Correctional Association of NY, Prison Visiting Project

Organization Website:

Location: New York

Former Intern(s): Emilie Segura, Barnard '14

Organization Description

The Prison Visiting Project (PVP) of the Correctional Association of New York is an independent, non-profit organization with unique legislative authority to monitor conditions inside New York state prisons. Since 1846, PVP has raised public awareness about the conditions inside prisons, issued recommendations for improvements in correctional policy, and advocated for a more humane and just prison system. Our project visits approximately 7 to 10 New York state prisons per year, has correspondence with thousands of individuals incarcerated in those prisons and their families, and engages in community education, coalition building, and administrative and legislative advocacy to challenge the current system of incarceration, improve conditions and programs for people inside prisons, and reduce the overuse and abuse of incarceration. Interns are integral to the mission and work of PVP. Given our limited staff, we rely heavily on interns to work with us on the main substantive issues and tasks of the project. Interns will therefore have a major impact on our ability to carry out our prison monitoring work and our advocacy.

Guggenheim Internship Description

The Guggenheim PVP interns will work closely with the PVP Director and Associate Directors on all aspects of the monitoring, research, advocacy and reporting of the project.  In the office, interns will maintain written correspondence and telephone calls with incarcerated persons and their families; conduct research, data analysis, and draft report writing; and prepare for prison visits.  On prison visits, interns will interview incarcerated persons and prison staff, observe conditions inside the prisons and assist with follow-up data analysis, reporting and advocacy.  Our visits will focus on assessing general conditions, medical and mental health care, the use of solitary confinement, and the effectiveness of substance abuse treatment programs.  During the visits, interns observe all areas of the facility to identify problems and highlight model programs. For research, data analysis, and draft report writing, it may be both specifically related to a particular prison, and/or on a systemic issue confronting prisons.  For example, a recent Guggenheim intern engaged in data analysis for, and drafting portions of, a report about one of the facilities PVP visited and engaged in research for a chapter regarding HIV and Hepatitis C care in correctional facilities across the country. The intern also will have the opportunity to participate in legislative and administrative advocacy and collaborate with coalitions of individuals, service providers, and advocates on criminal justice issues.

Interns will participate in prison monitoring visits to New York state prisons that are often one or two-day visits. These visits may entail staying overnight away from New York City in the area where the prison is located and thus will require time outside of the regular work schedule.  The Correctional Associatoin bears all the expenses associated with these trips, and the interns will not be required to expend any funds for these visits.

Interns will have the unique opportunity to enter and monitor conditions inside of prisons in New York state. As an outside entity that is one of only two organizations in the country with the ability to monitor prison conditions, the Correctional Association will provide interns with access that very few others have to enter a typically closed and non-transparent system and institution.

Intern Qualifications

There are no special requirements for interns upon accepting this position. All interns will submit a form to the New York State Department of Corrections and the New York State Office of Mental Health acknowledging that the information they obtain during prison visits will be used only for CA purposes, a statement required by the agencies to allow the interns to participate in our project’s prison monitoring visits.

Expected start time: 9:00 am

Expected end time: 5:00 pm

Required Dates: 06/03/2013 - 08/09/2013

Internship Length: 8-10 weeks

Additonal Information: During the course of the internship, the intern will need to be able to get to the Correctional Association office and will likely attend other meetings or events in other parts of New York City and so will need to utilize any transportation necessary for that purpose. In addition, the intern will be participating in prison monitoring visits in different parts of New York state and will likely travel by car, van, or potentially plane in order to attend those visits. The intern will be a passenger and will not need to drive for any of these visits, and all transportation costs will be borne by the organization and not the intern.

Correctional Association of NY, Prison Visiting Project Internship Application