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State spending $2.8M for new cell doors for prisons

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MALONE - Upstate Correctional Facility will be getting some upgrades as part of a statewide initiative to replace outdated cell doors.

According to the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision public information office, 702 doors will be replaced by June 2014 at an approximate cost of $2.8 million. The state Office of General Services will bid the job in late March.

The existing 702 doors contain a 9” x 7” solid Plexiglas window. The new doors will have a larger 23” x 11” checkered crossbar window screen accompanied by an exterior staff-operated sliding window shield made of solid Plexiglas to allow better communication with inmates and better supervision.

Other state prisons getting new doors include maximum-security Five Points and Southport correctional facilities and medium-security Greene and Mid-State correctional facilities. A total of 294 doors will be replaced between all four prisons.

The facility has a total of 750 cells. The remaining 48 received new doors in 2008 as part of a settlement with Disability Advocates Inc. The group had sued the state to get better care for prisoners suffering from mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

In order to carry out the project, Upstate will temporarily move inmates to vacant cells.

Upstate Correctional Facility is a maximum-security prison. Its capacity is 1,500 inmates. On Friday the total population was 1,202. The cells are designed as double-occupancy, but in the case of an inmate with a mental health treatment need, they are single-occupancy.

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