The Better Known Prisons of New York State

New York State is live and vibrant. But life is not always colorful. New York State is home to plenty of prisons with some of the most dangerous inmates.

New York State has many prisons, and a new one is built daily. There’s something for everyone when it comes to prisons in New York State: from maximum-security facilities with prisoners serving life sentences to minimum-security facilities with inmates serving time for misdemeanors.

But which are the best known? The list below details some of the most famous prisons in New York State and some information on their history, and the number of people they hold.

Here are some of the best-known New York State prisons:


Auburn Correctional Facility is a state prison in Auburn, New York. It was established in 1816 and is one of the oldest prisons in the United States. The prison has a capacity of 1,500 inmates and houses both male and female offenders. Auburn is a level 3 facility, which houses inmates considered a moderate risk to the public.

The prison offers a variety of programs and services to its inmates, including educational opportunities and vocational training. Inmates can also participate in substance abuse treatment and anger management programs. There are also religious services available for those who wish to participate.

Auburn has a long history of violence and riots. In 1971, a riot broke out that resulted in the death of one inmate and the injury of dozens more. Just after in 1975, another riot left two inmates dead and several others injured. In recent years, however, the prison has been relatively quiet.


Attica is one of the most famous prisons in New York State and has a long and notorious history. The prison was built in 1930 and opened in 1931, and it quickly gained a reputation for being overcrowded and dangerous. In 1971, a riot broke out at Attica, and more than 1,000 prisoners took control of the prison.

The riot ended when state troopers retook the prison, but not before 43 people (33 inmates and ten guards) had been killed. The Attica riot was one of the deadliest prison riots in American history, and it led to significant changes in how prisons were run in the United States.

Binghamton City Jail

The Binghamton City Jail is in Binghamton, New York. The jail serves the city of Binghamton and the surrounding area. The prison is a medium-security facility that houses both male and female inmates. Inmates in the Binghamton City Jail are held in single or double cells. The jail has a capacity of approximately 200 inmates.


New York is home to some of the most famous prisons in the country, including the Clinton Correctional Facility. In Dannemora, Clinton Correctional is a maximum security prison that houses nearly 3,000 inmates.

The prison has been in the news recently for several high-profile escapes, including a 2015 incident in which two inmates used power tools to cut through their cell walls and make their way to freedom.

Rikers Island

Rikers Island is one of the largest jails in the United States, housing around 10,000 inmates on any given day. The facility has been criticized for its inhumane conditions and treatment of inmates. In 2015, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city would close Rikers Island and build a new set of jails to house inmates.

New York State Prison For Women at Albion

The Albion Correctional Facility is in Orleans County, New York, and houses over 800 female inmates. The prison has been in the news in recent years for its alleged abuse of prisoners. In 2015, the New York Civil Liberties Union released a report detailing allegations of sexual abuse by Correctional Officers at Albion.


Dannemora is a village in Clifton, New York, United States. The population was 1,874 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Plattsburgh Micropolitan Statistical Area. The village was named after an early settler, Daniel Dannemora.

The Clinton Correctional Facility, which has the highest level of security, and the Bare Hill Correctional Facility, which has a medium level of security, are located in this area. The State’s Department of Corrections is in charge of running both of the state’s correctional facilities.

In 2015, two inmates escaped from Clinton Correctional Facility, leading to a three-week chase that captured national attention.


Elmira is a state prison in New York that was opened in 1876. It is a medium-security facility that houses approximately 1,700 inmates. Elmira is a prison known for its tough conditions and has been nicknamed “The Rock” by inmates. The prison is in Chemung County and is surrounded by farmland.

Mid-State Correctional Facility

Mid-State Correctional Facility is a medium-security New York prison that opened in 1987. It houses approximately 1,500 inmates. Mid-State is in Marcy, NY, under the New York Department of Corrections.

Wende Correctional Facility

In the state of New York, the Wende State Prison is a maximum-security prison that first opened its doors in 1975. Approximately 1,700 convicts call this facility home. Wende is a prison that falls to the New York State Department of Corrections. It can be found in Erie County, New York.

Five Points Correctional Facility

Five Points Correctional Facility is a state prison located in New York State. The facility is known for its strict security measures and efforts to rehabilitate inmates. The prison provides various programs and services to its inmates, including education and job training. Five Points also offers a wide range of recreation and leisure activities.

Lakeview Shock Incarceration Correctional Facility

In the state of New York, there is a prison known as the Lakeview Shock Incarceration Correctional Facility. The institution is well-known for its stringent safety precautions and attempts to rehabilitate the individuals housed there.

Education and training for work are only two of the many services and activities available to those imprisoned at the facility. In addition, Lakeview provides a vast selection of opportunities for entertainment and leisure.

Greene Correctional Facility

The Greene Correctional Facility is a state prison in Coxsackie, New York. The prison was opened in 1971 and had a capacity of 1,500 inmates. The facility houses both male and female inmates.

The Greene Correctional Facility offers a variety of programs to its inmates. These programs include education classes, vocational training, and substance abuse treatment. The prison also provides religious services and recreational activities.

The prison has a long history of violence and inmate misconduct. Gangs and drug trafficking have recently plagued the facility. Inmate-on-inmate assaults are also common at the Greene Correctional Facility.

Sing Sing

Sing Sing is a maximum-security prison in New York State. It is located in the village of Ossining on the Hudson River. Sing Sing has been operating since 1826 and currently houses about 1,700 inmates. The prison is known for its strict discipline and its use of solitary confinement.


Sing Sing was built in 1826 to house prisoners from New York City. The prison was originally located on an island in the Hudson River but was moved to its current location in Ossining in 1828.

The prison became known for its strict discipline and its use of solitary confinement. In the early 20th century, the prison was also known for its forced labor. Inmates were required to work in the prison’s industries, which included a woodworking shop, a foundry, and a stone quarry.

In the late 20th century, Sing Sing focused on rehabilitation rather than punishment. Inmates are now offered education, job training, and substance abuse treatment programs.

Famous Inmates

Over the years, Sing Sing has been home to many famous inmates. These include mobster Charles “Lucky” Luciano, singer Billie Holiday, and author Jack Kerouac.

Our Final Thoughts

Sing Sing, Attica, and Rikers Island are the best-known New York State prisons. These three prisons have a long history of housing some of the most notorious criminals in the country. Each prison has its own unique story that has made it famous (or infamous) in its own right.

Sing Sing is one of the oldest prisons in the country, and it has a reputation for being one of the most brutal. Attica is best known for the 1971 riot that left 43 people dead. Rikers Island is New York City’s main jail and has a reputation for being overcrowded and dangerous.

Although New York State is famous for the good stuff, you can’t ignore the bad when it comes to the history of the state.

The McClain Family

We hope we helped. Please let us know of any place that you want to know about in NYS or if we did a poor job with any part of this. Our goal is to help as many people as possible.

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