According to the most recent report released by New York State's Commission of Corrections, these are the five worst prisons in the state. These five are considered the most problematic "repeat offenders" in the report.

The Commission has conducted extensive on-site inspections, interviews, and investigations on a number of local facilities. Several facilities have been found out of compliance more than once, thus endangering the health and safety of inmates and staff members. The Commission has issued numerous corrective action directives and provided staff to closely monitor and assist with the implementation of said corrective action plans. However, despite the Commission’s best efforts, some facilities still fail to meet minimum legal requirements for safe operation.

The five worst prisons in New York are:

- New York City Rikers Island Facilities

Rikers Island continues to be plagued by managerial failures, significant structural problems, regulatory compliance failures, identified deficiencies that remain unaddressed, and unabated harm to both staff and inmates alike.

- Greene County Jail

Although recognizing that facility replacement is important, the Commission’s paramount concern remains with the management and operation of the current facility which, in recent years, has deteriorated to the detriment of inmate and staff safety. Absent demonstrated and immediate improvement of present jail operations, it is foreseeable that the Commission will be forced to institute further enforcement action, to possibly include closure.

- Erie County Holding Center/Correctional Facility

Managerial shortcomings of the Erie County Sheriff’s Office have contributed to numerous serious incidents at the Erie County Holding Center and Erie County Correctional Facility, including inmate escapes, assaults, and deaths. Consequently, the Commission has previously been required to commence enforcement action (i.e., issuance of Directives, applications for Supreme Court order) against the Erie County Sheriff for the failure to correct identified violations of law and compulsory state regulations.

- Dutchess County Jail

For decades, Dutchess County failed to properly plan to provide sufficient capacity at its county jail, resulting in annual expenditures of millions of dollars to board overflow inmates to other county jails, some located more than two hours from Poughkeepsie.

- Onondaga County Justice Center/Penitentiary

Historically, the Sheriff’s downtown Justice Center has experienced overcrowding, often necessitating the boarding of 90 inmates to the Penitentiary. Operationally, the Commission has cited the Justice Center after discovering that mandated officer posts have been routinely abandoned, apparently caused by the administration’s inability to mandate overtime based on unfavorable provisions of the collective bargaining agreement.

Data provided by the New York Commission of Corrections report.

Women and Trans Prisoners Removed From Grave Situation at Rikers Island

New York Governor Kathy Hochul and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that most of the women and trans prisoners currently held at Rikers Island Prison will be removed.  The prisoners will be transferred to two State-run facilities -  the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in Bedford Hills and the Taconic Correctional Facility in Westchester County.  Both prisons are operated by the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, which will now oversee the 230 prisoners.

Governor Hochul recently signed the Less is More Act on September 17, 2021,

This transformative parole reform will restrict the use of incarceration for non-criminal technical parole violations, bolster due process in parole hearings, require parole hearings to take place within a specified time, and provide earned time credit for parole. Less Is More is perhaps the most significant parole reform in the country to date - its impact will be enormous.

The transfers of women and trans people out of the prison started the week of October 18. The NY Department of Corrections will ensure that the individuals' family members are able to visit them at the new facilities.  Daily transportation will be provided from NYC to each of the facilities.

Gov. Hochul spoke about the dire situation at Rikers Island Prison and the need to move the prisoners,

"The situation on Rikers Island is grave and complex, and thus requires bold action from all levels of government to deliver change. I am especially heartened that the State is able to assist some of the most vulnerable populations on Rikers, and today, I am proud to announce the State's agreement with the City to temporarily move the majority of these populations off Rikers and into safer State facilities, and I thank the City for its partnership on this important step. These actions will further help ease staffing concerns, capacity constraints, and improve safety for several hundred detainees until such time that the City can identify and implement a permanent solution that will bring justice to the situation at Rikers."

While the move to the state-run prisons is temporary, Gov. Hochul has charged DOCCS Acting Commissioner Anthony J. Annucci with producing longer-term solutions.

In recent months, Rikers has been plagued by staff shortages linked to absenteeism. The 413-acre jail compound in the East River has been plagued by gangs, drugs and violence for decades and has suffered from mismanagement and neglect worsened by the pandemic and the severe staffing crisis. ~ New York Times

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