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GREAT MEADOW HUB - NY DOC New York State Prisons & Institutions located inside the GREAT MEADOW HUB - Moriah, Washington, Great Meadow, Mt. McGregor, Greene, Coxsackie, Hudson.

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Old 10-26-2004, 06:46 PM
Manzanita's Avatar
Manzanita Manzanita is offline
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Thumbs up Washington Correctional Facility

Washington Correctional Facility
Box 180
Comstock, New York 12821-0180

(518) 639-4486

(Washington County)

Medium Male

Visitation Hours: Visiting is Saturday and Sunday only...waiting area opens at 7:00 visiting starts at 7:30 until 2:00. The let you know when you are down to 30 minutes of visiting time

Visiting Rules: I didnt see any visiting rules per say but its typical of the other prisons...you can kiss and hug and put your head on his shoulder. Hands are supposed to remain above the table but they are usually pretty lienient (spelling). You are allowed to bring in pictures to show your loved one (they cant keep any except thru the mail or package room) and you can also bring in playing cards.

Visiting Room: there are about 6 rows with ordinary square tables...lots of vending machines which appears to be filled each day of visiting.

Lodging: Only a few minutes from Lake George so there is alot of Lodging available

Prison Web Site:

Prison Picture: my avatar was taken today at the prison. it costs $1.75 for a poloraid pic. I can take one of the outside of the prison with my digital on saturday when I go if you would like.

FRP available: Yes, Wash Annex. (if not let me know)

Number of prisoners:Opened: 1985, Capacity: 1090 male (16+), Adult Correctional Institutions, Employees: 467, Cost of care: $56.80 per day

General Information:
Everyone is pretty friendly as far as calling for information or when you go for visits.

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


"Community lifestyles a hallmark"

Washington
"On the count!"

It is 11 a.m. on a Wednesday in a dormitory at Washington. Sixty men, reading or chatting in small groups, go to their cubicles and stand quietly at their beds as a CO makes his way around the room and verifies that all the inmates are present. The count done, each man picks up a chair and carries it to the day room. The chairs are set in neat rows facing the front, and the men sit down. They are joined by the Officer and the housing unit counselor. It is time for the community meeting, held at this hour three mornings a week.

The community meetings are at the heart of Washington's Community Lifestyles Program. This new program treats the central but often troublesome fact of forced group living as a positive part of the prison experience. Community Lifestyles represents an intense focus on the techniques of getting along in a community.

Though more structured and formal, the community meeting is like an old-fashioned family dinner hour- a set occasion for all members of the household to sit clown to get Tier as a unit arid discuss matters great and small. The meeting is chaired by one of the dorm's inmate "facilitators," following a fixed format He asks first whether there are any new residents. One man stands today; he gives his name, and receives applause as a kind of welcome. The facilitator then asks if anyone has a general spirit" comment. An inmate raises his hand, stands and gives his name, and says, "I feel great today." Another remarks that "the dorm is looking outstanding." When there are no more "general spirit" comments, the facilitator calls on a group member to read a brief statement of the purpose of the program.

Each of the remaining segments of the meeting is led by an inmate "presenter" over the course of three or four weeks, every inmate will participate in this way. The first presenter asks if anyone wants to share a "regression." Someone stands to state that he is "feeling pessimistic lately." No one comments on this man's regression, though members of the community sometimes give advice or encouragement when an inmate admits to a problem in his personal progress and development.

After regressions, a new presenter asks for "awarenesses." An inmate remarks that somebody carelessly smeared fresh paint near the entrance; another notes that someone did not remove his clothes from the dryer. Awarenesses, as opposed to regressions, are complaints about someone else's actions. The rule in voicing awarenesses is that names are never used: it is the behavior that is criticized. Speakers do their best to preserve the presumption that the act was unintentional and will be avoided now that its effect on other community members has been made known.

Next come "progresses," when members report on their own or others' positive achievements. Progresses range from small accomplisliments, such as a new coat of paint on the vent shaft, or a piece of equipment repaired, to significant achievements such as a GED. Today's include a new policy on gathering in cubicles (they won't be tolerated) and the schedule for an up-coming holiday. The meeting may close with a poetry reading or a skit or song.

The meeting is remarkable in respect to the participants' attention, restraint, politeness and respect for each other. It is also remarkable how much has been accomplished, without conscious effort, in a mere quarter hour's time. The meeting has served to structure the day. It replaces rumor with information, defuses irritations and bolsters group and individual pride and spirit all contributing to a safer and more satisfying environment for the institution's staff and inmates.

Opening and Growth

Washington opened in March, 1985. Two hundred inmates came by transfer, most from Great Meadow, half a mile away. Simultaneously, Great Meadow's H-Block, a 200-bed medium-security annex, became part of the new institution.

Arriving in the spring before construction was complete, the new inmates found themselves occupying a muddy quagmire, which they crossed on corrugated boxes flattened for makeshift sidewalks. The kitchen arid mess hall building was not ready yet, so meals were prepared at H-Block and served in the two completed dorms.

In August, the builders were gone, and the inmates set about planting flowers and touching up the landscaping. Their labor transformed the messy construction site into a strikingly beautiful, woodland campus. Washington was constructed on "the Grove," formerly a picnic and recreation area for Great Meadow’s employees. Though now enclosed by a double fence topped with razor ribbon, the Grove's gently curving 61 acres still shimmer in sunlight with bright, green grass, speckled with flower beds, all cupped in the verdant foothills of the Adirondack Mountains.

The architecture is "cookie-cutter" a prototype design adopted in the 1980's for rapid construction to accommodate the ballooning inmate census. All of Washington's buildings are one-story, of red brick with tawny roofing. They include the administration building, an education building with classrooms and vocational shops and an activity building containing the libraries, interview rooms, chapel, mosque, offices and gymnasium. The plans called for five dormitory buildings, each divided into two sides, each side intended to hold 50 beds in cubicles with chest-high partitions for a total of 500 inmates. But just the next summer, two more dormitory buildings were erected in response to the continuing demand for still more beds. Then, starting in 1989, the gymnasium was borrowed for emergency housing. (For indoor recreation, a huge inflatable "bubble" was installed on the lawn.) it was two years before Washington regained its gymnasium by double-bunking the dorms, eventually doubling up four of every five beds. By 1992, there were 1,260 inmates in dormitories designed for 700, plus another 250 in the annex, special housing unit and hospital for a total of 1,510.

Gradually, as new prisons opened in other parts of the state, Washington was allowed to scale back to a manageable 20 percent double-bunking. The total population is now 1,090.

Under-21 Facilities

The impetus for the Community Lifestyles Program was the swelling number of very young men sentenced to prison terms. Shock Incarceration was designed for this group, but there remained a growing number who were barred from Shock because of violent crimes. What to do with them was a difficult question. Historically prone to recidivism, the new under-2 1 year olds - with educational shortcomings, lack of work histories and substance abuse problems were a challenge for program staffing.

To address the educational deficiencies, the Department moved to concentrate the under 21's in three facilities (Washington, Coxsackie and Greene). That done, teaching positions could also be transferred to those facilities, focusing resources where the need was greatest. Now that the ratio of teachers to students had been raised, it was possible to make school attendance mandatory for all under 21-year old inmates who did not have a diploma.

Washington has 14 teachers serving an average of 400 students. The school includes a federally-funded program for students with learning disabilities, with special education teachers, an education counselor and a school psychologist. Academic staff coordinate their program with the vocational section, also staffed with 14 instructors who teach 10 trades to about 600 inmates per year. Five trades have apprentice program status, leading to journeyman certification by the state Department of Labor.

Origins of Community Lifestyles - Network and Shock

While it furthered the development of an excellent education program, the massing of the young had drawbacks. Impulsively aggressive, the youths' violence within the prison community was a problem for security staff. For a solution, the Department looked to its own Shock Incarceration program.

The "boot camp" features fascinate the public, but a key if unheralded reason for Shock's success is the Network program. Started in New York in the late 1970's, Network is a therapeutic community approach emphasizing personal responsibility while drawing on the power of peer pressure and support. Network was a departure from traditional correctional practice in two respects. First, instead of counseling the inmate to "do his own time," Network stressed the individual's accountability to other members of the prison community --and their responsibility to him. Second, while traditional prison behavior modification programs were conducted by counseling staff in meeting rooms at scheduled hours, Network shifted much of the responsibility to security staff; with the result that the lessons of the program are instilled and reinforced all day, every day, in every area of the institution.

Over the next decade, Network spread to 29 of New York's prisons. Then, in 1989, it was eliminated except in Shock and residential ASAT (Alcohol and Substance Abuse Treatment) settings as a result of budget cuts.

Could Network help with the management of thousands of volatile young men? The Department decided to try. A modified version for young inmates was piloted at Washington in 1993 and later introduced at Greene, Gowanda and Taconic. Initially, it encountered resistance from all quarters. Security staff thought their authority would be compromised by taking on a counseling role. Counseling staff did not want to take on a disciplinary role. Inmates resented being forced out of associations and routines of their own choosing into structures imposed by authorities. In time, though, the program was fully accepted. it is now credited by nearly all participants not only with making Washington a safer facility, but also with improving the quality of life.

Evaluations and Rewards

Each dormitory - the 60-man community unit - is evaluated continuously. Rewards or deprivations are applied to the entire group (though the standard disciplinary system is in effect for individual misbehavior). The housing unit officer and counselor monitor the dorm at all times for attitude and cleanliness. A score is assigned daily, with points deducted for undesirable conditions such as excessive noise, filth or clutter, complaints of theft, or a mood of unpleasantness or tension. An administration official conducts a formal inspection every Friday, and the score awarded by him is added to the daily scores. A total passing score for the week qualifies the dorm residents for special privileges, such as staying up late, sleeping in on Saturday and Sunday mornings, and extra movies on the VCR. A failing score means loss of the special privileges and rising at 6:30 a.m. to spend the next morning cleaning up. They will clean until they get it right - all weekend, if need be, forgoing the usual weekend recreation routine.

A Life of its Own

COs say that the Community Lifestyles Program "runs itself” and "has a life of its own." The story is told of an Officer who avoided the dorms for years, having long ago decided he didn't want the stress and tension of a housing unit. Eventually, he was forced to fill in. At the end of the shift, he emerged from his ordeal laughing, saying He hadn't had to say a word to a single inmate they did what had to be done without being told.

Community Lifestyles is not inmate self-government. The rules, standards, and structures are the creations of Department and facility officials. The inmates accept this, perhaps knowing that the authorities' structure is no more onerous than whatever the more powerful among their peers might erect in its place. Most new arrivals see what the others are doing and decide to fit in. If they have to be a little more particular about housekeeping, a clean bathroom is not such a bad outcome.

Standard trouble indicators have declined markedly at Washington in recent years. A total of 7,578 misbehavior reports were filed in 1993; in 1998, the number dropped by more than a third to 4,845. Inmate grievances are also down. In the five-year period from 1989-93, an annual average of 530 grievances were processed; the average dropped by 60 percent over the next four years (1994-97) to 200, and in 1998 only 85 grievances were pursued.

The retreat from over 1,500 inmates in 1992 to under 1,100 today has undoubtedly eased stress. But the drop in trouble indicators is greater than what would be predicted from the drop in population. Something else has happened.

The Washington County District Attorney has been a partner in the Department's recent focus on ending crime inside prison walls.

Reports in local newspapers of convictions are posted as a reminder that crimes in state facilities will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Also a major factor is improved communications, attributable in part to routine dissemination of accurate information in the community meetings, where misunderstandings can be corrected on-the-spot, and to a new, always-in-session, 15-hour orientation program in which the superintendent, executive staff and supervisors participate (with a "no substitutes" rule).

Another factor is experience with the new programs. Staff are increasingly skilled in dealing with under-21 year old inmates, and in utilizing Community Lifestyles. And good programming always contributes to order and safety. In addition to the excellent academic and vocational education program, a quality recreation program is a priority at Washington as would be expected in a facility where half the inmates are under 21. The program operates daily from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30p.m. under three full-time recreation program leaders. Additional staff are hired for the summer months,

Washington offers a residential ASAT Program. Both sides of C-Dorm are used, permitting 240 inmates to complete the six-month course every year.

A Correctional Industries Metal Furniture Shop employs 30 inmates under the supervision of two civilians and one Correction Officer. Inmates operate welding equipment and powerful hydraulic presses exerting forces up to 175 tons that cut, bend, and punch holes in steel tubing. The shop generates approximately $1 million in annual sales of desks and chairs.

Washington Annex

H-Block, as the five-acre annex is still informally called, provides inmates with outside clearance for the farm, the recycling and composting program arid outside grounds work for Great Meadow as well as Washington.

The 250-acre farm has been in almost continuous operation since Great Meadow opened in 1911. It is now worked by 15 to 20 annex inmates under the direction of two civilian farmers and an officer. The farm raises over 200 beef steers on home-grown feed until they are ready for slaughter at Eastern,

The annex also supplies community service crews in the vicinity. Inmates maintain the grounds and do repairs over a 6-7 mile stretch of the Champlain Canal. Inmates have fought forest fires after being apprised of the dangers including black bears and rattlesnakes on the Lake George mountains, and a crew works every day in the Lake George parks and islands. Special projects are undertaken on request. Inmates worked on the Ticonderoga Village Hall and built a replica of a log cabin for a conservation display at the Washington County Fair. And inmates regularly cut, split and deliver firewood at no charge to needy senior citizens identified by the Washington County Department for the Aging.

__________________
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; 11-14-2004 at 02:40 PM..
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Manzanita For This Useful Post:
JudyB88 (12-08-2018), Layeye (12-10-2011), MrsJones1712 (02-27-2010)
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