Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
- Alternative meaning: Sing Sing (band)
Sing Sing Correctional Facility is a prison in Ossining, New York. It is located in Westchester County some 40 miles north of New York City. The name comes from the original name of the village of Ossining.
It was the third New York prison built when, in 1825, the legislature appropriated $20,100 to buy the Silver Mine Farm , a 130 acre (0.5 km²) site with a quarry. The prison was to be self-supporting, and not require taxpayer funding.
Elam Lynds , warden of Auburn (the second New York prison), took 100 Auburn convicts to the site and used them to build the prison from the ground up. Other notable wardens besides Lynds were Lewis E. Lawes and Thomas Mott Osborne. Lawes in particular achieved a lot in cleaning up a scandal-ridden institution, putting an end to the worst of the brutality. However, even its its darkest days, conditions at Sing Sing were never as bad as in southern penitentiaries such as Parchman Penitentiary in Mississippi or the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola.
Gangster movies helped make the prison a legend far beyond New York - they included The Big House (1930) Castle on the Hudson (1940), and 20,000 years in Sing Sing (1932) - the latter based on a book by Warden Lawes.
Harris A. Smiler was the first person executed by electrocution at Sing Sing on July 7, 1891. From 1914 until 1971, only the electric chair at Sing Sing was used for executions. The last execution at Sing Sing was in August 1963. New York State abolished capital punishment two years later, later reinstating it in 1995, and abolishing it again in June of 2004.
On January 8, 1983, a riot began with 600-plus inmates in B-block taking 17 correction officers hostage and ended 53 hours later. Today Sing Sing houses more than 2,000 prisoners. There are plans to convert the original 1825 cell block, which still stands, into a museum.
Sing Sing is where one is going when one is "going up the river", as the prison is upriver from New York City.
- Albert Fish, a serial killer and cannibal
- James Larkin, Irish labour leader imprisoned from 1920 to 1923 for 'criminal anarchy' as a result of his left-wing writings
- The Rose Man , a former New York City newspaper editor doing life for murder
- Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, convicted spies of the Soviet Union.
- William H. Van Schaick , captain of the General Slocum, responsible for the worst maritime accident in New York's history
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