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But even after accounting for these elements, the disparities in discipline persisted, The Times found. The disparities were often greatest for infractions that gave discretion to officers, like disobeying a direct order. In these cases, the officer has a high degree of latitude to determine whether a rule is broken and does not need to produce physical evidence. The disparities were often smaller, according to the Times analysis, for violations that required physical evidence, like possession of contraband. Racial inequities at the front end of the criminal justice system — arrest, conviction and sentencing — have been well documented.
The degree of racial inequity and its impact in the prison system as documented by The Times have rarely, if ever, been investigated. Nor are these issues systematically tracked by state officials. But for black inmates, what happens inside can be profoundly damaging. And each denial is likely to mean two more years behind bars. A Times analysis of first-time hearings before the State Board of Parole over a three-year period ending in May found that one in four white inmates were released but fewer than one in six black inmates were.
Even well-run prisons are dangerous. There are more than 50, inmates doing time at 54 prisons around the state for a range of crimes, from petty theft to multiple murders. Many interviewed by The Times, like Ibrahim Gyang, who is serving 25 years to life for killing a gang rival, were confined at maximum-security prisons. He acknowledged that inmates needed guards to keep order and protect them from being preyed on by the most violent among them.
The largely white work force comes from places in northern, western and central New York like Elmira, Malone, Rome and Utica. In these communities, prisons are often seen as political spoils, fiercely protected by upstate politicians for the jobs they provide. With the disappearance of manufacturing upstate, prisons provide many of the middle-class jobs factories once did. They are fueled by a steady supply of inmates, mostly black or Latino, who are shipped north, far from the urban areas where they grew up.
Blacks and whites are treated more equitably in some of the prisons close to the city, including Sing Sing Correctional Facility in Ossining, less than an hour by train from Grand Central Terminal. There were no disciplinary disparities between whites and blacks at Sing Sing, according to a Times review of the 1, violations issued to inmates there for breaking prison rules. Inmates interviewed at prisons around the state said that if they had to do time in a maximum-security facility, Sing Sing would be the best place.
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On the cellblocks, it is a foregone conclusion that the disciplinary system is rigged. The uniformed staff is given almost total control over the process. Inmates almost always lose.
At disciplinary hearings, inmates won only about 4 percent of the cases in , according to the department. The Times analyzed 59, disciplinary cases from last year. Systemwide, black inmates were 30 percent more likely to get a disciplinary ticket than white inmates. And they were 65 percent more likely to be sent to solitary confinement, where they are held in a cell 23 hours a day. Last year, black inmates got 1, tickets that resulted in or more days in isolation; white inmates received tickets that had similarly long sentences.
Department officials said there were marked improvements in the past few years, thanks to a settlement the state had signed with the New York Civil Liberties Union that brought in a federal expert to oversee efforts aimed at reducing the use of solitary confinement. Between April and October of this year, the share of solitary prisoners who were African-American had decreased to 57 percent, from 64 percent, said Mr. Mailey, the department spokesman. Pendergrass said. There has been resistance from the rank and file. Solitary confinement is only one piece of the disciplinary process that had a disparity, The Times found, and it is unclear whether the settlement will affect other elements of the system.
Some of the starkest evidence of bias involves infractions that are vaguely defined and give officers the greatest discretion.
For every black prisoners, guards issued 56 violations for disobeying orders, compared with 32 for every whites, according to the analysis. For smoking and drug offenses, which require physical evidence, white inmates, who make up about a quarter of the prison population, were issued about a third of the tickets. Inmates have the right to appeal to an outside court and be represented by a lawyer — if they can find one willing to take their case; they almost never do.
Ibrahim Gyang said in an interview that at one of his disciplinary hearings, an officer called as a witness had to reread the ticket because he could not remember the case. And Mr. Gyang still lost. It is not just that blacks fare worse: Whites are more likely to get a break. The murderers, Richard W.
Livingston Correctional Facility among NYS prison closures
Matt and David Sweat, both white, got the tools they needed to cut through walls and piping because of friendships they had developed with an officer and a civilian employee, both white. On Oct. Richard, who is serving a life sentence for murder. When Mr. Richard refused to remove them, he said, Officer Poupore and several other guards jumped him. In their internal reports, the officers said Mr. Richard punched them several times and had to be subdued. After the encounter, Officer Poupore had a minor injury, according to the medical report, while the other officers had none.
The medical report said Mr. Richard had bruises all over his body, including his face, under his ear and on his back.
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He had trouble walking, the report said. His glasses were broken. He was found guilty of assault and spent the next six months in solitary confinement. Assault on prison workers may seem like a straightforward infraction, but a closer look reveals a disturbing pattern. There were 1, such violations issued in the state system last year. Black men received 61 percent of them, while white men received 9 percent. Under department rules, officers have considerable leeway over what constitutes an assault. An inmate need not cause an injury or even touch an officer.
The Times reviewed reports of assaults on staff from the first quarter of , obtained through a Freedom of Information Law request. It also redacted most information about injuries, but in several cases, The Times was able to obtain medical records through the prisoners. Among those reports, the cases of three black inmates — Darius Horton, Paul Sellers and Justin Shaw — followed the same pattern: All were involved in seemingly trivial disagreements with guards that led to minor altercations.
And while it is hard to know who was responsible for escalating the episodes, the officers were not injured and remained on duty, while the inmates were punished with long stints in isolation. Sellers refused and grabbed the shirt of the officer, who punched him in the face. He was sent to solitary for days. Horton was caught by Officer Michael Stamp at Groveland carrying a bowl of hot water from the microwave for coffee after the common room had closed. The officer ordered Mr.
Horton to leave it, he refused and they got into a shouting match and bumped shoulders, according to the report. The guard claimed that Mr. Horton then punched him. In an interview, Mr. Horton denied this, saying he was jumped by Officer Stamp and six other guards.
Two of the officers had minor injuries; the other five were unharmed. Horton was sentenced to days in isolation. How much race figured in these three encounters — if it did at all — is hard to know.ehopaqim.ga
The Jail Next Door: A Look at the 14 Correctional Facilities in New York’s Neighborhoods
The guard in Mr. Shaw said the officer might have just been having a bad day. For Mr. Horton, there was no doubt that race was at play when, as he told it, he was handcuffed and beaten by seven officers, all of them white. As the union negotiates a new contract, billboards in the Albany area have shown officers with neck braces, strapped to stretchers.
Assaults on staff members have increased in recent years.
There were cases recorded in , some involving more than one inmate, compared with in , according to department data. More recently, assaults on staff were down by 16 percent between January and October of this year, compared with the same period last year, the department said. Union officials did not comment on the racial disparities in discipline that The Times found. Inmates claim that officers regularly provoke altercations that are classified as assaults, including taunting them with racial slurs or touching them inappropriately during a pat frisk.
Over all, black men were punished seven times as often for pat-frisk infractions as white men, and among inmates under 25, blacks received tickets, while whites got only If an inmate is startled and pulls a hand off the wall, the officer has a green light to use force. When a corrections sergeant stopped Rashief Bullock on his way back from breakfast at Attica Correctional Facility in January , it was not for breaking a prison rule.
That should have been no surprise. The sergeant wrote in his report that he conducted a pat frisk and found nothing but then, as they were heading back to his cell, Mr. Bullock suddenly punched him in the face with his left fist. Bullock, who is right-handed, denies hitting anyone. Wherever the truth lies, the incident report makes it clear that no one was hurt and that all six officers involved remained on duty. Even so, Mr.
Bullock was found guilty of assaulting an officer and spent six months in solitary confinement. All phone calls outgoing from this facility will be recorded with the exception of phone calls that are privileged or restricted for example - attorney calls. If the party accepts the call, GTL makes the final connection so the inmate and called-party can talk. How Does It Work? Benefits: Customers can rest assured that collect call charges will not reach an excessive amount.
All transactions occur in real time. Accounts that remain inactive for more than 90 days are automatically dissolved. For more information, click on the following link to go to GTL's website. Billing Questions: Including: Paying your inmate telephone bill, blocking guidelines, etc.
Billing Inquiry Staff Telephone: This facility now has computerized commissary ordering provided by Swanson Services Corporation. Family and friends of incarcerated individuals can also now conveniently use credit or debit cards to directly and automatically place money into that inmate's commissary account. You can order from Smart Deposit at any time day or night. To place funds on a recipient account, follow these steps:. Follow the prompts — depending on the selection made, you will follow different paths. Please read each prompt carefully.