Green Haven Correctional Facility

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Green Haven Correctional Facility is a maximum security prison in New York. The prison is located in the Town of Beekman in Dutchess County. The New York State Department of Correctional Services lists the address as Route 216, Stormville, NY 12582. This prison housed New York's execution chamber during the time the state briefly had the death penalty (but never used it) in the post-Furman era.[1][2] New York's electric chair "old sparky" was moved here from the Ossining prison (Sing Sing). It was originally a federal prison and now houses maximum security inmates. Green Haven Correctional Facility also operates a Hot Kosher Food Program;[3] because of this, the prison has a large Jewish population.[4] Yale Law School operates the Green Haven Prison Project, a series of seminars among Yale law students and Green Haven inmates on law and policy issues concerning prisons and criminal law.[5]

Notable inmates[edit]

Correction officer deaths[edit]

There have been at least two deaths of correction officers in the line of duty.

The first was of Donna Payant on May 15, 1981, who disappeared while working at the prison. Her body was later found in a garbage dump 20 miles away, sexually violated and strangled, similar to the bodies of victims of serial killer Lemuel Smith, an inmate at the prison. A bite mark on Payant's chest also matched Smith's tooth pattern. It was determined that Smith had sexually assaulted and strangled Payant in the prison chaplain's office before putting her body in a trash bag and throwing it out with the trash.

On January 31, 2007, a correction officer in Tower One was found dead due to an apparent gunshot wound to the head. Fire and police were dispatched around 10:30 p.m., when they found the hatch to the ladder blocked, they used a Beekman Fire Department ladder truck to break in and get access. The tower was closed for investigation, and the death was deemed a suicide.[8]

Previous lethal injection facility[edit]

Capital punishment was reinstated in New York in 1995, fulfilling Governor Pataki's campaign pledge. In 2004, in People v. LaValle, the New York Court of Appeals struck down the statute as unconstitutional under the New York Constitution (at the time, only two individuals were under a sentence of death). Although several individuals were sentenced to death, none were executed, and the Court of Appeals later commuted the sentence of the final individual under a sentence of death in New York (People v. John Taylor, 2007). In 2008, Governor Paterson ordered the lethal injection equipment removed.

Successes[edit]

The Alternatives to Violence Project was conceived at the prison in 1975 as a workshop.

Bard Prison Initiative[edit]

The Bard Prison Initiative, which seeks to reduce rates of recidivism and offer prisoners college education and tutoring, operates at multiple prisons including Green Haven.

In the media[edit]

Inmates and correctional officers at Green Haven were featured in the PBS Frontline program A Class Divided.[9]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Inmate 99-B-0067" (Archive). New York State Department of Correctional Services. Saturday January 16, 1999. Retrieved on September 2, 2010."Monroe County Sheriff's Department officers transported Mateo at 4:45 a.m. today to the maximum-security Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora in Clinton County, location of the Unit for Condemned Prisoners (UCP) who are male[...]The UCP at Clinton has been physically operable for use since August 31, 1995, the day before the death penalty law took effect, as has a similar three-cell UCP for females at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in Westchester County plus the single-cell death house at Green Haven Correctional Facility in Stormville in Dutchess County. Neither of the two latter units will be staffed until there are inmates on them."
  2. ^ Scott, Brendan. "GOV PULLS SWITCH ON DEATH CELL" (Archive). New York Daily News. July 24, 2008. Retrieved on September 2, 2010. "The Department of Correctional Services has quietly struck from the books a 40-year-old rule that designated the upstate Green Haven Correctional Facility the state’s “Capital Punishment Unit.”[...] Although seven defendants were sentenced to death after then-Gov. George Pataki, a Republican, signed the law, the death house has never hosted an execution.[...]"
  3. ^ Green Haven Correctional Facility Directive 08/13/2013
  4. ^ "A Jewish Ex-Con Recalls Keeping Kosher with the Faithful in Prison". The Daily Beast. 2014-05-11. Retrieved 2014-05-11. 
  5. ^ http://www.law.yale.edu/studentlife/StudentOrganizations.htm
  6. ^ http://www.mobbedup.com/mob-bosses/john-gotti/
  7. ^ Gross, Terry. "Released From Prison, 'Apologetic Bandit' Writes About Life Inside". www.npr.org. Retrieved 1 October 2015. 
  8. ^ "Green Haven guard commits suicide at work". Poughkeepsie Journal. 2007-02-01. Retrieved 2007-02-15. [dead link]
  9. ^ A Class Divided transcript

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°34′49″N 73°43′00″W / 41.58028°N 73.71667°W / 41.58028; -73.71667