Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Convicts around the Corner

Yisroel Besser, Dannemora

The shadow of high prison walls is a constant backdrop to this all-American rural town in northeastern New York, although the locals never gave much thought to their maximum-security neighbors. Until two convicted murderers made a Hollywood-style prison break, which turned their little town into a giant press conference and political powder keg.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The prison was set up in 1844 with the idea of using the inmates as workers in the nearby mines. When the clean Adirondack air cured many tuberculosis patients of their ailments, sick inmates from various other prisons were sent to Clinton County, in New York’s northeastern corner. In time, it would become the largest maximum-security prison in the Empire State. “Everyone you see around this town either works at the prison or has a close family member who does,” saysBob. “It’s very much part of life. This town grew up around the prison.” There are close to 3,000 inmates at Dannemora — so there are jobs in health care, food services, education, and maintenance, along with over 1,000 correctional officers. That said, although the dominating shadow of the high prison walls is a constant backdrop to this otherwise idyllic rural American town, the locals don’t spend too much time contemplating the type of people just behind those walls — more than 90 percent of whom have been convicted of violent crimes. The average stay at the facility is 13 years, more than twice the state mean. “We know that these are scary fellows, and we don’t spend too much time thinking about their presence. It’s not like they come over the walls to do their shopping around town, like we see them in line at the bank.”

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

No Misunderstandings
Rabbi Moshe Grylak Hashem revealed the secret of a balanced life
What Was the Court’s Rush?
Yonoson Rosenblum The Democratic Party’s descent into madness
Survey? Oy Vey
Eytan Kobre How could YAFFED promote such a farce?
Filling the Void
Rabbi Henoch Plotnik Jewish leaders don’t need to be declared or coronated
Top 5 Ways We Remember Our Rebbeim (and we love them for it!)
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin An ode to these pivotal people in my life
Hanging On in Newark
Rabbi Nosson Scherman Rabbi Nosson Scherman remembers the shul of his youth
A Fine Kettle of Fish
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman The “minor” chasadim are often the most meaningful
The Next Hill
Jacob L. Freedman The look on Malachi’s face nearly broke my heart
Tradition and Modern Meet in One Long Dance
Riki Goldstein Fusing tradition and modernity comes naturally to him
A Playlist for Shabbos
Riki Goldstein What does Moshy Kraus sing at the Shabbos table?
With Flying Colors
Riki Goldstein My 15 seconds of fame on the Carnegie Hall stage
Full Faith
Faigy Peritzman With emunah, everyone’s obligation is the same
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Silence isn’t always golden
The Only One
With Rav Moshe Wolfson, written by Baila Vorhand Within every Jew is the flame of instinctive emunah