Prisons

  • The Department of Correctional Services is the largest executive agency in the State. It costs $2.5 billion annually to operate. It employs more than 31,000 staff.
  • There are over 65 state prisons in New York. 55 of these prisons are in rural areas. 40 of these prisons are located North and/or West of Albany.
  • 75 percent of people in New York State’s prisons come from just seven neighborhoods in NYC.
  • During the 1990s, a prison opened somewhere in rural America every 15 days. Today there are over 350 rural communities in the United States that are home to a state or federal prison.
  • Today there are approximately 7,000 empty prison beds throughout the state prison system. 5,000 of those beds are actively being supervised by Corrections employees.
  • Crime and incarceration rates have been dropping steadily in New York State since 1999.
  • The staunchest support for criminal justice policies that require long prison sentences and high incarceration rates comes from politicians whose districts include prisons and prison jobs.
  • Today one in every 31 Americans is under correctional supervision – in prison or jail, on parole, or on probation. In total, the U.S. government spent $47 billion on the prison system in 2008 alone.

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