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Suffolk Notebook: New $185M Jail Opens

First of 440 inmates transfered to new Yaphank facility that is designed to ease overcrowding in Riverhead jail.

Suffolk County's new jail in Yaphank, once dubbed the "Taj Mahal" by County Executive Steve Bellone, is open and housing inmates.

Constructed at a cost of $185 million, Newsday reported that 105 inmates were transfered to the new Yaphank correctional facility from the Riverhead jail this past week, approximately one year behind schedule. An additional 105 inmates are expected be transfered from Riverhead to Yaphank weekly until the new facility is operating at full capacity.

The new correctional facility is one of the county's largest construction projects in more than three decades. It was built under a 2004 state mandate from the Commission on Corrections to ease overcrowded conditions at the Riverhead jail. 

The new building has a modern design aimed at allowing one correctional officer to oversee up to 60 inmates living in one residential pod. A correction officer can monitor 40 inmates at the Riverhead jail.

All Yaphank prisioners will live in one of six residential pods, each of which has its own 60-foot by 60-foot indoor recreational area with a basketball hoop and oversized garage door designed to allow light in.

Also, each residential pod also has rooms where inmates can access a computerized library. The chapel is also wired for cameras to allow prisoners to see religious services via television.

The new facility's opening increases the county's inmate capacity to 1,831 beds, a net increase of 156. A planned second phase will increase the facility's capacity by an additional 440 beds. 

Read more on Newsday [subscription required] about the Yaphank prison. 

• Suffolk Sober Home Act Introduced in Albany

Legislation designed to more carefully monitor and oversee sober living homes operated in Suffolk County has been proposed in the state legislature by State Sen. Lee Zeldin.

Under the proposed legislation, the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services will work in conjunction with Suffolk County and the County's Group Home Oversight Board, to develop rules and regulations necessary for the certification and operation of a sober living home in Suffolk. 

"The mission of a sober living home is to promote recovery and help these individuals to eventually become self-supporting," said Zeldin, R-Shirley. "In order to meet this mission, residents must be afforded a safe, sanitary, and secure environment. But there are far too many sober living home operators in Suffolk County who fail to provide the atmosphere necessary for residents to be successful." 

The legislation proposes all sober living homes would have to be inspected before certification. These homes would be required to operate in accordance with all federal, state and town building codes. The operator would also be required to show good moral character and have experience working with individuals with substance abuse disorders.

Sober home owners and operators could be fined or lose their license certification if they fail to meet living standards outlined by the legislation. Any owner operating a sober living home without proper certification would be fined $10,000.

The bill would create a toll-free hotline to receive and respond to concerns or complaints regarding sober living homes in Suffolk. 

• Bellone Looks To Keep Foley Nursing Home Open

After months of struggles, County Executive Steve Bellone may have the votes he needs in the county legislature to strike a deal and keep the John J. Foley Skilled Nursing Facility open. 

Newsday reported that if county employees vote on a union pact this Tuesday that could guarantee their wages and benefits for 18 months after privatization. 

Following the union vote, Bellone would then need 12 out of the 18 lawmakers to approve for the deal to sell the facility. A $23 million agreement to sell the nursing home was approved in 2012, but then shot down by a state committee and blocked by a lawsuit filed by county workers backed by Legis. John Kennedy, R-Nesconset, and Legis. Kate Browning, WF-Shirley. 

The current proposed deal involves leasing the facility to cover the county's annual responsibility for a roughly $12 million subsidy needed to keep the 264-bed facility operating.

Read more on Newsday [subscription required]. 

Argile April 07, 2013 at 01:07 AM
Funny how there are people here ripping into the republicans. After Obama's done the democrats are gonna be dead in the water. They really don't have anyone to follow in the footsteps of the biggest hype that has ever been voted into office. The democrats are gonna be so desperate they'll even vote for the ultimate carpetbagger, Hillary Clinton.
sly April 07, 2013 at 01:21 AM
where are the republican leaders? Ihave been waiting for all you repubicians to at least name one strong candiate. oh I forgot there is none. haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
Conservative Underground April 07, 2013 at 01:29 AM
Mr. Sly I agree with you, no strong Republican leader has yet to emerge. There are some potential candidates but none of them have yet to take any lead. I think in part that has much to do with the state of the media in the country now; any strong leader will become a political pinata beaten to death by the liberal news. Time will tell, have a nice evening.
mike edelson April 07, 2013 at 01:46 AM
Wait til Obamacare is fully operational. It will be less effective tan FEMA as a good insurance company but just as effective in loading up the bureaucracy with inept political appointees. , like LIPA. the rates will go up and the service down. Whil Obama and the entire Chicago Democratic machine will have taken everything but the silverware. And we owe it all to the inept George W whose war and stupidity led the country to "throw em out". no one really knew they were getting the well run Daley machine from Chicago. The machine demonizes the social conservatives and pushes thru massive spending programs that go where? Visit chicago and you will see . Visit San Francisco and see the industrial park refurbished by Solyndra and now owned by Pelosi's brother in law. Vote for "none of the above"
Precious Box April 07, 2013 at 01:57 AM
Have Faith,,,there are plenty of great leaders in the conservative movement but they are purposely suppressed by the bias media or by character assassination,,,and only socialists are fooled by Rhinos,,,they do not represent the conservative movement.
John April 07, 2013 at 02:22 AM
Brian, thank you for educating me about Andersonville Prison. I just looked it up, and it was a horrifying description. You are absolutely right, in that nice, comfortable jails increase recidivism - many of these inmates don't know how to live on their own, responsibly and peaceably, in society. But running it like Andersonville would make us, as a society, inhumane. I've always thought that criminals deserve nothing more than the bare essentials: a bed, relatively sanitary conditions, basic food, and heat and cooling as appropriate. Why the hell are we spending so much on jails when there are so many other deserving projects for our tax money?
Liberty April 07, 2013 at 03:06 AM
yeah bill was someone our youth looked upto--maybe not all but monica did. He was a disgrace-no morals but i guess that's ok in this day and age. Remember Michelle was going to divorce our great leader till she became the first lady now she loves him.
MARTIN DREW April 07, 2013 at 03:25 AM
Vote DREW for Springs School Board .
John K Massaro April 07, 2013 at 04:23 AM
Over crowded jails lead to more convicts out on the streets.
Ron April 07, 2013 at 10:38 AM
Have another Rheingold Drew.
Bell April 07, 2013 at 12:17 PM
No way will Hilary get elected. Not after Benghazi
soccermom April 07, 2013 at 01:15 PM
I bet she does bell. guess you havent been watchen any of the polls of her if she gets elected. A large pecentage will vote for her.
soccermom April 07, 2013 at 01:20 PM
liberty glad you know about the obama marriage. wow that will really make me think. NOT! Give me a break.
Argile April 07, 2013 at 01:37 PM
Don't vote for Randy Altschuler! He's a carpetbagger! Vote for Hillary Clinton! Gotta love liberal hypocrisy.
John Doh April 07, 2013 at 01:59 PM
It's sad that Wang's Lighthouse project was shuttered & the coliseum is a dump. Long Island could have been in the forefront to lure the Nets (back) & keep the Islanders providing some identity to LI instead you have Suffolk wasting nearly 200 million on a lavish prison for criminals & don't forget the unionized employees like corrections officers & administrators with the requisite outlandish contracts , bennies & pensions. That's OK , pretty soon Long Island will be nothing more than a suburban wasteland where mainly people on the govt dole are the primary residents & your few independent scattered professionals like doctors & lawyers with a handful of small business unless even those groups are taxed out. The happiest day for a Long Islander working in the private sector will be closing on their home sale & relocating to right to work , booming, thriving low cost area's like Houston, Austin , Charlotte or Raleigh.
Meadow Lane April 07, 2013 at 02:29 PM
Hillary wasn't at Behghazi and neither were you.
Rose Way April 07, 2013 at 02:34 PM
I love Hillary. She'd be an ass-kicking President. Respected AND feared around the world...especially in Congress where a little of both is needed. She's got my vote. Not like that wuss Romney whose son said "He didn't want to be President anyway". Awww, doesn't that sound like a very priviledged child taking his marbles and his daddy home to cry. Romney ran because he was driven more by ego than principle. Hillary will run on her principles, which are like mine. Can't get with the program, then get out of the way. Period.
JustJoe April 07, 2013 at 02:44 PM
Yeah! Tents and fences! Real secure! That makes me feel so safe and able to sleep at night.
Mels Ditties April 07, 2013 at 02:45 PM
Not sure how this thread turned to political elections (it's early & I still have the mornin' brain fuzzies) BUT, all that aside, a new jail does offer jobs, as the facility must be staffed, right?...AND BONUS, there will be more space to house the lowlife degenerates who's crimes are degregating our neighborhoods....I say YEA!!!
mike edelson April 07, 2013 at 03:11 PM
Whose $$ is paying salaries of the jail staffers? Levy resigned because of kickbacks to his"campaign fund" by the contractors for the jail. Yet our wonderful democratic DA did not prosecute any of the contractors or seek any of their $$$ back. Not very hard to imagine why?
luis garcia April 07, 2013 at 04:55 PM
I like it. food good and I got my teath fixed.America is great!
knee jerk April 07, 2013 at 07:57 PM
Who is Ben Gazi?
Precious Box April 08, 2013 at 12:36 AM
Don't forget to vote this week,,,,the Library budget increase affects anyone who has a home and pays property taxes,,,stop the disgusting growth of government at every intrusion.
knee jerk April 08, 2013 at 01:40 AM
@luis garcia: The NEW facility opened last week, you must have had all that dental work done in Riverhead.If you really liked it there ,when you get locked up again, try to get into Yaphank instead.
John K Massaro April 08, 2013 at 02:43 AM
He's that guy the GOP keeps bringing up every time the Dems do something that the GOP can't disagree with. He's the last ditch effort at a scathing comment against the Democratic party...
Liberty April 08, 2013 at 12:49 PM
Obama is a magician, he is able to take hard working people's money and give it to those who choose not to work. Now you get healthcare, why work ! Glad you love Obama what are you getting for free!
Debby Heinz April 08, 2013 at 01:06 PM
I am still trying to figure out when C-R-I-M-I-N-A-L-S were ENTITLED to such luxurious living environments. A computerized library, tennis courts and all that. Our seniors and children should get that money, rather than cutting their state aide...
John Doh April 08, 2013 at 08:13 PM
I finally get the purpose of a lavish prison, nice digs for future incarcerated corrupt politicians
Halford April 08, 2013 at 11:44 PM
we can get a cell ready for you if you like.....
Robert April 13, 2013 at 04:56 PM
take a look at teacher salaries, you enter name or district and see 2011-2012 salary http://data.lohud.com/labor/educator_pay12.php?frm_county=all&frm_name=&frm_location=patch&start=0&orderBy=grosspay_12&orderDir=1&orderBy=grosspay_12&orderDir=0

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