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Old 10-26-2004, 06:00 PM
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Manzanita Manzanita is offline
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Thumbs up Collins Correctional Facility

Collins Correctional Facility
P.O. Box 490
Collins, New York 14034-0490
(716) 532-4588

(Erie County)

Inmate Mail:
P.O. Box 340, Zip 14034-0340

Medium Male

Visitation Hours: 8:30 - 3:00 weekends and holidays only. no visitor processing past 2:30

Visiting Rules: no excessive touching, hugging and kissing ok. pretty much depends on the co's. the females are usually stricter than the males. watch your kids, inmates face front, no more than 4 visitors without special permission.

Visiting Room: both collins 1 and 2 (they are separate buildings across the street from each a long walk-be sure where he is) look like school cafeterias. square tables with 4 chairs around. there's a play area for kids inside. When it is nice outside between 4/15 and 10/15, you can visit outside (picnic tables) and a little play area for the kids.
you can pay to have pictures taken. the vending machines have food (fair), candy, chips, juice, soda, coffee. All the vending machines will give change. But Bring singles and quarters.

Opened: 1981, Capacity: 1576 male (16+), Adult Correctional Institutions, Employees: 631, Cost of care: $52.80 per day

Lodging nearby: great thread link below

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

Myriad of innovative programs

Situated on the grounds of the former Gowanda Psychiatric Center, which opened in 1898, Collins is located in an area of New York that is rich with long-time and diverse historical roots. This is an area where, many years ago, Indians roamed the terrain, as did Quakers looking to make a better life for themselves and others. But despite its pristine beginnings, it has its dark side; many are convinced spirits, former residents of the psychiatric center, are about. It is that land of intriguing lore that continually drives Collins employees and other local residents to learn more about the place they call home.

Indeed, the history of the region is something in which employees and many local residents take great pride. They can be seen spending hours in area libraries and other places throughout the community poring over old books, ledgers, maps and other historical documents to get a glimpse of what life was like in this western part of the Empire State many generations ago.

Reservations and the altruistic go hand in hand

This area of the town of Collins has been occupied since 1660 by the Seneca Indians, who succeeded the Kahquah and Erie tribes in western New York. By terms of the Canandaigua Treaty of 1794, the Senecas settled on reservations, including the Cattaraugus Reservation.

In 1808, the Society of Friends (Quakers) purchased 700 acres of land next to the Cattaraugus Reservation for settlement by people who came to the region with the sole purpose of helping the Indians. That same year the noted Quaker missionary, Jacob Taylor, arrived in the area by means of an old Indian trail. He built a home near the reservation in an area that became known as Taylor Hollow. By 1810, 14 other families had joined him in Taylor Hollow and by 1821, with 92 families now living there, the area was officially organized as Collins. (What is now known as North Collins officially separated from Collins in 1852).

Settlers were continually attracted to Collins by the selfless motive of aiding the Indians; the fact that there were a lot of agricultural opportunities in the region also served as a big draw. Before farms could be established in the area, however, the landscape had to be cleared of very thick woods. Literally thousands of trees were cut and bummed by the local residents. The resulting impressive mounds of tree ash were then sold to be converted to pearl ash for use in 19th century industry.

The picturesque creeks that flow through the Collins area also provided the early settlers with power for gristmills. The creeks also powered the sawmills that were built by the early settlers to produce the lumber that would be needed to build the houses, barns, furniture, prisons and planks used for roads to accommodate the needs of a growing population (Versailles Plank Road, which runs through the Cattaraugus Reservation, was, itself, once a plank road).

From its long-ago and humble beginnings, Collins also has had tanners who have made leather goods such as shoes and harnesses. And not surprisingly, years ago there were also a bevy of blacksmiths who made and repaired the tools and wagons that were so vital to the survival of the local residents.

From early times right up to the present, people in the Collins area have engaged in fruit, vegetable and dairy farming, successful ventures due to the rich nature of the soil in the region.

It's also interesting to note that members of Jacob Taylor's family maintained a herd of Holstein cattle that in a bygone era roamed the grounds of what now is Collins and the adjacent Gowanda Correctional Facility. Additionally, production of maple syrup and sugar was started by the early settlers, productive and profitable ventures that continue today in the region, even at Collins.

The first school was established in Collins in 1811 to teach reading, spelling, writing and arithmetic to children. Five schools functioned by 1815 in the Collins area, an indicator of the continued pilgrimage of residents to the region. Over the years there were more schools developed with an expanding curricula typical of the modem schools of today. A Collins Center training building constructed in 1925 originally served as a school, replacing a school constructed in the early 1880's.

A new mission in a changing era

New York state set its sights on building a sprawling psychiatric center in the early 1890's and its gaze turned west toward Collins. After some preliminary discussions and negotiations, the state in 1894 took title to the 500-acre Taylor Farm that had been developed on land that Jacob Taylor had bequeathed to his many nieces and nephews. The first building of the Gowanda Osteopathic Hospital was completed in 1898; it is still in use to- day, with Collins using it to house administrative offices, inmate housing units, various programming areas and an infirmary.

Over the years, nearly 100 more buildings were built on the site, many of which are still in use today. They were needed to care for the burgeoning patient population. In its heyday, the Gowanda Psychiatric Center cared for over 4,000 patients at a time.

For almost a century, the Gowanda Psychiatric Center had a relatively uneventful existence. Society, however, was changing. In the late 1970's and early 1980's, it entered an era when new psychotropic medicines were being developed. At the same time, more and more psychiatric patients were being moved to community-based treatment residences.

The once-bustling psychiatric centers of years ago were downsizing at a rapid rate; conversely, DOCS was in need of bed space. The crack epidemic that was gripping not only New York state but the entire nation prompted the need for more new beds to handle an increasing inmate population, and the Department needed the beds quickly. In 1982, the state took over 40 percent of the Gowanda Psychiatric Hospital and began the gradual conversion of the psychiatric center into a medium-security prison. It wasn't too long after that that the first inmates arrived.

An anecdote that long has circulated about the opening of Collins involves temporary staff housing for the facility's employees. The staff housing was in a dorm-style setting in the old morgue of the psychiatric center. Many employees did not want to sleep there because there were daunting tales of ghosts haunting the area. The building today is used for the storage of records.

Because many of the old buildings that once housed psychiatric patients are still is use today, Collins is somewhat of a hodgepodge, and an unusual one at that.

Collins has the capacity to house 1,280 inmates in a combination of dormitories, multiple-occupancy rooms, single cells and double cells. It's also divided into two separate compounds, each with their own secured perimeter fencing, known as Collins I and Collins II. Each compound has its own mess hall, law library, visiting room and processing area, chapel, health services unit, commissary area, counseling units and recreation areas.

Unique programs and services meet varied needs

Collins also is the site of one of the state's nine maximum- security S-Blocks. These 100-cell, double-occupancy units are designed to segregate from the general population those inmates who chose to assault staff and others and disobey prison rules. These units are partially responsible for fewer assaults at Collins and at other prisons throughout New York state.

Collins also offers a Family Reunion Program. This program affords approved inmates and their families the opportunity to meet overnight for a 44-hour period in a private home-like setting. The families spend time together in one of four units that were constructed by vocational inmates and Maintenance Department staff. The goal of the program is to preserve and strengthen family ties. Research has shown that inmates who maintain strong family ties are less likely to re-offend upon release from prison that those inmates who do not maintain family ties, The program contributes to safer prisons, as participating inmates are less likely to misbehave and run the risk of not being able to spend time with their families.

Collins also features a Visitors Hospitality Center staffed during weekend visiting by local volunteers. The majority of the visitors to Collins and Gowanda, also serviced at the hospitality center, take long bus rides from New York City to visit their loved ones. The center gives them a chance to freshen up and take care of other needs before entering the prison visiting room.

Another unusual program offered at Collins is the production of maple syrup. The process typically begins each year in early February and runs with the sap until the beginning of April. The procedure begins when the sap is collected using milk bags. It is then filtered and cooked down. Afterward, it is filtered again before it becomes maple syrup. Once the process is complete, the maple syrup is packaged in containers ranging from a quart to a gallon. The production of maple syrup is a favorite chore among many of the inmates assigned to the lawns and grounds crew. This is especially true of the inmates who come from cities and have never had an experience like this before. The syrup then is served to the inmate population during the breakfast mess hall meals atop pancakes or waffles.

The old buildings and the varied distinct inmate populations aren't the only things that separate Collins from other prisons throughout the state. There's a lot happening on the facility grounds, albeit outside the secured perimeters of Collins I and Collins II.

For instance, there are four separate cemeteries that date back to the beginning of the 20th century. More than 1,800 men and women, patients of the psychiatric center, were interred in state ground between 1898 and 1991. Also located outside the fences is the Helmuth Daycare Center, in operation since the mid-1960's. The center is open to all members of the community.

State Office of Mental Health (OMH) officials still have a presence on the grounds, providing residential and outpatient psychiatric services to many of its clients in western New York. One of the services is a patient-run car wash. And finally, the Gowanda Area Federal Credit Union also is located on the grounds.

A wealth of programming options

Collins offers a variety of self-help and motivational programming to its inmates in the hopes that they can become law-abiding members of society upon their eventual release from prison and their return into the community.

In addition to its 12 vocational shops and standard academic classes, Collins offers the Department's successful ASAT program as well as the Aggression Replacement Training (ART) to inmates when they first enter the facility. This provides them with the tools to understand and appropriately handle their anger and frustration while they're incarcerated. Indeed, since the program was established six years ago, there has been a noticeable decline in the number of misbehavior reports and unusual incidents for fighting and violent conduct.

For instance, Collins has seen the number of inmate-on-inmate assaults decline 78 percent between 1996 and 2001, from 41 to nine. The facility also had a 64 percent decline in the number of unusual incidents since 1996, down from 159 to 57, and inmate-on-staff assaults had fallen 83 percent, from 12 in 1996 to just two in 2001. No inmate escapes from the secured perimeter of the facility have occurred since it opened.

All the Correction Counselors at Collins facilitate counseling groups. From the beginning, Collins has been distinguished by its commitment to therapeutic counseling groups providing sex offender counseling for 18 years. It also offers other groups addressing effective parenting, violence, gambling, criminal thinking and, for several years, a major work release ASAT Re- lapse program.

Until August of 2000 Collins also offered a limited number of college courses funded by outside sources The Consortium of the Niagara Frontier began offering Collins' inmates courses to obtain either an associate's or bachelor's degree in 1985, piggybacking on a successful program that it began at Attica in the mid 1970's. The program, which is now offered at Wyoming, uses private donations for course instructors.

Collins also is one of several facilities throughout the state to offer at-risk youth in the local community a Youth Assistance Program (YAP). This program involves volunteers from the inmate population who tell children how they wound up in prison and the pain it has caused them and others. The program is designed to provide positive guidance and direction to at-risk youth who display a tendency toward becoming involved with the criminal justice system. It's intended to help young people realize that they can make changes in their lifestyle and choices to avoid incarceration.

Working hand in hand with each other

As with many other prisons across the state, Collins enjoys a positive and mutually beneficial relationship with local community residents and leaders.

There currently are a total of 344 members of the region's communities who are registered volunteers and come into Collins on a regular basis. They consistently provide a wealth of knowledge and assistance to members of the inmate population, their unified goal being to provide them with the skills, knowledge and other tools they need to succeed upon their eventual reintegration into society. The varied services that the community volunteers provide include religious counseling and services geared exclusively toward incarcerated veterans, many of whom have special needs. Volunteers from NA and AA chapters in the community also are regular visitors to the prison to provide assistance and support to those inmates with sub- stance abuse problems.

Late last year, Collins completed its 39th Kairos weekend. Kairos is a Greek word meaning "God's special time." It is an ecumenical non-denominational ministry that is conducted over a weekend twice a year involving 50 registered volunteers The volunteers share with inmates the role Christ has played in their lives and provide discussion, role playing and testimony in an attempt to give the inmates the opportunity to change their lives through spirituality. The volunteers, along with Department Chaplains, also meet weekly with the men to continue their spiritual growth.

Like the volunteers who are a key component of the Collins program, the employees and inmates at the facility have long played a key role in communities throughout western New York.

Collins' employees are involved in a host of community endeavors, serving as local volunteer firefighters, school board members and coaches for both school, after school and local youth recreation programs. They also give back to the community in October of every year during Make a Difference Day activities designed to assist the needy. In the past, Collins employees raised $725 in donations by participating in a bike run to benefit the Roswell Park Memorial Hospital and in the Special Olympics Torch Run. Inmates also made wooden puzzles that were distributed to children serviced by four area community agencies.

Inmates also get involved in the community as well, and for that local residents are extremely thankful. Program assignments include outdoor work assignments in supervised community service crews working for local governments and non- profit groups. Projects include snow and debris removal, church repairs and fighting floods, ice storms and forest fires. If not for DOCS, many of those projects would not otherwise be completed. Since 1995, crews from Collins have logged more than 220,000 work hours with close to 50,000 hours of security supervision on projects of service to western New York communities.
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 Momma Ann; 03-24-2010 at 01:41 PM..
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Old 06-03-2006, 04:52 PM
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Default Info on Collins One

Collins 1:
  • Mostly medium male, but has an SHU module
  • The DOCS driving directions are little incomplete and slightly wrong: from the east-go to the Thruway Exit 57 A not 57.At the bottom of the exit ramp, turn left-follow this road till you get to Route 62-turn right(south). You will go about 12-15 miles on 62-once you pass the State Police regional HQ(on your right) you are getting close. then you will pass route 39--stay on 62-you are about 500 yards from the turnoff. Look for the State garage on the left (big plow blade out front-there is also a big sign for Collins on your right-you turn right onto Middle Road. First you will see signs for Collins 2-if you are going there-you will turn in the Collins 2 parking lot-pretty well marked. After you park, you walk up the road (to your right as you face prison) to the gate up the road NOT the gate right across from the parking lot. You just go to the gate and ring the bell for Collins 2-. For Collins one, continue on Middle Road till it comes to a T at Taylor Hollow Road-turn right. You will make an fast right into the parking for Collins (doesn't say One) Visiting-you pretty much are in the lot. The little building well marked is the visitor Center. FROM HERe ON INFo FOR COLLINS 1
  • You fill out your visitor slip (they will give to you--volunteers,very nice!). They have paper bags and labels to tranfer your packages into. You wait for the visiting to open (8:30-very prompt) and walk over to that building (a few steps) with your packages.
  • There is a huge breakfast available in the visitor center, muffins, doughtnuts, juice, coffee etc.etc.
  • When you enter the visiting processing area, put your visitor slip and your id in the little metal basket on the counter and your packages on the table. They will call you up-they will give you a locker key if you need to put anything in it.
  • I saw people go in with coats-just can't wear them through the metal detector. Of course you put your change and stuff in the little basket before the metal detector.
  • When you are cleared, you walk through fenced yard, across the street. Then wait for the gate to be buzzed open, another fenced area-another buzzed door and head to the building.
  • The CO is right on your right as you go in. He gives you a table number. The vending machines are to the side of the CO.
  • If you are leaving money, you do it here in the visiting room.
  • The vending machines to me are better than average-they have antipasto, canned fruit, yogurt, sausage biscuits, the usual chicken wings, chicken sandwiches, burgers. Juice machine and a soda machine. Coffee machine and a snack machine.
  • Nice clean restroom with soap.
  • when you leave, they have a dinner in the visitor center (this is for the people on vans and buses--but how nice! )There was lasagna and chicken fingers and salads!!! They do take donations of non-perishables in case you are coming locally and have some stuff to bring!
  • For those drving: when you exit the parking lot to Taylor Hollow Road (and assuming you are headed back to the Thruway) turn right onto Taylor Hollow-there is a reservation gas station and cigarette shop a few miles up the road (East End). They do not charge tax on gas or cigs so you can stock up before you go home! Of course the cigs can't go in to the guys
  • If you are driving with kids, stop at the Kazoo Museum in Eden--on your right, right before the turn to go back to the thruway-it is a neat tour. However, if you buy kazoos, I suggest you put them in trunk till you get home!

Last edited by Momma Ann; 03-15-2012 at 07:09 AM..
Old 06-12-2006, 03:05 PM
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You can bring in an unopened pack of cigarettes and you can smoke if the outside is open (the inmate too).

They are very strict about food weight limits.

They have the most sensitive metal detector EVER. I never wear an underwire-but the hooks on my bra set it off. The next day, I wore a sports bra, no metal at all--and the metal plate in my ankle set it off--that has NEVER happened before at the max's. Now, when this happens, you either take off your bra and do the paper bag thing--or if it isn't something like that, they will wand you. They are very nice about it-but WOW! Next time my fillings might set it off.

Old 09-12-2010, 07:34 AM
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lanenatuya2009 lanenatuya2009 is offline
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Thumbs up My first visit at Collins

So yesterday was my first visit at Collins 1 and I must say this facility gets an A plus from me compared to the other facilities ive been to (Downstate,5 Points)

My fiance sat in 5pts(Elmira Hub) correctional facility for 6 months after dropping out of Willard 2 times. On his draft he was taken on a Thursday and sat in AUBURN (a Max and he's a Min. for 5 days with no property) and after enduring all this stress, he said to me yesterday, this place is a blessing, it cannot ask for a better enviroment, now my time starts and all my work to get home will be worth the while.

Bus ride:

First off, Paulys (917-621-6459) bus service which serves Manhattan pick ups, has great service . He was prompt on his pick up time and he seats his passengers by assigning a designated seat...No need to push other women for a good seat any more!

He played a few movies and I swear this driver never went over 70 if that, most of the drivers at Justins and Flamboyant, You were lucky to not fall off your seat in that little van when they hit the curves doing 100miles an hr (I think they race up north and Gamble to see who makes it earlier) and nonetheless the drama that you hear and see being a frequent rider.
Enough on that bus service! Our first stop was Gowanda which was literally right next door to Collins (I was like wow that was fast)

The Hospitality Center:

I must applaude the women who take care of the Hospitality center, They did an awesome job yesterday...My morning started off with some hot grits,biscuits and fruit (I was lucky to get phone serv elsewhere, let alone a free meal) to ease my tummy after that 8hr drive..Please ladies, Tips are appreciated because the work and effort these volenteers put in are priceless. They were helpful in guiding me as I never felt so lost when it came to the process with food packages,clothing etc.

They say GOOD MORNING? Major shock, most of the CO's dont say a word to you when you do say Hello! My security clearence is always easy for me because I try to follow all the rules and make sure nothing delays me (Underwire bras LOL)..Oh and Yes, they let you bring in a "UNOPENED" pack of cigarettes for your loved one to smoke from while in the yard after 11:30am.

I must say all the clothing minus one went thru with no problem, I didnt realize I bought a very light grey polo and that was not allowed but everything else went in pretty good...Oh and I cant forget, the tobbacco "Tops pouches" went thru! In 5pts I had to purchase it from a vendor who charged me 49.99 for a can plus shipping, and in the street that can costs 26.00, highway robbery during a recession!

The food has to be improved, thats rhe only minor complaint I have thus far...my fiance was so looking forward to the chicken wings LOL and some cheeseburgers, but we settled for what was there and made the best of it..Oh did I say that in the vending machine I spent 20.00 when in 5 PTS I normally spend 35plus? Thats a PLUS!

After all my visit was a pleasent one and I am hoping that our next process (Marriage) is approved and we can finally put that to rest and do with this bid already.

if you have any questions, feel free to PM me.
This will be over sooner then later!
Finally his wife 12/4/10
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Old 03-15-2012, 07:18 AM
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Collins Side 2

Park in the Visitors lot on Middle Road. Go the gate to the across the road and to the right of the lot--not the one right across from it.

They will open the gate.


Fill out the half page visit slip--only do the full page too if this is your first visit to a NYS DOCs facility. Put in the metal basket at the counter. Wait for inmate name to be called. Present ID. Then wait for them to call you to go through the metal detector. Once through the detector, go up the atirs. Wait for gate to open. Go in. Turn to your right--wait for that gate to open. You will come into the vending area. Walk through that and you will see the desk in the visit room. Give them your visit slip. They will assign a table. If going outside, you just go--no special permission needed and you can walk in and out.

Packages: if leaving a package, put in the cart in front of the front processing desk. If anything is rejected, you wil get it back at the end of the visit. The reject slip will be attached to your visit slip and you pick it up on your way out at the front desk.

The COs here are very nice and helpful.

They restock the vending machines about 1--so make sure to stock up.

From 4/15 to 10/15 they let you go outside to picnic tables (weather permitting). You can bring an unopened pack of cigarettes and a non-adjustable lighter in.

Reverse the process on the way out.

Sensitive metal detector and they do ion scans several times a year--so have clean hands, shoes, pockets.
Momma Ann

When I was lost--I found PTO. Thank you everyone.

"Pay it forward."
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