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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 10-26-2004, 06:56 PM
Manzanita's Avatar
Manzanita Manzanita is offline
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Thumbs up Sullivan Correctional Facility

Sullivan Correctional Facility
Box 116, Riverside Drive
Fallsburg, New York 12733-0116

(845) 434-2080

(Sullivan County)

Maximum Male

Visitation Hours: visiting hours: every day 9am to 3pm and all holidays

Visiting Rules: it's pretty relaxed in there. The COs don't really hassle you there too much.

Visiting Room: theres rows A through H and 5 tables longs. there's two columns. Big windows and outside.

Lodging: I think there's a Days Inn or something around there.

Prison Web Site: not that I'm aware of.

Prison Picture: sorry

FRP available: Yes

Opened: 1985, Capacity: 834 male (A), Adult Correctional Institutions, Employees: 462, Cost of care: $71.49 per day

General Information:

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

'A spirit of mutual respect'

Sullivan Superintendent James Walsh recently got a letter from a presumably well-traveled inmate, just returned from Rikers Island. The inmate wrote that he was glad to be back because the view from Sullivan's visiting room is "the best in the state."

It just might be.

The visiting room looks down over the Neversink River valley and out across a sweeping panorama of colorfully wooded hills and dales. And what the inmate might not know, but his visitors do, is that getting to the visiting room is also a treat. Visitors pass by a tastefully decorated memorial to deceased employees and walk to the reception building where they are processed into the institution. From there, they proceed up the flower-lined walkway to a modern, bright low-rise building with a glass front. Inside, from the uncluttered, high-ceilinged and airy lobby, they go one flight up to the visiting room. From here, they can look back out over the route they just traversed and beyond, into the foothills of the Catskill Mountains.

There is nothing false about the soothing front presented to visitors. A relaxed, low-key feel, remarkable in a maximum-security prison, envelops Sullivan, from the main entrance all the way back to the truck gate at the rear. The feel is partly attributable, perhaps, to its open, non-intimidating look and scenic surroundings. Mostly, though, it is the fruit of an attitude, created and nurtured by the staff and felt and shared by the inmates. There is a spirit of mutual respect here that is evident in Sullivan's sustained operation of programs for several groups of men with special problems: developmental disabilities, psychiatric and emotional disabilities, sight and hearing impairments. These men, who would in many prison settings be prime candidates for victimization, routinely intermingle with the general population -and they are not victimized. On the contrary, many general population inmates watch out for them, informally or formally as interpreters and mobility guides.

Done deal undone leads to Sullivan

Throughout the 1970's, the state prison population had been rising steadily. To house the additional inmates, the state pursued a strategy of acquiring existing institutional structures (psychiatric hospitals, Division for Youth homes and Drug Abuse Control Commission rehabilitation centers) and converting them to prison use. The jewel in the crown was to be the 5,000-bed Rikers Island complex, which the city of New York had agreed to lease to the state for 99 years. But then, in 1980, the city suddenly changed its mind. Perforce, DOCS hurriedly came up with an alternate plan, one component of which was the construction of a new prison in Sullivan County.

DOCS already owned a suitable property. In the early 1930's, the state purchased about 850 acres of farmland to build Woodbourne. The prison and farming operations were concentrated at the north end of the property. The acreage on the south end, too hilly for farming, was largely unused for half a century, until DOCS decided to build there.

The new prison would be built on a hillside about a fifth of a mile east of Riverside Drive. There was only one problem: the elevation of the chosen site was over 200 feet above the highway, too severe a grade for an entry road. The solution was to acquire adjoining land, where the slope leveled off, just to the south.

The adjoining property, the 62-acre Liebowitz Pine View Hotel, was purchased in 1983 for $112,000. The once-stately Pine View was still in business when the deal was struck but, like many other Borscht Belt hotels in Sullivan County, the resort was in decline and beginning to fall into disrepair. So in need of beds was DOCS, however, that the old hotel buildings -bought only because they came with the land for the road -were opportunistically put to use for inmate housing.

Initially, the Pine View operation was administered by Woodbourne and known sometimes as the Woodbourne Annex, sometimes as Camp Fallsburg. But the next year, when Sullivan opened, the annex was transferred to the new prison. Not only is the annex adjacent to the Sullivan property, but its transfer to Sullivan would provide a cadre of reduced security inmates for grounds-keeping and other outside work, without handicapping Woodbourne. Woodbourne, classified as a medium-security prison, would always be able to find such inmates in its general population; Sullivan, destined to hold high profile serial killers and Brinks robbers, never. And so the Pine View Hotel became the Sullivan Annex.

Though construction was not yet completed, Sullivan's "main" campus received its first inmates on August 8, 1985. There had been a small disturbance at Wyoming, a cookie cutter medium with a limited special housing capacity, and three busloads of disruptive inmates were sent to Sullivan. They were keeplocked in two of the four cellblocks (D and E) while contractors continued work on the other blocks and program and support areas. A third cell-block (B-Block was completed in late November and the last block (A) opened the day after New Year's Day, 1986. Sullivan soon reach its full capacity of 512 general confinement cells. It also has a 24-cell Spec Housing Unit (SHU) and a 12-bed Psychiatric Satellite Unit, for a total of 548 By double-celling, the population is usually boosted to between 560 and 580.

The prison has seen only one Structural change. In early 1997, a new medica1 building opened. The medical building, designed and constructed for compatibility with the original architecture extends out from the front of the institution a short distance from the main entrance.

The annex, on the other hand, has had a complete make-over. When DOC took ownership, the Pine View Hotel consisted of a sprawling, five-story main building, a two-story guest house call the Evergreen and a pool house. Only the pool house still stands, minus the swimming pool; it is now a combination infirmary and maintenance building.

The annex opened on July 26, 1984, a year before the ill prison, with the placement of 132 minimum-security inmates the Evergreen. Later, additional beds were placed in the dining room of the main hotel building. When the dining room floor started giving way in 1989, the inmates were moved into a new metal barracks building. The crumbling old hotel was razed and, in 1995, two new prototype housing units with 240 be were erected in its place. Evergreen, too, was then demolished and the metal barracks was converted to a kitchen and mess hall.

Rings around the light-house: Sullivan's architecture

Most of Sullivan's neighbors have never seen the new- prison in their midst. It is completely hidden behind thick woods. "Warning -no trespassing -state prison" signs, in English and Hebrew, are posted all along Riverside Drive, deterring hikers, and sightseers from tramping at will over prison property.

For obvious security reasons -safety, custody and contraband prevention -prison personnel must control the borders. It is a pity, though that there is no outside observation point from where the public might gaze on Sullivan, because it is visually interesting departure from traditional prison architecture. It is built the side of a hill (it is hard to find level ground in this part of the world) and rises steadily from the front to theback. The low, flat-topped buildings, on three ascending levels, present a terraced appearance, like ancient Incan cities pressing against the Andes.

The most distinctive feature of the prison, designed by noted justice architecture specialist Peter Krasnow, is that it is in the shape of a perfect circle. From the air, Sullivan looks like an archery target. The bull's-eye is a circle of buildings with curving outer surfaces connected by a curving wall. Spreading out from the bull's-eye in concentric rings are the security layers: a grassy buffer zone, an inside road, a double row of perimeter fences, another grassy ring and, surrounding all, the outside perimeter patrol road.

The institution proper, about 800 feet in diameter and nearly half a mile around, is divided into five parallel, stripe-like sections, three stripes ofbuildings separated by two stripes of open space. The arc-like section across the front of the prison is called the south complex; it is matched by a symmetrical north complex at the back. In between, the long row of cell-blocks runs across the middle of the circle.

The south complex -a single structure -holds the visiting room, with administrative offices on one side and the special housing unit and a draft processing area on the other side. The even larger north complex includes the kitchen, the gymnasium, a conference room, office space, a non-denominational chapel and a mosque, classrooms and vocational shops, the state shop, the barber shop and the commissary.

Two long corridors crisscross the facility. One corridor leads from the south complex straight back to the north complex; the other runs along the center line through the cell-blocks. Just north of where the corridors intersect, slightly off-center, is the security or sentry tower. The tower, a 70-foot tall cylindrical structure resembling a lighthouse, commands a 360-degree view of the facility and surrounding country-side and is -like Sullivan's circular design -unique among the 70 institutions in the DOCS system.

Pod housing: security with a human face

Housing at Sullivan is in four cell-blocks, designated A, B, D and E. (Original plans called for five blocks but funding for C block was never approved; the C space is now taken up with a garden on one side of the corridor and, on the other side, with modular houses for the Family Reunion Program.) Each block consists of two symmetrical units, located on either side of the corridor and designated as A-north and A-south and so on.

The eight housing units are in the pod style, a popular strategy for breaking up large institutions into smaller, more manageable units with a humane, community "feel." Housing is on two floors in a triangular configuration. Each cell looks across, at a comfortable distance, to the cells on the other sides, lessening the gloomy after-hours isolation of old-style cell configurations. The Sullivan pod is like a neighborhood, where people need only to look across their yards to reassure themselves that they are not alone in the world.

The open space inside the triangle is an airy, split-level court, with tables and chairs for dining, program activities and relaxation. Each unit has a small kitchen, a small outdoor space and a sub-level with space for offices and inmate programs.

The self-contained pods are ideally suited for the high security inmates sent to Sullivan (87 percent are under sentence for violent felonies, and 60 percent are doing life). The open triangular layout facilitates surveillance and supervision from the comer Officer's station. The similar ability of the inmates to see what is and what is not going on after evening lock-down tends to reduce speculation and distrust, and this is surely a stabilizing factor. Still another security advantage is the ability to seal off any unit in an emergency. In fact, since inmates eat on the units (Sullivan has no mess hall), and since each pod has its own program space, one or all could be sealed indefinitely with relatively minor disruption of normal routines.

Special populations

The pod arrangement is especially conducive to the creation of sub-populations such as the Intermediate Care and Special Needs units that have operated at Sullivan since 1988 and 1991, respectively. Each unit occupies a 64-bed pod housing unit, and each offers therapy and other special programming in the sub-level under the living area. ICP and SNU inmates are not necessarily restricted to the pods, however. Many are able to participate alongside general population inmates in recreation, religious and educational programming.

The Intermediate Care Program (ICP), operated in conjunction with the state Office of Mental Health (OMH), provides a structured rehabilitative program for inmates suffering from chronic mental disabilities. Inmate patients on the unit are not actively psychotic or dangerous. They do not meet the criteria for commitment to Central New York Psychiatric Center, but they are not well enough to function in the general population of a correctional facility. ICP programs include standard individual and group therapeutic counseling and a Psychiatric Rehabilitation Program pioneered at Sullivan and since replicated in ICP's at other DOCS facilities. "Psychiatric Rehab" consists of 10week sessions dealing with issues such as symptom management, anger management, drug abuse, dealing with stressful situations, communication and community awareness.

OMH also operates a Psychiatric Satellite Unit at Sullivan. The 12 bed satellite unit provides intervention in acute outbreaks of illness, and also serves as an observation and diagnosis unit to determine whether an inmate is in need of commitment to Central New York Psychiatric Center.

The Special Needs Unit (SNU) houses inmates who are developmentally disabled and need enhanced counseling and supervision within the institutional setting as well as in preparation for release. Management of the SNU is interdisciplinary, with DOCS security, guidance, education and recreation personnel, assisted by inmate program assistants, operating as a team.

SNU inmates often have deficiencies in daily living and social skills. Many begin their day with the ADL (Activities of Daily Living) program. ADL is a closely monitored program that assists inmates with basic skills such as showering, dressing, laundering clothing and cell upkeep. Another program, called Life Skills, is geared toward preparation for release; Life Skills teaches primary independent living skills such as cooking, cleaning, shopping, money use and accessing transportation. The vegetable garden between Band D blocks, shared with ICP inmates, is incorporated in the Life Skills program. Additionally, there is a sheltered workshop where inmates (mainly SNU) have the opportunity to be involved in an actual work production environment but receive enhanced support, training and guidance.

SNU inmates are also involved in therapeutic recreation as well as standard DOCS programs, such as Aggression Replacement Training and substance abuse treatment, adapted for their needs.

ICP and SNU participants are referred from DOCS facilities across the state. There is no prescribed or standard length of stay. When the treatment team feels an inmate is ready, he will in most cases be conditionally assigned to general population housing and programs, where unit staff can keep an eye on him and assist him in making the transition.

Sullivan is also one of the DOCS facilities specifically designated to provide reasonable accommodations, pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act, for sensorially disabled inmates. Hearing and visually impaired inmates, approximately 25 at this writing, occupy cells on the D North pod. Special programs are provided in the Resource Center on the unit's sub-level. Inmates also participate in general population programs, often assisted by Inmate Program Associates.

For about a half -dozen years, a staff interpreter and a trained inmate interpreter have taught a class in American Sign Language. Students from the general population learn sign language and are then assigned to work with hearing impaired inmates, "shadowing" them through academic, vocational and other programs offered to the general population.

The Annex: farming and community service

While Sullivan was under construction, inmates from neighboring Woodbourne were placed in the old resort hotel down the hill, which for convenience was temporarily managed as an annex to Woodbourne. Then, when the new Sullivan prison opened, it assumed management of the annex. Since annex inmates were already manning the farm and horticulture facilities, these programs and nearly all the former Woodbourne property were likewise transferred to Sullivan.

Sullivan's dairy farm has 65 registered Holstein cows which produce an average of 24,500 pounds of milk each year, highest of any farm in Sullivan County. The pasteurizing plant (which serves Eastern and Wallkill as well as Sullivan) processed 1.5 million quarts of milk in 2000. As a by product of milk processing, the plant also produces about 38,000 quarts of heavy cream and 120,000 pounds of butter. Twice a week, milk and other dairy products are delivered to Sullivan and 12 other DOCS facilities.

The farm includes a horticultural component -more agriculturally focused than vocational horticulture programs at other facilities -which operates out of the old Woodbourne piggery. Inmates plant about 15 acres of garden crops, principally potatoes. This year, Sullivan harvested about 350,000 pounds of potatoes for distribution to prisons and to food pantries in Albany, Kingston, Newburgh and the immediate area.

Like its vocational counterparts, the horticulture program, also grows thousands of flowers used in landscaping at Sullivan, Woodbourne and other DOCS facilities. As a community service, the program regularly contributes flowers to neighboring towns and villages and not-for-profit community agency, Last year, flowers were donated to at least 60 different group who participated in "Sullivan Renaissance," a summer-long county-wide beautification project. In one special project, a patriotic gesture growing out of the September 11, 2001, terror destruction of the World Trade Center, staff and inmates planted flowers to spell out "U.S.A." in a traffic island in the village of Woodbourne.

Annex inmates are regularly assigned to standard community service projects such as brush removal and painting for local governments and not-for-profit agencies. A crew separates recyclables daily at the Sullivan County Landfill. Four crews are assigned to work with the state Department of Environmental Conservation in Tivoli and Bellayre state parks, at fishing access sites on the Delaware River and other state properties.

And though the maximum-security inmates are confined the main campus, they, too, perform community service work from inside the prison walls. Inmates enrolled in the vocational Building Maintenance program make picnic benches for the State Police Academy, for example, while others, in an ongoing project, make colorful wooden soldiers for the town of Cochecton Beautification Committee.
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; 02-27-2005 at 08:42 AM..
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