View Full Version : Mohawk Correctional Facility


Manzanita
10-14-2004, 04:55 PM
Mohawk CF
PO Box 8450
6100 School Road
Rome, NY 13440

Inmate Mail: PO Box 8451, Rome

PH #: (315)339-5232

Medium/Male

Visit hours: Saturday/Sunday, holidays only - no weekday visits 8:30am - 3:00pm

Update Nov. 2011 THAMK YOU BFAV4EVER!

I just went to visit my fiance at Mohawk correctional Facility ... thought I'd leave some updated information.

The visit processing center is very easy to find and lots of close parking. When you enter its usually rather crowded even by 7:30 am.

There is a very nice lady who processes all visitors, she is in the back of the room by the lockers. Fill out the normal paperwork, including your package slip and commissary envelope.

The visitor slip there, perhaps its the same other places, asks if YOU are bringing any meds, its at the bottom of the page, I missed it so I wanted to point it out for everyone.

The packages are inspected before you go to the visiting room, that usually starts around 8:20 or so. They'll call you in order, by your LO name. They'll go through and give you back anything that isn't allowed. Pretty quick process actually.

Then a few minutes later they call you back to the same window and you can proceed onto the visit lobby and room.

The metal detector today was VERY sensitive, I don't normally have a problem but today my glasses kept setting it off. No problem with bra though (its a cheapo one from Wal Mart).

The Visit room is HUGE, and when it gets full they ask for volunteers first to end their visit and then terminate based on when you came in. I didn't have a problem. The tables are numbered so they are easy to find.

Usual vending machine fair ... prices were a little higher than other places, coffee was $1.00, bottled soda/water are $1.50, bags of chips and candy $1.00, food items ranged from $1.00 - $7.00 (sandwiches, hamburgers, hot dogs, french bread pizza, wings, cup o soup and cereal).

The machines do empty out pretty quickly but they were refilled at about 11ish, at this time you can not go to the machines. My advise is to watch for when they are done and get up there quick!!!

It was nice because your LO can go to the machines with you, they just have to stand behind the yellow line.

CO's were pretty decent, kissing, hugging, cuddling was tolerated.

The room was CHILLY, wear or bring a sweater or your coat, I was an ice cube when I left!

Picture machine was broken when I was there.

Lots of high chairs for small children, they even have special tables set aside near the kids area. I did not check to see what was over there.

Getting out was pretty quick and easy, I did not stay till the end of visiting hours as my fiance knew that the package room closes at 4 and if he didn't get his package by then he wouldn't have it till Monday. But I was there with him from about 9 am till almost 3 pm, it was very nice.

Hope this information is helpful! Best of luck to everyone!:thumbsup:

Older Info--(read everything to get the best info!)

Visiting rules: sandles and sleeveless shirts ok; no short shirts where belly shows; no see-thru tops; can bring outerwear - visiting room is sometimes chilly or for if you are going outside; packages are left in processing area prior to entering visit at window where you are processed in to visit - they call inmate's # and if you are leaving a package it's done at that time

Visiting Room: one gigantic visiting room - there is outside visiting but you must request "outside visit" at the initial stop where you are processed in, not once you arrive in the actual visiting room, also, if weather turns bad (i.e., it rains) while you are on outside visiting, visit is terminated - will not be able to get a table inside; assigned seating - once arrive in visiting room, go to desk in front on left as entering the visiting room and he/she will tell you table # to sit at, inmate must sit in seat facing front CO desk; vending machines located on wall in the gigantic room, inmate can go to machines but has to stay behind yellow line -- contains the usual visiting room type of food, not too expensive but definitely more than what you'd pay on the street -- the vendor will come to fill up the machines about 1:00ish at which point no one can utilize the machines until he's finished, 2 or 3 microwaves available; pictures are $1.75 - postal looking machine near CO desk in front of room, only takes quarters, allowed 5 max and all must be taken at once; leave money ($50 max, no coins and they won't give change back) whenever they announce it - you line up and go in little room off visiting room - you tell them the table # you are sitting at and they pull the sheet to get the info; children's corner towards back of room w/tv, videos, games

Lodging: Quality Inn, St James Street, Rome NY (near 24 hr Denny's) - pricey -- $100/night in season (spring/summer months), $75/night off season (fall/winter); also Utica is about 15 miles away -- quite a few hotels there; Syracuse is about 30 - 35 miles away.---

The Super 8 is situated off Exit 35 of the Thruway - when you get off the thruway, go around the traffic circle and get onto 298. Then make an immediate left once you're on 298 onto Old Collamer Road. The whole street ( Old Collamer Road ) is nothing but hotels. Microtel, Fairfield Inn, etc. The Fairfield Inn was not half as nice as the Super 8 and they were twice as expensive. And if you join the Trip Rewards Club when you make your reservations online, you earn points towards free stays. I had a couple of those this year too. It's about 1/2 hour from Mohawk.

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Not too far from Oneida and Mohawk in lovely, downtown Rome there is a Quality Inn. I haven't stayed there since the winter but the last time it was something like 75 bux a nite? It goes up to 100 bux in the summer season -- they have an outdoor pool and I think it's kind of a vacation area for some folks, thus the increase in price. It was okay, older so the carpet is worn in some spots and the bathroom has old fashioned fixtures, water spots where the water has dripped down. Like I said, it's okay but I think a little overpriced. Best Western in Utica which was a little nicer for the same amount of bux. But it was 15 miles away as opposed to something like 3 miles? Which if you are cabbing it, that makes a difference. There is a Denny's right next to the Quality Inn and also in the shopping center there is a supermarket (TOPS) (trescheek)



FRP: NO

# of inmates: ?

General Info: Visiting is always more crowded in summer months/holidays and Saturdays as opposed to Sundays - termination of visits due to overcrowding happens alot when it's nice weather; not allowed to enter facility until exactly 8:30am (if riding a bus, Mohawk is next to last stop, so can be waiting outside for at least an hour before getting into visit processing room) - there is a community person that gives out initial paperwork to fill out - you return to her when done and she gives to COs - it's done based on the order you come in the facility - there is usually a line from those who rode the bus and there is a # in the corner of the form she gives you - that's the order you are called to be processed in/leave package; there is continental style breakfast in the processing area - they ask that you leave a donation if you partake of the offerings; bathroom to freshen up is small/crowded - suggest doing it prior to arriving at facility if you can; Mohawk is basically next door to Oneida - there is also a hospital on the grounds, which is separate but for visits everyone is processed thru the same area - visitors to the hospital ride a bus/van to get to that part of the facility; if you're into gambling - casino is on Route 365 about 9 miles from the facility (Turning Stone, I think is the name); if buying cigarettes to leave in a package, don't purchase from gas station near casino - owned by casino/Indian reservation so no NYS stamp on them and facility won't accept them; there is a decent shopping center near Quality Inn hotel in "downtown" Rome - Eckerds, JC Penney's, TOPS supermarket, Wendy's, Dollar Store, Staples; Prison Gap, Manny's Transportation, Gritts, Flamboyant are bus companies that go to Mohawk - it's about a 4 hour drive from NYC.

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Mohawk
In October, 1999, Mohawk celebrated its 10th anniversary. This relatively new prison is actually one-half of a sprawling complex on about 150 acres in the city of Rome. The entire complex is surrounded by double chain-link fencing topped by razor ribbon wire. Another length of fencing runs east-west along the midpoint, dividing the complex into two separately-administered institutions. The northern half comprises Oneida; the southern half is Mohawk.

Together, the two prisons house about 2,600 adult males serving state prison terms. Both prisons are designated as medium-security facilities, but Mohawk includes a section set off by still another ring of fencing. This section, the maximum-security Walsh Regional Medical Unit, provides treatment to inmates transferred from other DOCS facilities in the central and western portions of the state.

From Poorhouse to Prison

Except for the fencing, the Mohawk-Oneida campus does not look like a prison. Like many of New York's 69 correctional facilities, it originally served other purposes. For nearly a century, this huge institution, a throwback to another era, housed mentally retarded persons. But in 1988, New York state began to dismantle the Rome Developmental Center. The older half of the campus was converted to correctional use and named Oneida. The following year, when the remaining developmental center residents had been removed to smaller, community-care programs, the other and mostly newer half of the campus was also converted as the separate Mohawk facility.

The use of the site for public institutional purposes dates back to 1825, when Oneida County built its poorhouse Just the year before, New York's Legislature had decreed that each county in the state must maintain one of these structures. The poorhouse is long since extinct, but in the early 19th Century, it was the entirety of the public social welfare system. The poorhouse did not simply provide shelter for the indigent; it was a catchall for society's dependents and unfortunates. In addition to homeless paupers, it held petty criminals, the physically handicapped, epileptics, the insane and the mentally retarded.

Over time, these conditions were recognized as separate problems meriting separate treatment. The first beneficiaries of special notice were the insane. Construction of the Utica State Lunatic Asylum began in 1837. Soon there were also special institutions for the blind and for deaf mutes.

The state's first institution for the 'feebleminded," or retarded, was established in Albany in the early 1850's. The Asylum for Idiots, as it was called, was devoted to a newly conceived program of special training and education. Relocated to Syracuse in 1854, the asylum demonstrated that it was possible to provide the retarded with living skills. Many were "mainstreamed" and returned to their home communities as functioning members of society.

As the fame of the institution spread, however, admissions increased. Overcrowded and underfunded, the Syracuse asylum could no longer provide the intensive, individual training that had brought early successes. Another hurdle to quality care was the changing public attitude toward the retarded. "Feeble-mindedness" was linked to crime. Since feeblemindedness was considered hereditary, social scientists argued that crime and poverty could be eliminated if the feebleminded were controlled in institutions. Custody, in prison-like settings, replaced the goal of integration into the community.

In 1893, New York state purchased the former Oneida County Poorhouse and converted it into the Rome Custodial Asylum for Unteachable Idiots, with locked doors and iron gates, designed for the non-educable retarded. ("Idiot" was a technical term in those days, denoting the most severely retarded. It soon fell into disfavor as pejorative, and the facility was renamed the Rome State School in 1919.) Rome was the first state institution of this type, and served the entire state until similar institutions were established at other locations.

Rome developed the "colony" system that would become popular throughout the United States and Europe. Each colony operated as an off-campus branch of the parent institution and was a self-contained community. The colony was a kind of halfway house, whose residents would often be capable of parole back to their home communities.

Many of the colonies specialized. Rome had farm colonies, industrial colonies for girls who worked in local mills during the day, a domestic colony whose female residents worked in private homes as domestics. It also had one domestic colony in Hamilton which was reserved for black women, a reforestation colony in the Adirondacks where boys and young men planted trees for the state, junior colonies for young children and a summer vacation colony on Oneida Lake.

Despite opposition from labor groups who feared economic competition from the retarded, and from genetics advocates who still thought the retarded should be locked up so as not to pollute the gene pool, Rome State School operated 60 separate colonies by the 1940's, housing 1,000 individuals or about a quarter of the facility's census.

The colony system began to decline during World War II. Admissions tended to be more severely retarded, reducing the pool of residents suitable for colony treatment. Personnel were called to military service, and shortages of gasoline and tires made it expensive to operate distant colonies. The closing of the colonies worsened overcrowding at the main institution, and in 1960 the census exceeded 5,000. Additional buildings were constructed and the institution expanded.

Beginning in about 1960, however, a general dissatisfaction with huge institutions of all types spurred the state Department of Mental Hygiene to develop community care options. Over the next three decades, Rome State School's census gradually declined. Meanwhile, thanks to the coming of age of the baby boomers and the 1973 Rockefeller Drug Laws, the prison population was exploding. DOCS added to its housing capacity by acquiring facilities formerly used in outmoded programs: tuberculosis hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, drug addiction rehabilitation centers and mental retardation facilities. Half of Rome was converted to Oneida in January, 1988. The other half Mohawk, received its first inmates in October of 1989.

A walk through time

When Rome State School opened in 1894, it occupied the northern part of the campus. To accommodate increasing admissions, it expanded slowly southward, and one can trace the history of the institution by starting at Oneida's administration building and walking back to the water towers at the south end.

The walk reveals a century's worth of institutional architecture.

The Oneida administration building is of Queen Anne architecture. Moving south, one finds beautifully detailed Gothic Revival structures. At the mid-point of the campus is the 1899 power house. Further south, in what is now Mohawk, are dormitories built in the 1930's, where thousands of retarded patients were once shoehorned. Mohawk's guidance, education, and gymnasium building, another dorm, and the Walsh Regional Medical Unit (RMU) reflect the architectural ideas of the 1960's.

In 1990, several cookie-cutter-style structures were added, including the administration building, the visiting room and visitors' waiting center, a new education building, the laundry/commissary and the food service building. At the extreme southern end, the 1898 medieval-looking water tower and the new 1990 water tower stand nearly side by side, symbolizing the coexistence of the old and new.

Except for the 48-cell Special Housing Unit and the Walsh RMU, all of Mohawk's inmates sleep in dormitories. In contrast to the older Oneida, which features numerous multi-story structures, Mohawk consists almost entirely of one- story buildings. The sole exception is Building 22, built in 1930. This three-story building, housing 330 inmates, is shaped like an 'X" and is sometimes called "X-Building." Inmates also refer to it as "the projects," owing to its resemblance to public housing from the middle part of the century.

Mohawk's population today is approximately 1,400. The facility has the standard academic programs leading to high school equivalency, serving 600 inmates. Another 110 inmates are enrolled in the seven vocational education shops. The facility's Alcohol and Substance Abuse Treatment (ASAT) program serves 130 inmates. Another 25 inmates are programmed in the pre-release program. Counseling programs include Anger and Violence, Crime Victims and Parenting.

Volunteers help Mohawk fulfill its mission to society, both inside the fence and outside. Citizens from the outside community as well as staff on their own time bring a variety of special programs such as AA, NA, HIV/AIDS education, religious instruction, social and cultural awareness and other seminars and workshops. And outside the fence, a team of volunteer Correction Officers give their time to the community, especially its youth.

Mohawk's Corrections Crime Prevention Team (CCPT) offers services in four areas. CCPT provides child ID services by photographing, fingerprinting, videotaping children and taking hair samples for use in locating lost, abducted and runaway children. The team operates an educational and community outreach program, providing speakers to schools, churches, and other community organizations. In the Personal Encounter Program, team members, sometimes assisted by inmates, deal one-on-one with children referred by family or the courts in an effort to counter behavior which may lead to incarceration. Inmates sometimes also assist CCPT members in making presentations on the consequences of DWI.

Walsh Regional Medical Unit

Each of the two facilities sharing this campus has its own distinctive feature. Oneida has the Department's Food Production Center; and Mohawk has the Walsh RMU.

Walsh serves inmates from all male facilities in the Oneida, Auburn, Riverview and Elmira hubs. Because it treats inmates of all security levels, Walsh is a maximum-security island, fenced off with its own sallyport, in the middle of the sprawling Mohawk campus.

Walsh was the first of five regional medical units inaugurated by DOCS. Responding to the rising numbers of HIV- and AIDS-infected inmates, Walsh opened as a 60-bed skilled nursing unit, admitting its first patients in March, 1991. By June of 1997, construction and rehabilitation were completed. Walsh now has 112 beds for chronic, sub-acute and long-term patients who warrant 24-hour skilled nursing care.

In addition to a variety of medical and nursing services, Walsh provides its patients with mental health services, dental care, dietary services, occupational therapy, physical therapy, guidance and counseling, academic education, recreation, ministerial services and a library. It is, in short, an institution within an institution.

In 1994, the RMU added outpatient services. The Ambulatory Services Unit offers 14 clinical specialties including dermatology, orthopedics, ophthalmology and cardiology.

The RMU, which is separately accredited by the American Correctional Association, was named after Neil Walsh, a former director of Rome Developmental Center and the first non-physician to head an Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities facility.

The Department opened its second regional medical unit at Coxsackie Correctional Facility in 1996. In the last year, units have opened at Wende and Bedford Hills Correctional Facilities. The fifth and final unit, at Fishkill Correctional Facility, is projected to open early in 2000.

A Night of Unrest

On the afternoon of Thursday, July 17, 1997, a Mohawk inmate was found hanging in his cell in the facility's Special Housing Unit. He left a suicide note, and the county coroner later confirmed the death as a suicide.

Other SHU inmates, however, believed otherwise, and shouted to passers by that an inmate had been murdered. The rumor spread rapidly.

The facility executive team traveled throughout the institution that evening to provide the population with accurate information, but their efforts were undermined by the loss of telephone service caused by a severe thunderstorm just one hour after the suicide. Suspicious inmates were convinced that their phones had been cut off to prevent them from reporting the death to the outside world. Phone service was restored over-night and facility operations were normal the next day, but inmates were still talking about the death.

After dinner on Friday evening, as inmates were preparing to go to night recreation, an inmate was asked to produce his ID. The inmate argued with the Correction Officer, then began throwing punches and waving a pen with a razor blade. The inmate faded into the crowd, but something had snapped.

Inmates entered the west recreation yard and assaulted several Officers with weapons including baseball bats, free weights and weight bars. When Officers surrounded the west yard, inmates began streaming toward the east yard, some 300-400 yards away. They barricaded themselves inside with a picnic table. Instead of attempting to enter the yard, Officers handcuffed the gate closed from the outside.

Approximately 23 minutes later, New York State Police arrived and lent assistance in perimeter control. That freed Officers to help contain the 309 inmates in the yard and look after other areas of the facility. Crisis Intervention Unit (CIU) teams, Correctional Emergency Response Teams (CERT) and other staff arrived from Oneida, Marcy, Mid-State, Auburn, Elmira, Albany, Attica and Great Meadow.

Commissioner Goord, who had been directing the response while en route from Albany, arrived at 9:30p.m. to take on-site command. Inmates now started demanding to be let out, but were told they would exit on the Department's terms. At 11:21 pm., the inmates laid down their weapons. Beginning at 2:10 on the morning of Saturday, July 19, when sufficient personnel was in place, inmates were allowed to approach the gate in groups of 10 to be videotaped, identified, handcuffed and escorted into Building 54.

Over the next two days, the entire facility was searched and inmates were interviewed. Over 100 inmates identified as participants were transferred to maximum-security cells in other facilities.

Twelve inmates would be indicted for riot, assault, attempted murder and other charges stemming from their activities in the riot. Eleven of the 12 were convicted. One of the convicted inmates received a concurrent sentence, but 10 received consecutive sentences increasing their terms up to life. All were subjected to disciplinary proceedings resulting in sanctions including loss of privileges and confinement in special housing for periods of up to 17 years.

Eleven employees suffered injuries during the riot. Not a single inmate sustained any injury requiring treatment, a testimony to the professionalism and restraint exhibited by staff in the take-back of the facility.

The professionalism, competence and dedication exhibited by staff during the uprising continue to characterize the operation of this central New York facility. In the two and a half years since the incident, Mohawk has functioned securely, safely, humanely and effectively in the fulfillment of its various responsibilities to the inmates and the community..[/font]