Posts Tagged ‘prisons’

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Prisons in the wilderness

dannemora prison

June 28, 2022, 7 – 8 pm, Free but registration requested.

For nearly two centuries, the remote forestlands and high mountain peaks of the Adirondacks have provided opportunities for middle-class recreation, wilderness adventure, and scientific research. At the same time, those natural characteristics led state and federal authorities to look toward the North Country as a convenient location for a network of prisons. Towns and villages across the Adirondacks have since come to rely on prisons as a source of economic development, employment, and state funding.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Prisons and the North Country: A complex relationship

ray brook prison sign

I’m currently editing a manuscript by a North Country native whose views on climate change have been shaped both by his role as a military scientist and by extensive time in the woods beginning as a boy in his father’s Adirondack hunting camp.

Among the delightful vignettes is a bone-chilling recollection of the fireworks and ice palace on the shores of Lake Flower in Saranac Lake. Was the forty-five minute show worth the ensuing six hours it took to get back some semblance of inner warmth? But of course.

Construction will soon be underway for this year’s ice palace, but going forward one of the more interesting angles of the work may be lost. In the past — interrupted by the pandemic — much of the work has been performed by inmates of the Moriah Shock Incarceration Facility.

Clarence Jefferson Hall Jr., history professor and author of “A Prison in the Woods: Environment and Incarceration in New York’s North Country,” notes that the story of the Adirondacks can’t be told without noting the significance of prison work details.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Prisons, Environment, and Race in the Adirondack Park

lyon mountain
Prisons, Environment, and Race in the Adirondack Park
with Clarence Jefferson Hall Jr.
October 14, 2021 at 5:30 p.m.
This Zoom program is free and open to the public.
Since the 1840s, the Adirondack environment has proven a pivotal factor in the planning, construction, and operation of prisons in the North Country.  Clarence Jefferson Hall Jr. will analyze this phenomenon with a special focus on the role of incarcerated people of color in shaping—and reshaping—the Adirondack landscape.  This talk is adapted from Hall’s first book, A Prison in the Woods: Environment and Incarceration in New York’s North Country, published by the University of Massachusetts Press in November 2020.  Hall is assistant professor in the Department of History at Queensborough Community College / CUNY and visiting instructor in the Department of Social Science and Cultural Studies at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.
Event organized and hosted by Union College. Please click the link to join the webinar: https://union.zoom.us/j/92805641737
Photo: Lyon Mountain Correctional Facility/photo provided

Sunday, October 28, 2018

32 Graduate From NCCC Prison Education Program

NCCC logoMore than thirty students from correctional facilities across the region are the first class of graduates from North Country Community College’s Second Chance Pell program.

The Second Chance Pell Experimental Sites Initiative, launched by the U.S. Department of Education in 2015, provides need-based Pell grants to people in state and federal prisons through partnerships with 65 colleges in 27 states. NCCC is the only two-year college in the State University of New York system to offer Second Chance Pell, which allows non-violent inmates with less than five years left on their sentences to earn an associate’s degree. The goal of the program is to improve their chances of finding employment upon release from prison. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Dannemora Escapee Jack Williams: At First, Too Big to Succeed

DannPicketWall1880As the one-year anniversary of the infamous Dannemora prison break approaches, here’s the story of an inmate linked to a pair of unusual breakouts, excerpted from my book, Escape from Dannemora.

Despite media stories claiming early on that Richard Matt and David Sweat were the first-ever escapees from Clinton Prison, some in the past did it in even more spectacular fashion, and overall, hundreds managed to escape under various circumstances. Among them was Jack Williams, a participant in two Clinton exits involving unusual components featured in no other Dannemora escapes. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Gooley To Speak On Dannemora Prison History

Escape From DannemoraThe Clinton County Historical Association will host longtime Adirondack Almanack contributor and award winning local author Lawrence Gooley on Monday, December 7.

The program will begin with a 7 pm presentation, “Escape From Dannemora: Breakouts, Tortures, and Violence in Clinton Prison’s Past” featuring an overview of Clinton Prison’s history including details of numerous escapes and attempts, routine punishments and profiles of famous and infamous inmates. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Dannemora Prison Break of 1928

dannemora prison before 1930sOn July 29, 1928, Herbert R. Mackie, an inmate at what was then known as Clinton Prison (today called the Clinton Correctional Facility) in Dannemora was being escorted to a practice session for the prison’s band. He told an officer that he had forgotten something, and asked for permission to return to his cell. He was not seen again by prison staff for six weeks.

He was not at liberty during most of that time, however. He was still within the facility, busily digging a tunnel that would be a key part in what seems to have been a carefully planned plot for Mackie to escape the prison with fellow inmate Otto Sanford. » Continue Reading.


Monday, August 3, 2015

Lectures by Prison Historian Planned

moriah-prison-600x381The freedom education and human rights project John Brown Lives! (JBL!) is sponsoring a series of summertime lectures by prison historian C. Jefferson Hall on the historical backdrop, the role of nature, and some of the broader implications of the June 2015 escape of Richard Matt and David Sweat from Dannemora’s Clinton Correctional Facility.

Hall’s talks are part of The Correction, JBL!’s ongoing series of programs and events designed to engage North Country communities in conversation about the impacts of mass incarceration and the need to re-imagine the criminal justice system and local economies. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Recognizing the Adirondacks’ Hidden Diversity

TMDA LogoWilderness advocates in the environmental movement have known for years there is a problem when it comes to diversity and the future of the Adirondacks. We look around the backcountry on an inviting summer weekend and we see people who use, love, and defend New York’s wildest lands. But we don’t see many people of color. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Race To Incarcerate: A Graphic Retelling Event

Race-to-incarcerate-poster-horiz.1000px[10]The public is invited to a special presentation by acclaimed cartoonist Sabrina Jones brought to you by John Brown Lives! and BluSeed Studios: “Race to Incarcerate: Creating Comics for Social Justice” on Thursday, July 31st at 7:30 pm at BluSeed Studios in Saranac Lake.

Jones will discuss her recent book, Race To Incarcerate: A Graphic Retelling and using comics to confront social issues. Jones’ 2013 book is a graphic adaptation of Marc Mauer’s 1999 Race to Incarcerate, a classic examination of the cultural and political history of prisons in the United States. (Mauer is Executive Director of The Sentencing Project, a criminal justice reform organization in Washington.) This presentation is part of The Correction, a John Brown Lives! program to inform the public about prison issues in the North Country. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Friday NCPR Call-In:
The Future of the North Country’s Prison Industry

prison-time_375-300x240Friday morning at 11 o’clock North Country Public Radio will host a live call-in show to talk about the future of the North Country’s prison industry.

With two more prisons set to close in our region this summer, in Franklin and Saratoga counties, people are asking new questions about America’s drug war and about the outlook for prison workers from Ogdenbsurg to Malone to Moriah and Saranac Lake. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Correction: Two Sides of Prison Life

Martha Joe Russell YusefJoe Hackett has spent time in prison. Yes, the well known local guide, columnist, and scout for Seventh Avenue has spent years in jail, not as a inmate, but as a recreation coordinator at Camp Gabriels, a former New York State Minimum Security prison shuttered a few years ago by the state.

Once a tuberculosis sanatorium, the 92-acre facility was sold to the state in 1982, which operated it as a 336 bed-prison until 2009. There many of the prisoners worked on forestry and community service-related, projects, yet not-withstanding, it was prison far, far from home and family for the men housed there. For them the “Dacks” was a cold, hostile and distant place.

The prison was built, as were most in the North Country, as an outcome of the ‘War of Drugs’ and in particular Rockefeller Drugs laws that resulted in mass incarceration and a resultant building boom here because most urban and suburban voters did not want prisons located in ‘their back yards.’ Under the leadership of the late Senator Ron Stafford, such projects were welcomed for the many solid salaries they offered and, as a result, New York Corrections is the largest employer in the North Country.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, September 9, 2013

North Country Prisons: Hard Times in ‘Siberia’

prison-mapIn May 1973, Governor Nelson Rockefeller signed two controversial laws that would change life in the Adirondacks. The Adirondack Park Land Use and Development Plan, which the governor pushed through the state legislature, established new zoning rules for private land that aimed to protect open space and limit residential development. The other law set minimum prison sentences for drug users and pushers.

“I have one goal and one objective, and that is to stop the pushing of drugs and to protect the innocent victim,” the governor insisted, promising that the harsh new penalties would stem the epidemic of cocaine and heroin addiction in New York City.

As it turned out, the Rockefeller drug laws—which also included tough penalties for marijuana use—would rival the land-use regulations in their impact on the Adirondacks. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Brian Mann On The Future Of Local Journalism

prison time media project banner largeSo here’s the sad truth about my life as a journalist working in the Adirondacks.  I wake up pretty much every day here in Saranac Lake wanting you – scratch that, needing you – to do three contradictory things at once.  First, I need you to care about what I do.  Whether I’m reporting on environmental issues, paddling down a river, or pulling together a year-long investigative series about America’s vast prison complex, I need you to share my conviction that these things matter.  In a world of Kardashians, infotainment and blink-and-you-missed it Twitter feeds, those of you who filter past this first step are already the rarest, purest gold.

The second thing I need you to do is put up with the fact that it’s part of my job to be kind of a jerk.  Not always, and not unnecessarily, at least I hope.  But kind of a lot of the time, it’s important for me to be pretty unlikable.  Ben Bradlee, the legendary editor at the Washington Post, was asked once about the backlash he faced for his reporters’ work on Watergate.  He said that their job wasn’t to be liked, but to scrap and dig and prod until they found the truth.  I’m not in Bradlee’s league, obviously.  I’m a small town reporter in rural Upstate New York.  » Continue Reading.


Monday, April 11, 2011

A Search for the ‘Missingest Man in New York’

After NYS Supreme Court Justice Joseph Crater went missing in New York City in 1930, the search led to Plattsburgh and then to the Meridian Hotel, a few feet across the border from Champlain.

Nothing concrete was found in New York’s northeastern corner, but a few days later, Crater was sighted at Fourth Lake in the Old Forge area. He was also “positively” identified as one of two men seen at a Raquette Lake hunting lodge in late August. Two detectives followed that trail, while others were summoned to confirm a sighting at the Ausable Club near Keene Valley.

As if that wasn’t enough, it was announced that Crater had spent a couple of days at Hulett’s Landing on the eastern shore of Lake George, and then at Brant Lake. Police and detectives pursued every lead, while headlines told the story from New York to Texas to Seattle. » Continue Reading.



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