Downstate is a maximum-security prison located along the north side (i.e. westbound) of Interstate 84. Downstate serves primarily as a classification center, as it is the first stop for all new inmates entering the New York State prison system. New inmates typically wait at Downstate for a few weeks before they are assigned to a permanent facility. As the vast majority of inmates in New York State come from New York City, the Town of Fishkill (in southern Dutchess County) was chosen due to its proximity to the greater New York metropolitan area. It first opened in 1979.