Prisons get hearing over escape, homicide
Dec 04, 2015 12:03 am
Matthew Hamilton reports in The Albany Times-Union the state Assembly's Correction Committee on Wed., Dec. 2, "heard from a parade of speakers about the need for more independent oversight of the state prison system." Lawmakers were looking into a recent high-profile escape and homicide in two state prisons, and considering an independent ombudsman for the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision. Only activists who wanted change spoke at this hearing, with state prison officials, state Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott's office and the state correctional officers union all no shows. State officials said they would comment after investigations into the June escape from Clinton Correctional Facility and the death in April of Samuel Harrell, an inmate at Fishkill Correctional Facility, were completed. The New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association, the corrections union, only released a statement from President Michael Powers in an advertisement that blasted Correction Committee Chair Daniel O'Donnell. "Unfortunately for Assemblyman O'Donnell, grandstanding won't make our prisons any safer. Rather than vilifying the law enforcement officers, we need leaders to get serious about breaking up the high-tech crime cartels inside our prisons," Powers said. Michael Mushlin, a professor of law at Pace Law School, commented, "In the state of New York, we need (oversight), we don't have it." Read the full story in the Albany Times-Union.