View Full Version : Livingston Correctional Facility

10-26-2004, 07:48 PM
Livingston Correctional Facility
Route 36, Sonyea Road
Sonyea, New York 14556-0049

(585) 658-3710 (Livingston County)

Inmate Mail:
P.O. Box 1991, Zip 14556

Medium Male

Visitation Hours: They have odd/even visitation days. If his number ends in even then visit on a date that is even as well. This is one of the facilities where you don't have to walk far to go to the visiting center and into the facility.

Visiting: it is a small facility. I would get there early because everytime I visited it was extremely busy. Out of all the facilities he has been in this one had CO's that were the most respective. And the voluteers that work the pre-visiting room were nice. There is only one room to visit in during this season and it is extremely noisy. Bring quarters for machines and pictures. They have an area for children to watch videos but it is not enclosed like some of them are.

when visiting the inmate does not have to sit in assigned chair facing specific direction. They assign where to sit both for indoors and out. You must request out or in when you enter the visitation desk.

Inmate only allowed 3 visitor although they have made exceptions.

Visits may be terminated because of capacity.

Lodging: ?

Prison Web Site:

FRP available: No

Number of prisoners:Opened: 1991, Capacity: 881 male (16+), Adult Correctional Institutions, Employees: 346, Cost of care: $45.85 per day

General Info: They are only able to have 35lbs w month of non-perishable food items. When sending him clothing, everything must be a solid color allowed by 4911 with any logos. You can send him shoes, per 4911. I have called up there several times and my many questions have been answered. For food --canned food, industrial packaged products, anything that is allowed by 4911. Watch for glued or foil seals not allowed (like on pringles or coffee creamer). You can bring packages to the facility as well as mail.

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

A history of treating drug, alcohol abuse

YInmates began arriving at Livingston on January 29, 1991–a scant three weeks after Executive Team members and other staff arrived at this newly-constructed medium-security facility for males. The pace was frenzied as the state’s newest facility labored to meet its initial mission to evaluate inmates and serve as a feeder to other Comprehensive Alcohol and Substance Abuse Treatment (CASAT) facilities. As such, there was a tremendous inmate turnover as staff skillfully evaluated inmates and assigned them program plans. The mission has since changed to one of a general confinement facility. But the commitment to professionalism and hard work remains at this active prison in western New York.

Every inmate arriving at Livingston’s opening was thoroughly screened for CASAT eligibility. While awaiting transfer to such facilities, they attended what amounted to an introduction in alcohol and substance abuse treatment.

Then the inmates deemed eligible for the program were quickly whisked to a CASAT facility. There, they would receive six months of intensive treatment and counseling and would then transition into the community for continued treatment and employment.

Those inmates deemed ineligible for CASAT were transferred to other medium-security facilities across the state. That freed up space for more potential CASAT participants to undergo screening, and the doors continued to revolve quickly.

Livingston has seen a lot over the years before becoming the medium-security facility it is today, with its current focus shifting away from Alcohol and Substance Abuse Treatment (ASAT) programming.

For a while, Livingston gave up its role as a CASAT feeder and operated as an ASAT facility. A pivotal distinction between the two offerings is that the program day revolves around drug treatment in a CASAT facility while, at ASAT, drug treatment is one component of the program day.

During its ASAT period, Livingston was the largest such facility in the nation and, quite possibly, the world. More than 1,600 Livingston inmates a year were undergoing intensive treatment, designed to help break them their cycles of addiction. Its roots treating those with alcohol and substance abuse problems are beneficial to its operations to this day.

Varied missions over the years

Livingston is situated on 119 acres of land, 57 of which are located within the secure perimeter. There are 28 buildings at the facility, which cost $50.4 million to build. The facilityhas the capacity to house 881 inmates in barracks-style housing. Fourteen of the facility’s 28 buildings are inmate housing units.

Livingston and adjacent Groveland were constructed on land that the Shakers settled on in the 1800’s. Members of the colony were deeply committed to adopting orphans out of New York City.

That was in part because Shakers were not permitted by their religion to procreate, but they desired families nonetheless. The children they took in as their own would work on the farm, be versed extensively in religion, perform assorted daily chores and help build Shaker furniture.

As the country started developing resources designed to ensure government care for orphans, the pool of children available for adoption dwindled, and the Shaker population declined. Around the time of the Great Depression, the state took over the colony, and the remaining Shakers moved to other venues. Using existing buildings at the colony, located in what was then known as Groveland, the state established a treatment community for epileptics.

Shortly after the state assumed control of the land, the area became known as Sonyea. The prevailing notion is that Sonyea is an acronym for the State of New York Epileptic Association. Some in the area, however, believe Sonyea was named after the Indian phrase for “Sunny Valley.”

In the 1960’s, as medical advances made epilepsy more treatable, the state shifted its focus in Sonyea, concentrating on treatment of the mentally retarded. It could be said that the community served as a precursor for what is now known as the state Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities. The state eventually severed those ties in Sonyea, and Livingston and Groveland were built.

For its first three years of operation, Livingston served as a CASAT feeder facility. In 1994, the focus shifted, and Livingston was designated a CASAT facility.

CASAT provides a continuum of intensive substance abuse treatment in a therapeutic setting. That’s a six-month program known as Phase I. Phase II of the CASAT program involves a six-month transitional period in a work release community reintegration setting where substance abuse treatment continues. This program is available to inmates who have documented histories of substance abuse problems and meet the criteria for presumptive work release.

In 1996, Livingston’s focus took on another persona, operating exclusively as an ASAT facility. And although that remains the primary mission of Livingston today, that’s changing. Recognizing the overall decline in the inmate population, Commissioner Goord directed Livingston begin the conversion to a medium-security, general confinement facility, a transition which is now ongoing.

Addressing the varied needs of a diverse population

Approximately 540 of the 870 inmates who were housed at Livingston recently were ASATparticipants. That number will continue to decline as inmates complete the program and move on and the vacant ASATbeds are filled bygeneral confinement inmates. The remainder of Livingston’s inmates participate in regular programming.

The ASAT program is behaviorally based, designed to get inmates to break old, destructive habits, start fresh when they return home and stay out of prison. Avariety of approaches are used. They include education; extensive individual and group counseling; relapse and transition counseling, and self-help programs to assist inmates in understanding the process of addiction and the dynamics of recovery.

The program generally takes six months, depending on what facility it’s offered at, and the intensity of the program. An inmate’s ability to demonstrate a functional understanding of addiction and the process of recovery also plays a role in determining the length of ASAT programming.

To be eligible to participate in the ASATprogram, an inmate must have a documented or self-admitted history of substance abuse, demonstrate a willingness to participate in the program and have enough time prior to earliest possible release to complete the program.

The ASAT program is offered in four settings: residential, modular, Shock Incarceration and Willard.

The competency areas covered in the program include understanding drugs and addiction; understanding one’s self and others; understanding criminal thinking; the process of recovery, and communication skills and making the right decisions.

Issues that are also covered include the relationship between alcoholism/addiction and an accompanying multitude of problems involving family, social, health and legal issues; the process of relapse prevention, and the process of maintaining a drug-free lifestyle.

Participation in the ASAT program requires considerable hard work. It is not realistic to expect the ASAT program participant to achieve all treatment objectives in each of the competency areas. ASAT staff are responsible for providing all program participants with direction and feedback specific to treatment needs in the competency areas.

Completion of the formal six-month ASAT program does not represent completion of the treatment process. The goal of the program is to provide the foundation for successful and ongoing treatment and to jump-start the recovery process.

General program offerings abound

Livingston also offers a wide range of academic education, counseling services, transitional services and volunteer services programs. Italso offers some limited vocational training.

Livingston’s teachers, counselors and other instructors are dedicated in their daily efforts to provide inmates with the education and skills they need to succeed on the outside. They regularly hone their lesson plans to remain current on new teaching techniques and enhanced educational requirements.

One of the recent changes enacted by the Department requires all inmates who do not have a high school diploma or their GED to attain at least a ninth-grade efficiency in both reading and math skills. Prevreously, inmates were only required to obtain an eighth-grade efficiency level in those disciplines. The acdemic bar was raised because of the belief that an eighth-grade efficiency level in reading and math skills is barely considered literacy in some sectors of today’s society.

To date, staff has been up to the task of providing inmates with the knowledge they need to attain the ninth-grade efficiency levels and subsequently pass their GED exams, which will greatly enhance their chances of obtaining steady employment upon release.

In 2002, 2,969 inmates took the new GED exam that takes into account the higher reading and math efficiency levels, which makes it more difficult to pass when compared with previous exams. Atotal of 1,752 inmates, or 59 percent, passed the test – compared to a 51 percent passing rate among non-incarcerated New Yorkers who took the exam.

Realizing the importance of inmates getting their GEDs, the Department six years ago waived the $25 GED filing fee previously paid by inmates.

Livingston also offers an Aggression Replacement Training (ART) program. This 100-hour course is designed to assist inmates in identifying and controlling aggressive behavior. ART is provided by trained Inmate Program Associates under the supervision of a facility staff coordinator.

The intervention is based on a cognitive-behavioral approach and consists of three components. They include structured learning, designed to enhance pro-social skills through role playing and other methods; anger control training, which complements the structured learning mission of eradicating anti-social behavior; and moral reasoning, where inmates react to a series of dilemmas in a discussion-group context to devise appropriate ways of reacting to certain situations.

Livingston also offers what one might consider a relatively light vocational program when it’s matched up against many other facilities throughout the state. Nonetheless, vocational training remains a vital cog in the Livingston mission. The prevailing notion is that the more education and other skills that inmates obtain while they’re in prison, the better their chances of getting a job and being able to adequately provide for themselves and their families upon release.

One of Livingston’s vocational programs is geared to help prepare inmates for a career in electrical trades field. The popular course provides instruction in basic electrical skills with an emphasis on the installation and servicing of all types of resiidential and commercial wiring systems. Instruction is given on and code interpretation, installation and servicing of circuits and controls, use of testing equipment and the reading of architectural drawings and wiring schematics.

Livingston’s electrical trades course entails self-paced individual instruction. Upon successful completion of this course, inmates are deemed qualified to be considered for an entry-level position in the profession. They can then apply for jobs like residential electrician, motor repairer, motor control assembler, tool crib attendant, electrician’s helper, inventory clerk and tool repairer.

A Department of Labor Apprenticeship Program in electrical trades is also available to Livingston inmates enrolled in the program, completion of which enhances their chances of securing employment upon release.

Livingston also offers a coursein small engine repair. This course provides training in the repair and maintenance of lawn and garden equipment, recreational vehicles and motorcycles. The inmate is taught troubleshooting including testing, diagnosis and repair. Instruction is given in areas like major engine overhaul, ignition testing and servicing, fuel system servicing and repair, lawnmower blade replacement and servicing, power drive and transmission systems and understanding schematics and specifications.

Inmates who complete this course, which also features a DOL Apprenticeship Program, receive a DOL certificate. They are then qualified to apply for jobs like small engine mechanic, gas engine repairer, outboard motor mechanic, inventory clerk and recreational vehicle repairer.

A vocational course in custodial maintenance is also available to Livingston inmates. This program emphasizes various custodial topics including floor care, carpet and fabric care, upholstery care, the proper use of sanitation chemicals, window care, rest room care and the safe use and operation of power cleaning equipment.

There is no time frame established for Livingston’s custodial maintenance program. Rather, the program entails a lot of self-paced individualized instruction to develop student competencies in various entry-level skills as defined by modules.

Among the job titles that course graduates can qualify for are commercial or industrial cleaner, industrial sweeper, inventory work, custodian, floor waxer, tool crib attendant and window cleaner.

Strengthening community bonds

Over the years, staff at Livingston and members of the community have worked hand-in-hand in an effort to improve the community while at the same time assisting in the rehabilitation of inmates preparing to return to their home communities.

And the ongoing relationship has generated more than its share of success stories.

Registered volunteers from the community–a community that has found Livingston to be a good neighbor – play an integral role in the rehabilitation process. Besides the regular dedication and willingness to listen and help, the volunteers often provide inmates with a different perspective on issues that they hopefully can draw on upon their release.

The offerings of the volunteers are varied. Every Monday from 7 to 9 p.m., volunteers from Calvary Chapel come to the facility to conduct well-attended Bible study classes. Volunteers from Hispanic Protestant churches in the region conduct a worship service every Sunday from 2to 4 p.m. Among the activities are Spanish music, prayers and teachings which traditional and cultural styles of Hispanic worship.

Livingston is also home to Prison Fellowship seminars. These are taught by highly-trained religious volunteers from the area. The volunteers offer three, full-day Saturday seminars each year. The inmates study and learn Christian values for themselves as well as their families. Each inmate participant is encouraged to build a new character, which leads to developing and maintaining new standards for living in harmony with God and others in society.

Registered community volunteers also come into the facility on a regular basis to conduct AAand NA meetings, considered critical in the recovery of a chemically-addicted individual.

Just as community volunteers playa vital role in Livingston’s mission, its employees play a key role in the community. They serve as mentors for children through their roles as sports coaches, hold fund-raisers for the needy, serve on municipal boards and community advisory committees and volunteer as firefighters in communities throughout the area. ASAT staff also visit area schools on a regular basis to talk with children on the dangers of drugs and the importance of making right decisions.

Each year, staff and inmates at Livingston and at other prisons throughout the state participate in annual Make a Difference Day activities to benefit the needy in local communities. In 2002, staff at Livingston visited students at the nearby Mount Morris Elementary School.

Employees talked to the students about drugs and their negative consequences; they then assisted the students in designing their own drug-free T-shirts.