This most recent institution to make use of the Wickham Lake campus was begun when the reform school (NYS Training School for Boys) was closed. It was established as a medium security prison. The campus was enclosed by fence for the first time, new buildings were added, and the first inmates of the Mid-Orange Correctional Facility arrived on June 29, 1977.
Beginning with a population of 400, the inmate count ballooned up to 1,000 during the war on drugs of the 1980s until more space was opened in new facilities. The many programs the prison offered in recent decades were described in an August, 24, 2001 article in the Advertiser, which show among other things the community's willingness to interact with the inmates.
Examples of the innovative programs implemented here are "Puppies Behind Bars", in which inmates raised puppies to become guide dogs for the handicapped and disabled veterans. The Warwick branch of the program was started in the summer of 2002. In 2010, the program had placed 23 dogs in the past two years.
History of the
On June 30, 2011 Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the Mid-Orange Correctional Facility would be closed as part of the state’s reorganization of New York’s prisons.The prison was run by the Department of Corrections from the summer of 1977 to the late summer of 2011.
WARWICK VALLEY HISTORY, NY
The Mid-Orange Campus as it appeared when it was closed in September of 2011
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Community service was a major component of the institution's program, with crews of inmate trustees helping to clean up and maintain local parks, mowing historic cemeteries, and assisting with projects for many of our local nonprofits.
What will the future hold for this huge complex, one of the major economic engines for our town, now that the last inmate has left? Only time will tell.
Puppies Behind Bars at Warwick, 2010
Another program, a first, was the first commercial carpentry shop. Operated by Corcraft, the business name of the NYS Dept. of Correction Division of Industries. The Warwick program manufactured modular housing and components for public projects such as the Florida Public Library (1999-2000) and the Village Hall addition, and the state trooper barracks on Meadow Rd. in Florida.