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Hawley calls for all state prisons to remain open amid Cuomo's shutdown effort

By Billie Owens

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) is calling for all (54) state prisons to remain open and operating today amid a subtle announcement by the governor late Friday to close three unspecified New York prisons.

The plan was buried in a release of Gov. Cuomo’s 30-Day Amendments as changes to his Executive Budget proposal.

“Closing any state prisons would have dire consequences for public safety and the brave correctional officers who work with our incarcerated population,” Hawley said. “By consolidating the prison population, we run the risk of double bunking inmates and exacerbating the high number of violent attacks against corrections officers we have seen in recent years.

"This is not about a declining prison population, this is about the governor scrambling to save money to cover up his $2.3 billion budget shortfall – a terrible solution for an even worse self-inflicted problem.”

Life on other side of the bars proves very different - and difficult - for Scott Doll

By WBTA News

It's a different world in prison.

If anyone ought to know that, it's Scott Doll. Doll worked nearly 25 years as a corrections officer, and was just three months from a possible retirement in February 2009 -- then he was accused of murdering Joseph Benaquist, a former corrections officer and colleague of Doll's at Wende.

Doll was convicted of the murder May 20, and his life was literally turned upside-down. Doll is now sentenced to 15 years to life in prison, on the other side of the bars. But despite his extensive experience, prison has been anything but easy for Scott Doll.

Doll appeared today in Batavia City Court for continuation of the case against him of Promotion Prison Contraband.

According to his attorney, Dan Killelea, the drive to Batavia was only the sixth time Doll has seen the light of day since he was incarcerated in a downstate prison. It would be even less than that -- except that Doll has been transferred from prison to prison five separate times.

Otherwise, Doll sees little of the outdoors because he is kept in protective solitary confinement, for the simple reason that he's a former corrections officer.

Other long-term prisoners in the state system have invariably been under his watch in the past. Though Killelea says there was never any evidence against Doll for mistreating prisoners (in fact, he's received kind, crediting letters from former inmates), some prisoners simply hold prejudice against all prison guards.

"He's been spit upon, had things thrown at him," says Killelea. "Certainly he's been cursed at."

Killelea says it seems like Doll is shocked at such treatment after he apparently had an incident-free career at Wende as far as prisoner treatment.

Although Doll is kept in solitary confinement when in prison, there is no such protection when on the bus. And as Doll has now had five bus rides between the different prisons, there's been plenty of opportunity for mistreatment -- an opportunity Killelea says the other prisoners have readily taken advantage of.

Of course, other prison guards could stop such abuse if they liked -- but Killelea says that's not likely to happen. Doll is convicted of murdering a former corrections officer, which hasn't been sitting well with the prison guards assigned to watch over him.

"He hasn't been physically abused," Killelea explains, "or if he has, maybe he's not telling me. But they haven't really been making life easy for him, either."

Unfortunately for Doll, there's really no legal route to take to battle such treatment.

"I wish there was something I could do to help him, to try and stop this treatment," says Killelea, shaking his head. "But there's really not."

PHOTO: Dan Killelea, attorney for Scott Doll

Assemblyman Hawley Joins Assembly Task Force Forum on Workforce Issues In Correctional System

By Steve Hawley





Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,I,C-Batavia) today joined Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb (R, C, I – Canandaigua) and members of the Assembly Minority Conference at a forum in Albany to discuss workforce issues in the correctional system.  The New York State Correction Officers, Police Benevolent Association and Public Employees Federation were among the correctional services professionals who provided testimony to the lawmakers.


“The dedicated men and women who work in our correctional facilities are on the front lines, protecting us every day.  It’s about time that Albany take a look at reforming our correctional system from their perspective, and I am pleased to be able to join my colleagues toward that common goal,” said Hawley, who represents a four-county district, which includes three state correctional facilities as well as the federal United States Department of Homeland Security detention facility in Batavia.


            Despite that the state’s maximum security facilities are now operating at 123 percent of capacity, the State Department of Correctional Services plans to close three facilities by July 1, 2009 and another seven by October 1, 2009.  This amounts to the loss of at least 558 jobs, including 473 uniformed staff positions.




Prison worker from Darien charged with inappropriate sexual contact

By Brian Hillabush

A 60-year old Darien Center man has been charged with one count of committing a criminal sexual act in the third degree as well as one count of official misconduct after an investigation into an incident at Albion Correctional Facility.

Samuel E. Williams is receiving the charge after the State Police and Department of Corrections investigated an allegation made by a female inmate in the fall of last year, stating the civilian employee made inappropriate sexual contact.

Williams is scheduled to appear in Albion court on March 24.

News roundup: No more prison farms

By Philip Anselmo

A dozen prison farms across the state will be closed down over the next six months, according to WBTA's Dan Fischer. That includes the farm in Attica. The State Department of Corrections has said that the cost of maintaining the farms exceeds the revenue brought in by the produce. Don't know about anyone else, but I was surprised to hear that these farms still existed.

A JP Morgan Call Center based in Albion will remain open, and its 850 employees will remain at work. Fischer reports that there had been concern over whether the center would remain open after Chase acquired Washington Mutual two months ago.

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