Research

New York State Department of Correctional Services Watch Commander's Master Log

Held by the New York State Archives


Overview of the Records

Repository:

New York State Archives

New York State Education Department

Cultural Education Center

Albany, NY 12230

Summary:
In the 1970s, the Department of Correctional Services began to adopt policies and procedures geared toward meeting accreditation standards of the American Correctional Association. In conjunction with this process, State correctional facilities began maintaining centralized security logs, known as Watch Commander's logs. Watch Commander's logs provide basic documentation of administrative procedure, as well as documentation of controversial events. Therefore, excerpts are used frequently in investigations, prosecutions, and litigation pertaining to inmate conduct and/or actions by employees of correctional institutions.
Creator:
Title:
Quantity:
7.75 cubic feet (42 volumes)
Inclusive Dates:
1977-2003
Series Number:
20037

Arrangement

20037-02, 20037-07, 20037-07A, 20037-08, 20037-13: Chronological.

Administrative History

Commencing in the early 1970s, the Department of Correctional Services began to adopt policies and procedures geared toward meeting accreditation standards of the American Correctional Association. In conjunction with this process, State correctional facilities began maintaining centralized security logs, known as Watch Commander's logs. Watch Commander's logs provide basic documentation of administrative procedure, as well as documentation of controversial events. Therefore, excerpts are used frequently in investigations, prosecutions, and litigation pertaining to inmate conduct and/or actions by employees of correctional institutions.

Scope and Content Note

Maintained by the Corrections Lieutenant (Watch Commander) on duty, the logs generally contain routine administrative information, but also include summary narratives of significant events. Such events include riots, escape attempts, suicides, and acts of violence perpetrated by inmates against other inmates or correction officers. A standard entry is recorded at the commencement of each shift indicating the date, beginning and ending time of the shift, Watch Commander and other facility personnel on duty, weather conditions, and current number of inmates at the facility. Individual entries are then recorded chronologically, with the exact time indicated for each item.

Initial entries for most shifts note briefing and inspection of officers on duty, followed by delivery of assignments for the shift. Entries then detail administrative duties carried out such as review of misbehavior reports, completion of facility rounds, supervision of inmate meals, and inspection of dormitories. Logs note inmate transfers and furloughs, movement of inmates within the facility, and updated counts of inmates. Noteworthy incidents, such as altercations between inmates and insubordination, are recorded along with disciplinary measures taken. Discoveries of drug paraphernalia, alcoholic beverage containers, and weapons are noted along with accompanying efforts to investigate such incidents.

20037-02, 20037-04, 20037-07A, 20037-08: These volumes were maintained by Watch Commanders at Livingston Correctional Facility, a medium security facility for males located in Sonyea, New York (Livingston County).

20037-07: These volumes were maintained by Watch Commanders at Mid-Orange Correctional Facility, a medium security facility for males located in Warick, New York (Orange County).

Use of Records

Access Restrictions

Portions of this series are restricted pursuant to the Personal Privacy Protection Law.

Related Information

Other finding aids

20037-07, 20037-08, 20037-13: Volume list is available at the repository.

Access Terms

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