 27 hours later, facility and Department management made a thorough review of operations and soon implemented a series ofchanges in staffing and routines. The result was an institution that performs its new role quite well, and a facility that has avoided subsequent difficulties. It has, in some respects, become the role model for future maximum-security expansion.

Opening and general confinement period

Southport is one of the newest of New York's 71 facilities. Opened in 1988, it was built to accommodate the rising number of prisoners requiring maximum-security placement. The relentless increase began in the early 1970's, soon after the 1971 riot at Attica. It can be attributed largely to the coming of age of the baby-boomers born after World War II, as well as the 1973 Rockefeller Drug Laws and other laws enacted at the same time that mandated longer sentences for repeat felony offenders. The prison census in New York rose fiom about 12,500 in 1972 to 45,000 in 1988. In those 16 years, 37 new prisons were added to the system.

With the census still growing daily, another institution was in order. The state acquired 324 scenic acres of unused property, with a small mountain on the southern border and Seeley Creek to the north. The plot is located in the bucolic community of Pine City in the town of Southport, four miles southwest of Elmira. Though it would be enclosed by a fence rather than the foreboding stone walls of earlier times, the new facility would be designated maximum-security.

That designation alone made Southport unusual among New York's expansion-era prisons. Almost all the new institutions had been designed as medium- or minimum-security a development owing to economics (higher security means higher construction and operating costs) and a post-Attica mind set favoring more relaxed settings thought to be conducive to prisoner rehabilitation.

Only four of the other 36 new institutions built during the prison construction boom (Downstate, Shawangunk, Sullivan and Wende) were classified as maximum-security facilities. In order to accommodate the state's fiscal constraints, the Department reluctantly changed its policies and allowed placement of inmates in medium-security prisons who had previously been confined to maximum-security, thereby substantially reducing the cost of new construction.

Southport, however, responded to the urgent need for additional cell housing. It took its first inmates on October 11,1988, and quickly reached its capacity of 504 (not counting 10 infirmary beds and 32 Special Housing Unit cells). By this time, though, 504 beds were deemed insufficient, and construction of a third three-story, 252-cell housing block was in process. The third block opened the following June, bringing Southport's capacity to 756. The new institution functioned as a general confinement facility, offering its inmates work, school, alcohol and substance abuse treatment and volunteer-led programs.

Just over a year and a half later, Southport's routine was disrupted. On June 26, 1990, approximately 250 inmates, grouped along racial and religious lines, began fighting with makeshift weapons in the yard. Four warning shots were fired to restore order. Nineteen employees and eight inmates required treatment for injuries sustained during the incident.

Discipline: From the Dungeon to Special Housing Units

The first responsibility of a correctional facility is security, meaning the maintenance of court-ordered custody and the health and safety of inmates, staff and visitors. A necessary ingredient of security is discipline. Discipline in New York's prisons today features a high level of due process. Its imposition and administration is governed from outside by statute and case law, and from inside by strict Department rules and regulations. It is overseen and monitored on a Department-wide level. A high degree of training is provided to facility administrators, supervisors and line staff to ensure compliance with official standards.

This was not always the case.

Throughout much of the 19th Century, "keepers" as they were called relied on corporal punishments employing methods like the whip and cat o' nine tails--to enforce good behavior and conformity to the rules. Determination of guilt and punishment was arbitrary and capricious, depending on the whim of the prison official.

For instance, "Captain" Elam Lynds, the legendary warden and principal keeper at Auburn and Sing Sing, once ordered an Officer to administer a punishment for talking. When the Officer replied that he could not identify the offending inmate, Lynds told him to "take out 15, 20 or 25 and flog them all, and you will be sure to get the right one."

But over the years, public indignation gradually made inroads on the freedom of prison officials. In the 1840's, whipping was outlawed. Not surprisingly, prison wardens had no difficulty coming up with replacements not specifically prohibited. Those newfangled methods of the era included the ice water shower bath and a stretching device called the pulley. As abuses were publicized, new restrictions followed.

Writing in 1890, Warden Isaiah Fuller of Clinton complained that "in many cases," the prison physician-whose approval was now required would not allow the use of the pulley. Thus, the only remaining punishments were loss of good time and the "dungeon... fashionably called 'solitary confinement,"' neither of which, in Warden Fuller's view, was a satisfactory deterrent.

Solitary confinement in dark, airless, basement cells was soon abolished. For most of this century, the punishment cells in New York state's prisons have been ordinary cells on standard galleries. Since inmates confined there have no difficulty communicating with each other, the term "solitary" became a misleading anachronism.

The media still insists on using it, though, expanding it to refer to any inmate in a single cell -- maybe that's because terms such as "special housing" would require explanation and expend extra ink (much like their widespread use of the shorter but inaccurate term "guard" instead of the correct Correction Officer), or, perhaps, it's because "solitary" conjures up the image of a Jimmy Cagney movie sought by reporters, most of whom who have never entered a prison.

By the start of the 20th Century, all corporal punishments had been officially outlawed. Discipline, however, was still local, arbitrary and capricious. Time in solitary was for as long as the warden or principal keeper decreed it often depended on the prisoner's attitude when he was brought out and asked if he had learned his lesson.

More and more, disciplinary procedures were formalized. Correctional facilities in New York developed in-house'courts," actually administrative hearings, to hear evidence and rule on written reports of inmates' infractions of written rules.

In the early 1970's, the application of due process to internal prison operations took another step. Chapters V and VI of the Department's rules and regulations were issued, governing discipline and punishment. A two-tier disciplinary process was instituted, with an inmate appearing before either an adjustment committee or a superintendent's proceeding depending on the seriousness of the offense. (A three-tier system has since replaced it.) The disciplinary segregation cells were renamed special housing, denoting the fact that general confinement inmates woud not be house there.

The Conversion of Southport to Special Housing

Special housing units were maintained in all maximum- and most medium-security facilities. As the inmate population of the Department increased, however, special housing capacity failed to keep pace. Wyoming, for example, was originally constructed as a 750-bed medium-security prison with a 32-cell Special Housing Unit (SHU). While its general confinement capacity would eventually reach 1,644 under the administration of Governor Mario M. Cuomo, no SHU cells were added.

The lack of special housing capacity created management problems. Inmates were prematurely released back to general population to make room for more recent offenders, undercutting the effectiveness of the disciplinary sanction. Inmates who might have been sentenced to terms in special housing were keeplocked (confined in their own cells). That created disruptive effects on the cellblocks. Officers who otherwise would have been assigned elsewhere were kept on the blocks to look after keeplocked inmates.

The situation was worse for officials at medium-security prisons, who had no place to confine inmates - except in their cubicles once the SHU was filled. That oftentimes meant the overflow of inmates being disciplined at medium-security faciltles wound up being transferred to maximum-security prisons. When the max prison's SHU became full, it began keep-locking inmates in general confinement cells. That slowed the intake of maximum-security-bound offenders from county jails, creating a domino effect in the criminal justice system.

In January, 1990, at a statewide labor-management meeting, Council 82--the union then representing the state's correction officers--claimed that "there is not enough space in Special Housing Units, and because of this, it is affecting Tier hearings and the length of time inmates are in SHU." A committee of high-level officials from DOCS and Council 82 was formed to consider the establishment of a "no frills" prison to be used exclusively for special housing.

Simultaneously, New York state faced a budget shortfall. Conversion of an entire prison to special housing, without traditional programs and inmate movement to oversee, would enable salary savings. A plan for conversion of Southport was proposed by the Governor and approved by the Legislature.

Southport was selected because of its unique layout. The facility consisted of three distinct and relatively compact 252-cell housing blocks with enclosed, secure corridors that connected the housing blocks and other buildings. Each block had its own recreation yard, a characteristic that would facilitate moving special housing inmates to the yards for their mandatory one-hour daily exercise periods. Two full blocks, half the third, and the preexisting 32-cell SHU--a total of 662 cells--would be reserved for inmates serving SHU sentences. The remaining half block of 126 cells would be occupied by cadre inmates to perform kitchen and maintenance duties.

The state's severe fiscal crisis dictated a rapid conversion of Southport. Enclosed exercise units of chain-link fence spot welded to tubular steel frames holding up to four inmates at a time were placed in the yards. Hatches were placed on the cell doors. Intensive staff training in the operation ofa special housing unit was conducted. Areas were designated for property storage, since special housing unit deprivations include strict limits on what property inmates may keep in their cells.

Most critically, staff cuts were identified. Southport would lose 42 Officer positions and 45 civilian teachers, vocational instructors and counselors. Plans were made for the departure of nearly 800 general confinement inmales to other facilities throughout the state.

The first SHU inmates arrived from other facilities on January 11, 1991. An average 165 inmates a month would be transferred in through May, when the conversion was completed.

Assaults on staff and other inmates skyrocketed immediately. The Disciplinary Office was processing over 100 misbehavior reports a week. Hearing officers had to be called in from other facilities to help with the backlog.

The 1991 Riot

Almost immediately after completion of the conversion to special housing, inmates broke out of the exercise units and took hostages. With the fence unraveled, the inmates overpowered an Officer and took him hostage. They used his keys to open other units. Four more Officers were assaulted and taken hostage. Two Officers sustained puncture wound injuries; one was released quickly when inmates became concerned about his condition. With the remaining four hostages, 53 inmates, many hooded and disguised, controlled the A-Block recreation yard and the enclosed staircase leading to the roof at the end of the block.

Late on the morning of May 29, an agreement was reached to allow three inmates to tape a statement with a news crew, which by agreement was not allowed to leave the prison until the hostages were released. The hostages were released and the inmates returned to their cells by 3 p.m.

Nineteen inmates were indicted for their actions during the riot. Eighteen were convicted and received additional sentences.

Southport Today

After the riot, changes were made at Southport. Two counselors and 30 Officer positions were added. Procedures were tightened for escorting inmates to and from the exercise units. The outdoor exercise units were converted to single use and reinforced with heavier steel.

The most significant change was the development of a Progressive Inmate Movement System. PIMS is a three-stage classification system, by which inmates' conditions of confinement are determined by their behavior in the facility.

New arrivals are assigned to Level I, with minimal privileges.

With good behavior, an inmate may be promoted to Level II. At Level II, the inmate may have his restraints removed in the exercise units and in the visiting room and can enroll in a cell study program. Inmates can also use the facility radio system earphones, have matches in the cell and make a monthly commissary buy.

With Continued good behavior, an inmate can progress to Level III. At that level, the inmate can make one collect telephone call a month, wear personally-owned sneakers and shorts, purchase candy from the commissary, take three showers a week and be escorted to and from exercise with fewer restraints.

Adjustment and behavior are reviewed by a Disciplinary Review Committee at about the midpoint between arrival and expected date of release from SHU. Level I and II inmates are eligible to have their remaining SHU sentence cut by up to one-half, and Level III inmates by two-thirds.

PIMS has proved greatly effective in managing the population of a large SHU. It is now employed in the maximum-security S-Blocks recently constructed at nine medium- security facilities.

When it opened in 1988, Southport had 504 cells. The construction of another cell block soon increased the capacity to 756. Since then, the former vocational building has been converted to housing, with double-bunked cells for cadre inmates. Southport now holds over 780 SHU inmates and 150 cadre inmates.

Southports's population of 938 inmates is supervised by 303 security staff, supplemented by 114 professional and support staff. With a unique schedule of exercise, showers, special appointments and legal visits, the entire workforce has come together to ensure that all services are provided to the population as required by Department and local procedures.

Security, medical, counseling, educational and religious staff have together established a system of cooperation and priority recognition shared by everyone. That helps make daily operations precise and eliminates surprises from the daily routine. A high level of interdisciplinary cooperation and exchange of information enables all staff to know what others are doing in the carrying out of all activities.

Southport conducts regular Quality Management Team meetings where staff members share concerns and recommendations. This process fosters communication among staff and continues to serve the cooperative spirit that now characterizes the facility.

The concept of an entire facility operating as a special housing unit was dictated by immediate statewide needs. Through experimentation, Southport's 417-member workforce developed effective systems and routines. They thus demonstrated that the concept was workable, allowing many of its concepts to be transferred to both the S-blocks and the new Upstate Correctional Facility.
I no longer work for PTO and do not have updated information to share
please go to the NY Forum for help from current staff and members!
Good Luck to you!

Last edited by Manzanita; 04-23-2005 at 09:07 AM..
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