New York State
1134 New Scotland Road
|Those attending special events at the NYS
DOCS Academy, such as the memorial dedication ceremony [shown above] or graduations, are usually invited to view its collection of artifacts, photographs and records covering two centuries of prison administration in the state.|
|On such occasions, the Academy’s Collections Museum room in the Training Academy lobby, usually kept locked, is opened to the invited guests. It is situated diagonally opposite the memorial name plaques room [shown right with Training Academy Superintendent John Maloy]. Opened in 1981, the museum has been enhanced under Correctional Services Commissioner Glenn Goord. Special event guests visiting the museum receive the following printed information text. Images are from photos taken by NYCHS during a visit after the NYS DOCS employee memorial dedication ceremony.|
Secured by a barred cell door with a wheellock used at Clinton Prison more than 100 years ago, the collection includes:
Standing in the lobby is a statue of Thomas Mott Osborne, prison reformer and warden of Sing Sing in 1914-15 who initiated a controversial experiment in inmate self-government.
Photographs of prison life in the early 20'hcentury are in the Museum and in the hallway off the lobby.
Overview of DOCS History
It was at Auburn and Sing Sing that a system of prison industry and discipline developed that would be embraced by the entire United States. Auburn was the first prison to house inmates in individual cells at night and release them during the day to work in factory settings, with the goal of self-sufficiency through the sale of goods on the open market.
Sing Sing in the 19th century featured brutal disciplinary methods designed to maximize industrial efficiency. In both prisons, inmate labor was contracted out to private manufacturers.
The Contract System of prison management was bitterly opposed, both on humanitarian grounds and as unfair competition to free workers. In 1894, an amendment to the New York State constitution prohibited the use of inmate labor for private gain, restricting the sale of prison goods to state and local government agencies. The State Use System, as it is called, was later adopted by most other states and by the federal prison system.
Auburn and Sing Sing became internationally famous, attracting thousands of tourists (who paid a 25 cents admission fee) and officials from other states and European governments who wished to replicate the New York system. Among the visitors were Alexis de Tocqueville and Gustave de Beaumont, who were sent as representatives of the Republic of France in the early 1830s.
Over the following years, the state prison system gradually grew in size and in diversity. In 1859, New York established the nation's first institution for insane criminals on the grounds of Auburn, later (1892) moving the Asylum for Insane Convicts to Fishkill as the Matteawan State Hospital.
The opening of an adult reformatory in Elmira in 1876 represented another first for the nation. Elmira Reformatory for males was followed by the opening of women's reformatories at Hudson (1887), Albion (1893) and Bedford Hills (1901).
In 1921, New York established the nation's first institution for "defective delinquents" at what is now the Eastern New York Correctional Facility in Napanoch. Ten years later, a similar institution for female defective delinquents was set up at the former women's reformatory at Albion.
1932 saw the establishment of a medium security prison at Wallkill, and the 1950s brought the state's first minimum security institutions in the form of forestry camps operated in conjunction with the State Department of Environmental Conservation.
Effective January 1, 1971, the state's complex of adult correctional facilities was reorganized as the Department of Correctional Services. Nine months later, the most severe prison riot in American history broke out at Attica Correctional Facility. A searching reexamination of correctional practices resulted in a heightened emphasis on educational and other rehabilitative programs including work release.
At about the same time, in the early 1970s, DOCS began to experience a steady and dramatic increase in the inmate population. From about 12,500 inmates in 1972, the census has grown to over 71,000 inmates in the year 2000. The inmates are held in 70 facilities across the state of varying security classifications and program specialties including shock incarceration and intensive drug and alcohol abuse treatment.
DOCS Training Academy
It was not until 1965 that centralized recruit training was resumed, this time on the grounds of Matteawan State Hospital (now Fishkill Correctional Facility) in Beacon. The Beacon Academy offered a three-week training program for correction officers.
In 1973, the DOCS leased the Mater Christi Seminary from the Diocese of Albany and established its current Training Academy there. The property was purchased by New York State in 1987. Today, the Academy delivers approximately two million hours of professional training annually, in the form of initial instruction and ongoing in-service training, to the Department's 32,000 correction officers and civilian personnel.
The Corrections Museum was established in the Training Academy in 1981.