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:

Thursday March 7, 2002

Inmate found dead at Elmira Correctional Facility

An inmate at the Elmira Correctional Facility was found dead this afternoon under the bed of the locked single-occupancy cell of another inmate on his cellblock.

The inmate's throat had been cut and he had multiple stab wounds to the torso. No details on his identity will be released until his next of kin has been notified. An inmate perpetrator has been identified, but no identifying details will be released unless or until he is charged in the death.

Nine inmates had returned to their cells on the 40-inmate gallery after lunch at approximately 1:15 p.m. After the inmates were locked in, a Correction Officer couldn't locate the gallery's inmate porter, whose duties included cleaning and maintenance. The officer then began searching the gallery for the inmate porter. Porters are allowed out of their cells to perform their duties while other inmates who do not have afternoon programming are locked in after lunch.

As the Officer looked in one cell at approximately 1:45 p.m., he noticed what appeared to be blood on the inmate's clothing. The Officer summoned assistance, the cell door was unlocked and opened and, during a search of the cell, the inmate porter's body was found under the bed. He was declared dead in the cell.

No weapon has yet been recovered. The cell has been sealed off as an investigation is conducted jointly by the Department's Inspector General and the Division of State Police.

The facility was locked down shortly after 4 p.m. to permit staff to investigate the incident, conduct needed interviews and gauge the mood of the inmate population. All of Elmira's 1,827 inmates will be fed dinner in their cells and all evening programming and other events have been canceled. It is not yet known how long the lockdown will last.

If the county coroner rules the inmate's death a homicide, it would be the first this year in the state prison system which currently houses 67,361 inmates. The last homicide in the system, a stabbing, was on June 16, 2001, at Sing Sing Correctional Facility. The last inmate homicide at Elmira, also a stabbing, was on December 24, 1989.