The last floating prison in America was located in New York. Did you even know that there was a floating prison barge in New York?

Associated Press via Youtube
Associated Press via Youtube

Vernon C. Bain Correctional Center Is Now Closed

The Vernon C. Bain Correctional Center was a floating prison barge. It was a medium- to maximum-security prison facility that had 800 beds in 16 dormitories and 100 cells. New York City Department of Corrections introduced "The Boat," as it was nicknamed, in 1992. It was supposed to help reduce overcrowding in Rikers Island. The Boat cost $161 million to build.

In its history, the prison has served traditional inmates, juvenile inmates and is currently used as a holding and temporary processing center.

It made history in 2014 after being named the world's largest prison barge in operation by Guinness World Records.

Credit: Associated Press via Youtube

Stephan Khadu, 24, died on the barge in 2021, according to the Washington Examiner. His death was caused by a case of treatable infection of meningitis. His mother says that he told her the ship was infested with rodents, mold, and had stifling heat. His mother, Lezandre Khadu, spoke about the closure of the facility saying,

I’m walking over that bridge with a bucket of mimosas, and I’m going to have the biggest party ever. I want to see for myself that there will never be another soul on that boat.

People have protested the ship while it was in operation calling it a "slave ship." The ship will remain with the New York City Department of Corrections for now. The prison was closed in late 2023.

Governor Hochul Wants To Close 5 Prisons In New York

Governor Kathy Hochul is proposing that five prisons in New York State be shut down. The proposal is included in her 2025 Fiscal Year Executive Budget.

Tougher Sentencing Blamed For Crowded Prisons
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The Governor's budget book states that the closings would boost efficiency,

Correctional Facility Efficiencies. The Executive Budget includes legislation to allow the State to act expeditiously to right-size and eliminate excess capacity by allowing for the closure of up to five correctional facilities with 90 days’ notice. This legislation will allow for an increase in the operational efficiency of the correctional system.

The Department of Corrections and Community Supervision operates 44 correctional facilities in New York State. In the 2024 Fiscal Year Executive Budget the recommended appropriation for DOCCS was $3.5 billion.

The Executive Budget did not name any specific prisons to be shut down.

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The 7 Oldest Continuously Operating Prisons in New York State

With as much history as New York state has, perhaps it's no surprise that within our borders lies some of the oldest prisons in the entire country.

Gallery Credit: Will Phillips

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