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SULLIVAN HUB - NY DOCS New York State Prisons & Institutions located inside the SULLIVAN HUB - Ulster, Eastern, Woodbourne, Sullivan, Shawangunk, Wallkill, Otisville, Mid-Orange.

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Old 10-13-2004, 07:00 PM
Manzanita's Avatar
Manzanita Manzanita is offline
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Thumbs up Eastern Correctional Facility

Eastern Correctional Facility
Box 338
Napanoch, New York 12458-0338

(845) 647-7400

(Ulster County)



Visitation Hours: 9a-3:30p.

NOTE: If you visit more than once during the week, you cannot have a weekend visit.

An hour and 15-30 mins from NYC

Visiting Room: for the most part the c/os are ok...
also a new vending company. the machines have food in them!
you can sit where ever you want. pretty much it's very nice. the co's just don't want you to get to carried away.
During the week when you check in all the visitors are cool, we know who was first, on weekends I don't no what its like. People told me don't even go its a mad house.
Eastern Annex is a very relaxed facility for visitors. In the summer there are outside barbecues from May to November, you can bring in food and the staff are congenial. You can walk freely inside or outside when the weather permits. You are allowed to sit side by side when visiting and can hold hands and kiss. Pictures are $1.75 each and must be exact change in quarters. There is not alot to choose from in vending food. The inmate can go up to the vending machines with you. It is a very small visiting room and when filled they have a second room. The programs are drug/alcohol/domestic violence related and has the reputation for being a difficult program to complete.

Lodging: the colonian (SP) 4 mile from the prison. owners are very nice, rooms have microwaves and a little frig tv. nothing fancy but the price is right 40.00 50.00 a night and Shoprite is close by
Hotels to be aware of. anything in Ellenville. for 70.00 a nite I stayed at the bate motel. what a night mare. I did not sleep at all. I could hear the people in the next room.

Prison Web Site: none yet

Prison Picture: none yet

FRP available: Eastern and Eastern Annex, yes! At eastern, it is very nice, very clean. 2 bedrooms eat in kitchen. satilite radio. And they have a cat! the cat stayed in with us when the phone rang she went out to do her busniess than was back at the door to come in.

Opened: 1900, Capacity: 1037 male (16+), Adult Correctional Institutions, Employees: 603, Cost of care: $59.86 per day

General Information:have heard that the visits and conditions are lovely compared to some places

the place was much better than I expected. There are approximately 180 inmates so it is small compared to many. The guards treated both the vistors and the inmates with respect. I think this is a very good move for my boyfriend as compared to where he was. It is a wonderful feeling leaving with a smile instead of worrying each time.

The visiting room is very small and the guards there are very respectful as long as no one crosses any boundaries with intimacy. We can sit beside them not just across from them. There isn't much in vending machines, and no change machines so bring change.

In the summer months you can actually bring food in on the visit. They have grills there so you can bring food to cook on the grill as well. its a very nice place to visit.


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

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For an even century, Eastern has dominated the landscape of the Ulster County village of Napanoch. From Route 209, the facility looms above the trees, almost overwhelming the jagged Shawangunk Mountain Ridge at its rear. Passers-by stop and stare: this huge and imposing structure looks like an outsized medieval fortress, with a massive, pyramid-shaped roof fortified by battlements and cone-capped turrets at the corners. Long, high cell-blocks of rugged stone stretch far out to either side.

Though its appearance has not much changed in 100 years, Eastern has undergone several wholesale program changes and in the process significantly influenced the evolution of corrections in New York state.

In 1876, New York revolutionized American corrections with the opening of an adult reformatory in Elmira. Elmira's fame and success soon led to critical overcrowding; in 1892 the state Legislature authorized a second men's reformatory.

A site selection commission of "three disinterested and reputable citizens" recommended the little village of Napanoch, which offered fertile soil and abundant water (in the language of the Lenape Indians, "Napanoch" means "land overflowed by water").

Napanoch was additionally favored with transportation advantages. The Ellenville and Kingston branch of the Ontario and Western (O&W) railroad would soon reach Napanoch; in the meantime, transportation was available via the Delaware and Hudson (D&H) Canal. A further advantage was the plentiful supply of building stone in the Shawangunk Mountains immediately behind the institution.

Ground was broken in 1894. The design called for a four-story central building with adjoining wings of cell blocks which would constitute the front portion of a wall enclosing 23 acres.

Construction of the new reformatory would take a generation. It was six years before a portion of the north wing was ready for occupancy. When the first prisoners arrived on October. 1 1900, they took up where the contractors had left off. To allow transfer of older, stronger prisoners fit for heavy labor, Eastern was put under the control of the state Prison Department (a departure from the reformatory tradition of governance by independent boards of managers).

In the early years, prisoners toiled mightily, building and farming. They manufactured all their own clothing and shoes. They leveled the slope from the mountain ridge to the Rondout Creek in front of the prison, diverted a mountain stream and laid a 1500-foot sewer line. They built roads, an ice house, a horse barn, hen house, hog pen and a shed for storage of wagons, sleighs and farm tools. A temporary stockade fence was erected around the prison - the permanent 2,800-foot concrete wall would take a quarter-century to complete.

In 1906, Eastern was removed from the Prison Department and placed under a newly-created State Board of Managers of Reformatories. It made no difference: Eastern's prisoners, as before, did little but build. The superintendent's residence was at last finished. The domestic building (kitchen/bakery/mess hall) was completed, and the hospital was started. Prisoners erected a shop and trades building and a power house with a 100-foot high smokestack. A dam for a reservoir was built, as was a chapel on the top floor of the central building: the chapel had 1,200 seats and a pipe organ, and would for decades double as an auditorium where "amateur entertainments" and motion pictures were shown.

Institution for Defective Delinquents

Eastern's 500 cells were never filled, and by 1920 it held fewer than 200 inmates. So when New York decided to pioneer an entirely new type of correctional institution, this was the logical place to put it. Effective June 1, 1921, the reformatory became the Institution for Defective Delinquents (IDD).

The lead advocate for the IDD was Eastern's physician, Dr Walter N. Thayer, Jr. Thayer was familiar with the thinking of his day which regarded the mentally retarded as predisposed to crime. He helped draft legislation permitting the indefinite (one day to life) commitment of any person afflicted with mental defect who was charged with or convicted of a crime. The IDD was placed under the jurisdiction of a newly-created state Commission for Mental Defectives, and Thayer was appointed the first superintendent.

As in the reformatory era, construction and farming still overrode all other program considerations. The hospital, begun in 1914, was completed and at long last, in 1926, the concrete wall was finished, replacing the original wooden stockade.

Thayer continued to work facility farms, still seen not only as economically beneficial, but as vocational training for defectives who might be paroled to agricultural jobs. Thayer began using the term "Colony Farm" -still so called today- after the popular practice in use throughout the United States of isolating mentally retarded people in self-supporting "colonies." Trustworthy inmates resided in the colony farmhouse and worked under the supervision of the civilian farmer and his wife, who served as a matron.

Legislation in 1923 authorized the establishment of prison industries at Napanoch, and Thayer installed an aluminum shop, where inmates spun aluminum on lathes and manufactured plates, cups, bowls, pitchers, steamers and other marketable products. They were stamped with an Indian head and the words "Institution for Defective Delinquents" on the underside. Other industrial programs were added over the years, supplying shoes, brooms, baskets, mattresses, clothes, sheet-metal ware and other goods for the institution as well as generating revenue through sales to other government agencies.

Under new management: back to corrections

Like the reformatory managers it displaced, the Commission for Mental Defectives failed to develop a program to improve the functioning of its inmates. It was not until after 1927, when the IDD was placed under the reorganized Department of Correction, that education and counseling programs were emphasized.

The IDD hired its first civilian teacher in 1928 and, in 1937, with the population above 1,000 inmates, an assistant was hired. In 1942, after the appointment of Major Thomas J. Hanlon as superintendent, programming began to improve dramatically. Hanlon considered every guard a potential teacher, telling them they did not need college degrees to teach the three R's to defectives. He also persuaded the psychologist to spend 50 percent of his time in individual literacy tutoring, and had the three institution chaplains teaching organized classes of religious education.

Before Hanlon's arrival, about 200 inmates were enrolled in the school program. Within a year over 800 were in an academic program, 183 in vocational training, 240 in social education programs, 90 in arts, crafts and clubs and 450 in physical education and athletic activities with another 425 in the military training program. Hanlon also organized a number of special programs. An AA chapter was formed. A Youthful Offender Group segregated 16 to 20-year olds from "the older, hardened type." A discussion group for recent parole disapprovals would correct "wrong attitudes toward life in general" and improve chances for release; led by the superintendent himself, these thrice-weekly gatherings were later called the Superintendent's Class and opened to other inmates.

Hanlon died in office in 1955, but his policies were continued by Charles L. McKendrick, superintendent from 1956 to 1967. McKendrick upgraded the educational program, adding five civilian teachers to the staff. He also put into effect a well-organized recreational program, a real need when younger inmates began to predominate in the IDD. By the 1960's, nearly all inmates participated in an extensive recreation program for half of every weekday, with additional activities on weekends.

McKendrick used the uniformed officers to expand counseling activities. In his first year, eight Officers agreed to advise and assist individual inmates with problems in adjustment. In 1961 an officer volunteered to provide counseling to a group of inmates who requested help in breaking their drug habits. In 1964, the facility psychologist began training officers in group counseling techniques. By 1968, officers were conducting 25 groups, including two drug counseling groups and five evening sessions.

Transition years...

After its 1921 conversion to the IDD, Napanoch's inmate population climbed from 200 to over 1,000. Then, alter 1940, the application of due process to commitment procedures combined with improved intelligence testing brought a decline in the admission of defectives. Napanoch began to receive "normal" inmates in 1957, and the next year was re-christened the Eastern Correctional Institution to indicate the change in population. Over the next decade, as the defectives slowly attritioned out, their places were taken by inmates of normal intelligence. At the close of 1966, the last 400 defectives were transferred to a new unit at Matteawan State Hospital. Eastern was then re-designated the Catskill Reformatory.

In 1970, with the prison population in steep decline, the state and the city of New York entered into a contract to house city prisoners in Eastern New York Correctional Facility (as it had been renamed) making it a forerunner of the "alternate correctional facilities" of later years. Soon after, however, the state prison census began to climb. In March, 1973, Eastern was again taking inmates sentenced to state prison terms. The prison had undergone its final transition.

... marred by tensions

Aside from a rash of escapes in the early IDD years and a 1923 mess hall riot in which an officer was killed, Eastern's first 60 years were relatively trouble-free. That changed as the docile defectives were replaced by youthful, aggressive, urban inmates who often brought gang affiliations with them. In May,1959, it took Officers 40 minutes to break up a fight involving about 150 inmates. The next year it was necessary to clear the mess hall with a fire hose when about 25 inmates began overturning tables and chairs in the mess hall.

In 1970, an inmate collapsed and died while playing basketball in the yard. An autopsy revealed he had a congenital heart condition and had died of sub-aortic stenosis. Rumors spread, however, that his death was due to medical neglect. The next morning, more than 600 inmates; took over the prison yard, ripped bleachers apart for weapons and did not disperse until the afternoon when gates opened at opposite ends of the yard, each revealing large contingents of helmeted reinforcements from Woodbourne and Matteawan.

Eastern's most dangerous incident began the morning of August 8, 1977. After two nights of unrest for undetermined reasons, a group of inmates protested the way scrambled eggs had been prepared. They overpowered the few officers nearby and took control of the kitchen facilities. The riot spread, and an estimated 150 prisoners gained control of a cell-block. 14 employees were held as hostages.

The 1977 riot was the most serious incident in the New York state prison system since the Attica riot six years earlier. At least 17 officers and inmates were treated for injuries. (Most of the inmates were treated for drug overdoses - the facility hospital had been taken over during the siege.) However, the Department's new CERT and CIU teams were able to secure the release of the hostages and restore order without violence. The handling of the riot was to be DOCS' blueprint for future incidents.

Trading stamps finance chapel

Construction at Eastern paused in 1935 with the completion of the gymnasium. There was no further construction until 1952, when a new cell block (now known as B-3) containing 247 cells was opened, reducing to a small degree the decade-old dependence on improvised dormitories.

Several years later, Chaplain Matthew J. Killion determined that worship facilities for the institution's Roman Catholic inmates were inadequate. Raffles, bake sales and other fund-raising schemes were bandied about until Correction Officer Frank Walpole suggested the idea of using trading stamps. Father Killion approached the Trading Stamp Institute of America, which agreed to exchange stamps for cash and building materials instead of merchandise.

In February, 1962, a stamp collection drive was launched. Boxes and posters were placed in local stores, and radio stations and newspapers publicized the drive. Eventually, 65,000 books were amassed, nearly sufficient to cover building materials.

An architectural firm donated its services and designed a glass and brick structure to be erected on the inside southeast corner of the yard. An Irish artist sculpted a statue of St. Martin de Porres and shipped it across the Atlantic, and a Jersey City artist painted the stations of the cross. Many inmates and staff also contributed their time and talents.

On June 20, 1964, Francis Cardinal Spellman, Archbishop of New York, dedicated St. Jude's Within the Walls at a ceremony attended by staff inmates and over 300 guests. The beautiful chapel is nationally renowned and a point of interest for visitors as well as a point of pride for employees.

At about the same time, planning of a $10 million construction and refurbishment program commenced.Work on the new administration building, a one-story structure attached at the front of the main building, was underway in 1967. Work began the next year on a new mess hall kitchen, school and auditorium, and receiving and store facilities. The new complex of building, completed in 1972, included above-ground corridors for movement in all weather to arid from the housing and program areas. Soon after, the north hall was modernized to provide a spacious and comfortable visiting room, a medical and dental clinic and up-to-date housing facilities.

In 1982, as part of the DOCS capacity expansion program, a 180-bed medium-security annex was built adjacent to the prison.

First state facility to be accredited

In 1982, Eastern became the first New York state correctional facility to be accredited by the American Correctional Association (ACA).

Many Department officials were unenthusiastic when the subject of applying for accreditation was broached. It implied submission to the standards and judgment of "outsiders;" it would entail costly renovations of the aging physical plant; and finally, the effort carried the risk of failure by all staff.

But Eastern staff did what they always did: it accepted the challenge.

Staff from all areas of the facility, the Unions and inmates were advised of the project and their involvement and support was sought. The spirit of team work was contagious, and virtually the entire work force came to resemble a giant task force.

After a three-day inspection, the ACA's auditors found Eastern in compliance with 100 percent of the mandatory standards and 99.5 percent of the non-mandatory standards, easily exceeding minimum requirements.

Eastern was officially accredited May 19, 1982, becoming the first institution in the state to attain such status.

As a result of the Eastern staff's groundbreaking accomplishment, accreditation was embraced as a system-wide goal. Today, every one of DOCS' 70 facilities is accredited, along with the Training Academy, the Food Production Center, regional medicals units and the correctional industries program.

Modern program innovations

Eastern's history of change and adaptation continues today. In addition to the standard education, counseling and in-house and community work programs, the facility has initiated a variety of new inmate activities. Since 1994, Eastern's annex has been designated as a therapeutic community for inmates with histories of both substance abuse and domestic violence. This unique program was the first of its kind in the United States, and was recognized in 1996 with an award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Another innovative program is the Braille Transcription Unit which furnishes Braille textbooks for visually handicapped public school children. The inmates assigned to this unit gain experience and skills in word processing, computer usage, translating (to Braille), printing and graphics.

In 1984, Eastern created a 30-bed Sensorially Disabled Unit (SDU) to assist visually and hearing impaired inmates to function in a "mainstream" prison setting. Specially trained SDU staff address communication skills, academic education, mobility training and other individual needs as may be identified. Some participants make dog tags in a sheltered workshop environment for issuance by the state.

Eastern operates a correctional industries program producing goods for sale to other correctional facilities, other state agencies, local governments and not-for-profits. The industrial program has two components, together employing over 100 inmates. The Sign Shop and Mattress Shop feature state-of-the-art graphics and manufacturing methods. The programs generate more than $3 million in revenue while providing inmates with work experience in a modern production setting.

Eastern's imposing granite facade was an architectural expression of the state's profound faith in the truth and permanence of the program to be instituted there. For over 70 years, however the faith was wishful thinking and the program was a will-o'-the-wisp; a half-hearted reformatory, a defective delinquent program that faded away and a brief stint as a state-run city jail.

Ready for the challenges of tomorrow

Eastern will enter its second century with a new tradition of stability and excellence. The 1973 designation as a general confinement facility conferred a clear purpose. A firm but humane system of order and discipline was achieved after the successful handling of the 1977 riot. And the need, after 1982, to prepare for reaccredidation every three years imposed administrative vigilance and a spirit of continuous self-criticism, sowing the seeds of programming innovation.
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; 08-22-2011 at 05:47 AM.. Reason: add info
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Manzanita For This Useful Post:
channie512 (03-17-2013), josie5 (01-25-2016), Poug (02-09-2015)
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