Auburn Correctional Facility
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10-08-2004, 10:13 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
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Auburn Correctional Facility
updated 8/4/10 thanks to Miss Val!!!
Auburn Correctional Facility
135 State Street
Auburn, New York 13024-9001
P.O. Box 618, Zip 13021-0618 (updated by Momma Ann 11/3/2010)
Visiting hours are daily, 9:00 AM - 3:30 PM. 7 days a week.
Auburn is a very small city between Syracuse and Rochester. If you are visiting you can visit 5 days a week and either one or the other days on the weekend, based on the weekend visiting schedule. You can bring packages. If driving, take the thruway if by plane, train, or bus you have to go to Syracuse first. From Syracuse, you can catch the Centro which stops right down the street from the facility. (It is also the oldest prison facility in the United States)
Proper ID is required each and every time you visit. Monday thru Friday, maximum number of visitors allowed per Inmate is 6 and on Sat. & Sun. it's 4. This includes children, but does not include infants. There are no exceptions but if family is visiting from out of State, you can write to the Facility for permission to overide the maximum number of visitors. Sometimes, they will allow that but there are no guarantees; doesn't hurt to ask.
Weekend visits are split and alternate each week according to the alphabet, for example if your last name begins with A-L, you can visit on a Saturday, M-Z visits are on a Sunday. The following weekend M-Z visits would be a Saturday, A-L would be a Sunday and so on. Copies of the visiting hours schedule are available in the lobby. There is ample parking across the street behind the gas station and also behind the Hospitality Center.
Hours are -
Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays 9am - 12pm
Saturday and Sunday 7am - 3pm
Wednesdays and Fridays CLOSED
The Hospitality Center is across the street from the facility and is a good place to relax, freshen up and bag your packages while you wait for your visit or to be picked up by the FRP Van. There is a small children's play area, television, couches, chairs, tables, changing rooms, and bathrooms available. It isn't the most welcome place in the world, but it serves its purpose.
Packages are allowed, only 2 food packages per month not to exceed 35 lbs. Please review Directive #4911 in regards to what you can/cannot bring. At Auburn, you are no longer allowed to bring raisins, although it is allowed on the directive. On the weekends, you can go to the Hospitality Center and place your package items in the large paper bags. Clearly mark the bags with the inmate's name and DIN in large letters. Every bag must have a package slip attached and labeled as 1 of 1, 1 of 2, 1 of 3, etc. Because of the large amount of packages being brought in on the weekends, it is wise you staple your bag closed. Non-food items can be brought in anytime and does not count toward the 35 lb. limit.
I recommend the Days Inn located at 37 William Street. It is about a 10 minute walk, or a short taxi ride, from the facility and is run by a very nice family. Kent Patel is the Manager and he is very helpful for prison families and arranging rooms. If you speak to him a couple days before, he can also arrange a room just for early morning if you arrive and just want to shower and change before your visit. Call them at (315) 252-7567.
Other hotels nearby include Super 8 at 19 McMaster Street, phone# (315) 253-8886. I haven't personally stayed there but heard from others that it is basic, clean, and a short walk from the facility.
There is a Holiday Inn right down the block but they only accept reservations 2 nights at a time and are quite expensive. 75 North Street, (888) 400-9714
Prison Web Site: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auburn_Correctional_Facility
FRP available:FRP is available approximately every 45 days. Miss Mims is the FRP Coordinator there. They are scheduled Tue-Thur, Thur-Sat, and Sat-Mon. You are able to have a regular visit after your FRP. Also, as of December 2009, Visiting Room CO's no longer allow people coming from FRP to leave their bags in the lobby. If your bag cannot fit into a locker, you must store it somewhere else if the Hospitality Center is closed.
Number of prisoners: 1800+
General Information: There are various family day functions throughout the year including "Festivals" that can include various blocks of the prison, or be sponsored by the religious or cultural organizations of the Prison. The inmate will have the ticket information available on his commissary sheet and must purchase the tickets. Th attend a Festival you should have had visisted the inmate at least twice in the last year, or once if you are out of state.
I noticed that you posted the information about Auburn. I thought it might be a good idea to let people know that college courses were available to inmates at the prison. The course are taught by Cornell professors and they get local community college credits. The counselors should be able to give info about how to get into the program. (Thanks Meadowlane)
BUS AND VAN SERVICES:
prison gap from 59th and columbus.. They leave at 12 midnight at the stop on friday and sat nights. but be there by 1130pm though to board the bus. Call 718-328-0291
Other van services that service Auburn include Rambo - Tel number removed per request, and Flambouyant (I need to verify #). They will also arrange FRP and wedding visits.
If you are taking the bus, then it will drop you off at the Auburn Hospitality Center which is right across the street from the jail (if you are driving you can park in its parking lot). The vans usually get there around 7am. When you get to the HH, go inside and get a visit slip, and a package slip (if you are bringing packages) fill out the forms, and take them directly across the street and put them in the Visit Box IF IT IS A WEEKEND DAY ( which is really a shoebox sitting on the ledge). If it is during the week, starting at 9am you can go right into the visit room lobby and hand your visiting slip to the CO who will verify your information in the computer. If it is your first visit, you will need to complete the application in addition to the regular visit slip. It is IMPORTANT that the address on your ID matches the address on the visit slip and/or application or they will give you a hard time and may even deny your visit.
On the weekends, you must wait outside of the visiting lobby and wait to be called. The only exception is that during the winter, they will allow those with infants to wait inside. Starting at around 7am, the COs will begin to collect the visit forms from the box and process the forms. At 9am, the CO will call in a small group at a time. Once inside, the verifying CO will call you up to show ID. Then, another CO will call you up again to check and sign for your packages, and have you go through the scanner. A note about processing - bring your change in a small, clear purse. They will give you a hard time if your clothes are too tight, if there is too much space between the bottom of your shirt and your pants, if they can see through your shirt. Make sure your clothing is appropriate. Do not try and sneak lip gloss or gum in your pocket. Even if you left it in there innocently, they may turn your visit away if they suspect it was for other purposes.
Oh, one thing you must remember, WASH YOUR HANDS, go into the HH, and Wash your hands, after you do that don't touch ANYTHING, not your money, not your package, nothing without using a paper towel. Auburn has an ionic scanner the on a "random" basis they will pull you off the visit line, and run you through this scanner, they run it across your hands, your pants pocket (front, and back) and your shoes ( believe it), this thing is no joke, and it picks up anything, so since you don't know where your money has been before it got to your hand, or the bag that you carry your items in, wash your hands. I am strong about that because I have seen people get denied a visit, in one case it was an older woman who they told she had bomb making material on her and denied her visit.
In terms of clothes I usually wear jeans and a tee shirt, nothing to see through, or too tight, most people on the bus with me are wearing regular weekend clothes, sweats, jeans, that kind of thing. They will call you out if your clothes are too tight, and the Wal-Mart is a long ways away to go and get something if they don't accept.
The Food it OKAY. They have items such as chicken wings, ceasar salads, veggie and dip, pizza, steak subs, fish sandwiches, tuna sandwiches, and Burgers range from are $3.00-$4.00 each, then chips, cookies, gum, candy, etc range from 40 cents -$1.25 each; bottled water, soda, juice, Gatorade, Hawaiian Punch is 1.35 - $2.00. There is also ice cream, and hot beverages available. Playing cards (when avaialble) are $2.00. There is a change machine that has been very reliable. Never had an issue with exchanging from $5 - $20 and getting back dollar coins. The food vending machines accepts also $1 and $5 bills only.
The seating is assigned, and it usually takes about 30 minutes for them to come into the visit room, so you can grab a deck a cards from the CO to keep you busy until they come out.
The CO's are pretty nice, some can have attitude, but they come and go, so you don't have any one in particular to worry about.
The bathrooms can use a little help, kinda dirty, but they are okay. It's best to use the bathroom early into the visit. The later in the day it gets, the worse it gets.
The table is a small square table you can sit at a 90 degree angle or across, whichever you prefer. The inmate must sit facing the front CO's desk. All the tables are the same size. Athough, there is a play area for the kids in the back of the main visiting room, there are NO toys and just a few raggedy books. It continues to get worse with every visit so be prepared to have bored children.
Pictures are taken from 1pm-2pm during the week, and 1pm-3pm on weekends. Tokens are $1 each and two tokens are needed for one picture. Tokens must be purchased from the token machine prior to 1pm. Many times the token machine is broken or moody, so its good to have your loved one purchase picture tickets when he goes to commissary. The trick to the token machine is to use $5 bills (5 tokens) or really old $1 bills. It doesn not give change.
It is not as busy during the week as the weekend. If you have the choice to go on the week I would pick that over the weekend.
Packages, 2 per month up to 35lbs. of food. Personal hygiene stuff, yes, check the directive for the proper items you can bring. You can bring books and magazines as well. Books do not have to be brand new or have receipts.
He can send stuff out to you, he needs to take it with him when called down for the visit and process it through the package room. He will have a receipt to give you so you can pick it up on your way out. It will be with the CO's that processed you in.
If you have any additional information, you can PM Momma Ann- and it will be added accordingly
Auburn Correction Facility
After the Revolutionary War, Americans rushed to discard the stocks, the whipping posts, the branding iron and the gallows used to punish lawbreakers under British rule. In place of these remnants of "barbarous tyranny," they built penitentiaries. But they were quickly disenchanted with their new institutions which seemed not to punish and clearly did not "reform" convicts. Serious consideration was given to restoring the bloody punishments of old, and the New World's experiment with humane justice was in jeopardy.
Then, suddenly, there was the Auburn Prison. Almost overnight, Auburn's officials devised a new prison architecture and routines that promised to bring all the benefits one could ask of a penitentiary system. Auburn instituted individual housing in cellblocks, with congregate work in shops during the day. The philosophy of the prison was total domination of the inmate's body, mind and spirit, achieved through a powerful control system robot-like routine and regimentation, absolute silence at all times and swift punishments for violation of the rules.
The world took notice. The influential Boston Prison Discipline Society called Auburn "probably the best prison in the world. . . a model worthy of the world's imitation." Other states and European nations sent delegates (including Alexis de Toequeville and Gustave de Beaumont from France) to study the "Auburn System" of silence for replication in their jurisdictions.
A "rival" system was created in Pennsylvania in the 1820's: new inmates would be taken blindfolded to their cells from which they would never emerge. Some citizens objected to complete isolation as eternal torture. The clincher, though, was the great expense of building and operating a Pennsylvania style prison: cells fit for 24-hour-a-day dwelling had to be large, and little revenue could be expected from the sale of handicrafts made in solitary confinement. The Auburn System triumphed and would dominate American prison construction and management for the next 100 years.
New York's first state prison, Newgate in New York City, opened in 1797 but was overcrowded within five years. When a second prison was authorized, Auburn citizens donated land as an investment in the local economy. The property, on the Owasco River on the outskirts of town, had been used as a camp to hold British prisoners of war during the War of 1812. The cornerstone was laid in June of 1816. Work that summer and fall occupied most of Auburn's carpenters and masons; the first prisoners arrived in April 1817 providing manpower for rapid progress. By 1823, the institution, with its massive wall, housing quarters and workshops was completed.
Establishing the "silent system"
Auburn did not start out as a new kind of prison. Initial construction was on traditional lines with congregate sleeping;. "apartments." It was not until three years later that housing on the cellular model was built, but even then the "system" was not clearly visualized
Two pieces of legislation spurred the development of the Auburn System. Both were provoked by the rag-tag state of discipline at Newgate, which had become as dismal as it infamous London namesake. The threat of solitary confinement on bread and water was insufficient to stop assaults on staff, arson and industrial sabotage. The Legislature believed the convicts were out of control and that prison held no terror for criminals; people actually began to say at this time that crime' were being perpetrated for the deliberate purpose of getting back into prison. It was time to take back the penitentiary.
First, in 1819, flogging of prisoners was authorized (up to 39) lashes in the presence of at least two of the inspectors). Second the Legislature ordered that the most vicious prisoners should be confined permanently, without the diversion of work, in a new wing of solitary cells that reflected the Pennsylvania system.
On Christmas in 1821, 80 men were selected for the new punishment. Reports showed an alarming incidence of death and insanity in the solitary cells. When the cell door of one man was opened, he sprang out and leaped from the fourth floor, surviving only because a stove pipe broke his fall. Another inmate "beat and mangled his head against the walls of his cell," destroying one of his eyes. In the summer of 1823, Governor Yates went to Auburn to investigate for himself, and immediately pardoned most of thn men. As their fates showed, not only was 20 months in solitary injurious to health and sanity, but neither did it have any reformative value. Twelve of the men who were pardoned were soon back with new convictions, including one who committed a burglary in the vicinity of the prison the night after his release. New Yorkers wanted no more to do with the Pennsylvania System of isolation.
However, the new block of individual cells would stay. The Auburn System was off and running and silence was the soul of the system. After visiting Auburn in 1831, Beaumont and Tocqueville reported that, "everything passes in the most profound silence, and nothing is heard in the whole prison but the steps of those who march, or sounds proceeding from the workshops. But when the day is finished, and the prisoners have retired to their cells, the silence within these vast walls, which contain so many prisoners, is that of death. We have often trod at night those monotonous and dumb galleries, where a lamp is always burning; we felt as if we traversed catacombs; there were a thousand living beings, and yet it was a desert solitude."
Without visitors, neither writing nor receiving letters, inmates were "literally buried from the world." Inside, forbidden ever to speak to one another, they were equally cut off from human contact. So unnatural a demand could only be enforced by diligent surveillance. Keepers at night tiptoed shoeless up and down the cellblocks to detect whispers. In the "lockstep" created at Auburn (a shuffling slide step with one hand on the shoulder of the next man), inmates' heads had to be turned toward the keeper so he could see any lip movements. An especially Orwellian feature was a 2,000-foot passageway be- hind the workshops with narrow slits for peepholes, allowing officials to watch for misbehavior among the laboring convicts. The passageway was also a tourist attraction; 6,000 to 8,000 people a year enhanced prison revenues by paying 25 cents admission, with a guidebook available for another 25 cents.
Silence was kept on pain of swift punishment - inmates were flogged for talking, and flogged again for denying it. Nevertheless, the urge to talk was almost irresistible. Convicts transferred from Newgate brought with them a finger alphabet, and were whipped for using it. In 1845, Auburn administered 173 whippings for attempts to communicate.
Why was such obsessive effort, ingenuity, and cruelty devoted to stifling basic human activity? Two reasons: security and reformation. Unspeaking convicts could not plot escapes and insurrections. Their silence gave an advantage to the outnumbered keepers: by communicating with each other and acting as one, the keepers were stronger than the convicts who, "separated from each other by silence," said Beaumont and Tocqueville, "have ... all the weakness of isolation."
Silence also furthered the penitentiary goal of reformation. It prevented the convicts from schooling each other in crime techniques. It also broke their spirits, bringing about a readiness to accept correction. It was designed to force them inward, to reflect on their sins, to repent and resolve ever after to obey the commandments of God.
Auburn introduces profit margin and religion
Congregate labor with effective discipline allowed Auburn to set up factory-style working conditions and become the first prison to achieve a profitable work program. Convict labor was sold to the highest bidder, who took their work products and sold them on the open market.
Over the years, a dazzling assortment of wares came out of Auburn: nails, barrels, clothing, shoes and boots, carpets, buttons, carpenters' tools, steam engines and boilers, combs, harnesses, furniture, brooms, clocks, buckets and pails, saddle trees, wagons and sleighs, threshing equipment, even rifles. At one point in the 1840's, worms and mulberry trees were brought in and the prison entered the silk production business.
Nearly the entire population of the institution was engaged in industrial activity.
Discipline and industry were of first importance but some officials also concerned themselves with the prisoners' welfare. In the 1820's, three local clergymen split the $200 per year stipend and took turns officiating over Sunday services ("without singing," as the guidebook noted; a prison choir emerged in the 1840's). Bothered that the visiting ministers "come and preach as a mere matter of course, and are then gone, and feel no further solicitude" for their prison congregation, Warden Gershom Powers called for the appointment of a resident chaplain. The Legislature did not oblige. In 1825, the Boston Prison Discipline Society sent the Reverend Jared Curtis to serve at Auburn, probably the first full-time prison chaplain in America. New York State did not contribute a penny to his salary.
Around 1822, a School for Juvenile Convicts operated "under the instruction of an intelligent convict." The school was discontinued by Warden Elam Lynds, who did not believe in the reformability of convicts and thought education would only make them "more capable villains." After Lynds left in 1825, taking with him 100 convicts to build Sing Sing Prison, a Sunday School was formed. Powers pointed out that "not one (convict) is known to have been ever a member of a Sunday School." "Scholars" received instruction with Bibles and spelling books from "eight or ten young gentlemen" from the Auburn Theological Seminary in morning and afternoon sessions. Convicts not participating in the Sunday School were locked in their cells after chapel and forced to stand until lights out. Sunday would continue to be the most dreaded day of the week in Auburn and other prisons for at least another 80 years.
Not surprisingly, Auburn had many insane prisoners, who were often flogged as troublemakers or malingerers. Utica State Hospital was built in the 1830's, but was reluctant to accept prisoners from Auburn, who could be dangerous and difficult to hold in custody. The Legislature then authorized a separate institution and the "State Lunatic Asylum for Insane Convicts," the first institution of its kind in the United States, was erected on the prison grounds in 1859. By the 1880's, the Asylum was overcrowded with insane convicts as well as those not convicted by reason of insanity, both male and female. To resolve the problem, Matteawan State Hospital in Beacon was built in 1892, allowing the Auburn Asylum to close. The 250 newly freed beds were used for a women's prison.
Female offenders housed in the attic
When Auburn first opened, it simply put its female prisoners in an attic and left them to their own devices. Once a day, a keeper, assisted by male prisoners, would go to the attic with supplies and rations. Attic windows were sealed the year round creating a dark, stifling and nauseating atmosphere. The women were employed mainly in picking wool, knitting and spooling. "although to very little advantage, as no means of coercion can well be adopted nor any restraint on conversation with each other." Arguing for better quarters, Powers called the female department a "receptacle of wickedness and sin;" at least one convict was impregnated in the attic.
In 1832, Auburn risked the wrath of the Legislature by hiring a matron without an appropriation. They also remodeled the south wing, providing four large apartments in place of thc former single room. Still, said a chaplain, the women's circumstances were "worse than death." English novelist Harriett Martineau reported seeing "stocks, of a terrible description; a chair, with a fastening for the head and all the limbs."
The women left Auburn in l838 when a new female unit opened a Sing Sing. In 1892, however, they returned after the Lunatic Asylum closed. The Auburn Prison for Women would function for 40 years closing in 1933 when a section of Bedford Hills was converted to maximum-security housing.
Auburn installed the world's first electric chair. On August 6, 1890 William Kemmler, convicted for murder committed during a bar room brawl, was the first victim of this new form of execution. His last words, to a guard fumbling with the straps were, "Don't hurry, we got plenty of time." Fifty-four men and women died in Auburn's chair, including the assassin of President McKinley and the murderer who inspired Theodore Dreiser's classic, An American Tragedy. At one time, electrocutions were taking place simultaneously at Auburn, Clinton and Sing Sing, until they were connsolididated at the latter in 1916. The last execution took place there in 1963.
In 1913, Thomas Mott Osborne, who had been mayor of Auburn from 1903 to 1905, was appointed to the newly created State Commission for Prison Reform. To school himself for his new responsibilities, Osborne enetered Auburn Prison for a week as inmate Tom Brown, number 33,333X. By the end of the week, he had developed an idea for inmate self-government. The concept was endorsed by Warden Charles F. Rattigan and Governor William Sulzer and introduced at Auburn in 1914. Osborne's revolutionary idea for prison management would later be adopted at Sing Sing and other American prisons, but eventually died out as prisoners abused their new privileges and authority. In honor of his pioneering efforts to better the lot of prisoners, Auburn's educational facility today is called the Osborne School. A statue of Osborne stands in the lobby of the Department's Training Academy in Albany.
The Auburn System comes to an end
The Auburn System lasted into the 20th Century. Flogging was outlawed in 1847, although gruesome substitute punishments were readily fashioned. In 1894, an amendment to the State Constitution forbid the contract labor system. By the early 1900's, the last remnants of the system - silence, the "zebra" striped inmate uniforms, and the lockstep - would also be gone. Recreation on Sundays was introduced. The character of imprisonment was transformed almost beyond recognition.
No serious insurrections occurred during the heyday of the system but Auburn experienced two major riots in 1929:
In July, four prisoners escaped, but were quickly captured. However, two other inmates were killed in the ensuing unrest, and another was wounded. Two officers were shot, another suffered acid thrown in he his face, a fourth was badly beaten and a fifth was overcome by gas fumes. Three firemen from the Auburn Fire Department also were injured.
A second riot occurred in December. Armed with guns hidden during the July riot, inmates took the warden, six guards and a foreman hostage in the yard. When the principal keeper left his office to confront the inmates, he was shot and killed. Negotiations went on while assistance was sought from the State Police. Eventually, the inmates were told that the prison gates would be opened and that cars were waiting for their use on the street outside. When the doors to the guard room were opened and the group came through, they were gassed and driven back. Shots were fired as the inmates tried to kill the hostages. Eight prisoners were killed and nine people - including two inmates - were wounded. Three convicts were later executed for their roles in the riot.
Following the riots, Auburn underwent extensive reconstruction with the erection of a new laundry and a new industrial complex. New cell blocks were completed in 1941. The building which had served as a lunatic asylum and then as a women's prison was razed in the 1950's to make way for a modern school building.
Today, Auburn is a maximum-security facility housing 1,800 adult male inmates. Auburn offers academic and vocational instruction, drug and alcohol abuse counseling, industrial training with Corcraft and other work programs. It also houses a satellite unit operated by the Department of Mental Health.
In recent years, Auburn replaced the old trailers for the Family Reunion Program with a complex of concrete buildings. A new recreation center is on the grounds as well as a Visitors Hospitality Center staffed by volunteers. Most recently in 1997, a modern addition to the facility hospital was completed.
Industries continues as a valuable training and work program at Auburn. Under the State Use Law, inmates manufacture office and institutional furniture for use by governmental units and not-for-profit organizations.
The production of license plates for the State Department of Motor Vehicles, begun in 1920, is being modernized by the introduction of state-of-the-art technology. It will allow computer-generated designs to be printed, rather than stamped, on sheeting which is then affixed to the plate. The new system permits a much greater variety in custom plate designs. It also electronically interfaces the Auburn plant with the DMV for ordering, shipping and billing operations. The 100 inmates in The Plate Shop generate approximately $9,000,000 per year in revenues to help offset the costs of their incarceration
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 Keltria; 09-14-2014 at 01:31 AM..
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