Department of Corrections and Community Supervision

New York State
Department of Correctional Services
Glenn S. Goord, Commissioner

Office of Public Information
[518] 457-8182

For immediate release:

Monday August 14, 2000

Members of the public can tour Eastern Correctional Facility August 26

Members of the public are invited to tour the Eastern Correctional Facility in Napanoch during an August 26 open house commemorating this year's ongoing centennial celebration of New York state's sixth-oldest prison, Commissioner Glenn S. Goord announced today.

Guided tours of the institution - which will give the public a glimpse of "life within the walls" - will be conducted by security staff from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visitors will not come in contact with any inmates while they tour housing units, the mess hall, vocational shops and industrial areas, the facility's bakery and other areas. Visitors also will see Eastern's nationally acclaimed Braille transcription unit, assorted displays featuring historical photos, a video cataloguing Eastern's first 100 years and other interesting artifacts. A variety of commemorative centennial memorabilia also will be available for purchase.

The tours will last about an hour and begin at 9 a.m. Individual tours will be limited to 15 people, and new tours will begin approximately every 10 minutes. All visitors over the age of 18 must have a photo identification in order to be escorted on a tour the facility. Children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Visitors can ask questions during the tour, but cannot bring along any cameras or other recording devices. Light refreshments will be provided.

A separate escorted tour for all members of the media will begin at 11 a.m. August 26 at the main entrance. Media wishing to tour the facility must contact First Deputy Superintendent Susan Connell at (845) 647-7400 by noon on August 25. Media also will be prohibited from bringing cameras and other recording devices on the tour inside the prison, but will be able to take photos and record outside. Media wishing to take photos or shoot video inside Eastern may call the facility to arrange for access on another day.

During the tour, visitors will be able to experience firsthand the rich history that is Eastern, a facility which currently houses 1,247 inmates and employs approximately 600 people.

Original construction on Eastern began in 1894, and the first prisoners arrived at the facility on October 1, 1900. In 1921, Eastern became the Institute for Defective Delinquents. Some 45 years later, due much in part to a new emphasis on civil liberties, Eastern resumed its original function as a reformatory for younger inmates. Since 1973, it has primarily served as a maximum-security prisons for male felons aged 16 and over. A medium-security, 180-inmate annex also is located on Eastern's sprawling grounds.

Eastern is located on Institution Road, just off Route 209 in Napanoch.