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:

Tuesday August 15, 2000

Members of the public can tour new Five Points Correctional Facility Aug. 26

The public is invited to tour the new Five Points Correctional Facility in the town of Romulus during an August 26 open house, several days before the first rounds of inmates are scheduled to arrive at the 1,500-bed maximum-security facility, Commissioner Glenn S. Goord announced today.

Five Points represents the culmination of Governor George E. Pataki's 5,000-bed maximum-security expansion of prison space, the largest such expansion in state history. Governor Pataki's criminal justice initiatives have contributed to record decreases in crime across New York state. These new facilities provide the state with the space to house violent offenders in a manner that is safe and secure for the public, employees of this Department and the inmate population. These facilities also offer inmates access to the academic, vocational, drug treatment, counseling and other services that they will need to be successful when they are released and returned to our streets.

Guided tours of the institution - which will give the public a close-up glimpse of New York's 70th correctional facility - will be conducted by uniformed and non-uniformed staff from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visitors will tour housing units, the mess hall, the gymnasium, the visiting area, the prison commissary, outside recreation yards and other areas.

The tours will last about 45 minutes and begin immediately following a brief ceremony including Commissioner Goord and Senator Michael Nozzolio, R-Fayette, chairman of the Senate committee on Crime Victims, Crime and Corrections. Individual tours will be limited to 20 people, and new tours will begin approximately every 15 minutes. All visitors over the age of 18 must have a photo identification in order to be escorted on a tour of 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. Refreshments will be available.

A separate escorted tour for the media will begin at 10:30 a.m. on August 26. Media wishing to tour the facility must contact First Deputy Superintendent William Lape at (607) 869-5111, extension 2100, 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 Five Points may call the facility to arrange for access on another day.

Five Points is located off of Route 96 in the town of Romulus on the grounds of the former Seneca Army Depot. It will have 640 full-time staff and an annual operating budget of $25 million.

"Governor George Pataki's decision to expand our system with the construction and opening of the 1,500-bed Upstate Correctional Facility in Malone and now Five Points helps address the need for more maximum-security cells to house those violent offenders who will be serving longer sentences under his 1995 'Truth in Sentencing Law' for repeat violent felony offenders, as well as under Jenna's Law," said Commissioner Goord. "Additionally, we have been able to enhance security inside all of our prisons through our increased ability to segregate disruptive and violent inmates from staff and other inmates."

Unlike the similarly-configured Upstate prison, which primarily serves as a disciplinary housing facility, Five Points will house mainly general confinement inmates and offer a full range of educational and vocational programming as well as other activities afforded inmates in other prisons throughout the state. Only 150 of its beds will be used as disciplinary housing.

Five Points consists of five identical housing units of 150 double-occupancy cells. The 750 cells were specifically designed for double occupancy and have 105 square feet of interior space, making them the largest in the prison system. Each cell is equipped with a toilet and sink, and a facility-controlled shower. At only two stories, the housing units adhere to Commissioner Goord's direction that the facility maintain as low a profile as possible. The facility cost $180 million to design and construct.

The facility also contains an administration building, comprehensive mental health facility, educational and vocational building, recreation yard, infirmary, visiting building, gymnasium, mess hall and other support units. In all, the project entailed construction of a 23-building complex on a vacant 710-acre site.

Five Points is expected to reach its full capacity of 1,500 inmates by the end of the year.