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NY COs demand safer prisons

Corrections officers in the oldest operational prison in the country are demanding New York officials make the prison safer


By CorrectionsOne Staff

AUBURN, N.Y. — Corrections officers in the oldest operational prison in the country are demanding New York officials make the prison safer. 

 The Auburn Correctional Facility, which houses more than 1,000 inmates, ranks second in the state for most incidents with 450 in 2017, WSTM-TV reports. Officers said attacks on COs and inmate possession of contraband weapons have made the facility feel unsafe.

Dave Tessmer, a representative for the New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association, says the old building gives inmates more opportunities to break rules and escape.

"Potentially, you could have another uprising to the magnitude of Attica," Tessmer said. "All the markers are there, the incidents are there, the ability for staff to identify and isolate the problem inmates is difficult."

While staff assaults are down from years past, union members said they want better tools from the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision to protect themselves. During a six-month period in 2017, 25 staff members at the facility were assaulted.

Tessmer said other prisons in the state have experienced similar issues.

"The morale is very low inside these prisons. The people, the men and women that walk inside these prisons everyday don't feel like the department, nor the governor, have our backs and how we do our jobs every day," Tessmer said.

The DOCCS said it consistently reviews policies to ensure staff and inmate safety. Officials said the CO to inmate ratio in New York’s prisons is among the lowest in the country, with one CO for every three inmates.

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