Monday, November 26, 2007

What is Camp Cass and Why do People Want to Keep it Closed?

This was the question that burned in my mind after a recent road trip through southeastern Albany County. A little research on the subject revealed Camp Cass to be a residential rehabilitative center for delinquent youth run by the NYS Office of Children and Family Services. Apparently, residents in the Rensselaerville area of Albany County were alarmed because a student escaped the facility, robbed an elderly couple and took off with their car. My response: so what?

Am I the only one who can appreciate the irony of this? Rural communities have long benefited (almost parasitically) from the location of prisons and the jobs they provide in the local economy. Is it any surprise that mostly white rural Republicans take such a tough stance on law and order issues?

I had to laugh when I read about the teenager who broke out, robbed an elderly couple and stole their car. What do you expect? Rural conservatives have benefited from crime and punishment for far too long. Crimes are committed in inner cities and then the criminals are convicted and sent to rural prisons which provide jobs and economic stimulus to local economies that thrive on incarceration. It’s about time that these rural areas had to start experiencing the negatives associated with the prison-industrial complex that they have so richly benefited from.

If you ask me, Camp Cass should be open for business with no input from the local residents whatsoever. Rural conservatives should not be allowed to bury their heads in the sand and ignore the consequences of the tough-on-crime policies that they so vehemently support. To residents near Camp Cass, I say, start fitting your windows for bars and look into getting a guard dog, because it’s time for your just dessert.


Anonymous said...

Your points then, if I am finding them, are that:
*People who espouse a "tough on crime" stance should become victims of crimes
*If rural residents don't like the idea of being crime victims, they should advocate the location of prisons in the inner cities, thereby containing the Criminal Elements where they came from

You said: "I had to laugh when I read about the teenager who broke out, robbed an elderly couple and stole their car."
Did you laugh about the rape that was committed as well?

Sean Thomaston said...

For the record, the rape was not as amusing.

However, you didn't seem to correctly understand my "points". Don't feel bad, even I'm not sure what they are.

Here's what I think I was trying to say: white rural conservatives are always supporting law and order and urging that we crack down on inner city crime. I am suggesting that white rural conservatives are merely supporting these policies for their own gain, because this means more criminals in jail, and thus more corrections jobs for good old boys.

Then, I find it delightfully ironic when these same criminals who provide the bread and butter for many depressed communities, escape from their confines and wreak havoc on the residents of these communities.

Make of this what you will.

Anonymous said...

Was wondering what (Camp Cass) site was I know. (Hey, here today, gone what, a week or so later?) Don't imagine that Camp Cass, at least, will reopen anytime soon.

Anonymous said...

"I am suggesting that white rural conservatives are merely supporting these policies for their own gain, because this means more criminals in jail, and thus more corrections jobs for good old boys."

IMO, most [rural or otherwise] conservatives don't think that far ahead or lineally.

Anonymous said...

I live near camp cass, I suggest you do a little more digging before you post. Camp Cass had been an out of control facility for years there had been over 8 escapes in two years from there. The community didn't benefit from this facility the employees all drove out here from albany and delmar mostly. Nobody knows what the victim of the rape went through but, maybe some day the cover up will stop by the state of ny ocfs. Where were the 5 guards when this happened? What were they doing.

Sean Thomaston said...

First off, I don't condone rape, burglary or grand theft auto. However, I don't see how any more research would have changed my original assertion. Some of the background facts you mentioned would have made for a more interesting post, but other than that, my position is unchanged.

You know, it ain't like we're talking anout hardened maximum security criminals here: these are juveniles, for chrissakes! I think the residents who complain are making a mountain out of a molehill.

If you're afraid of a few juvenile offenders, I say: buck up! The whole community should be ashamed of itself, afraid of a bunch of 15 year olds! LOL!!!!!

Anonymous said...

This aren't juvies these kids were ususaly 17, and their youthful offender ship was always covered up you need to think again if you think these kids weren't harden crimnals they were sent up here ususaly from nys, and were all repeat offenders of serious crimes they couldn't be sent to prison because of their age. wake up

Sean Thomaston said...

Not saying these kids are angels... but where's your sense of compassion? Do you want some poor kids to be put through the system and to come out of prison ten times worse off than before?

You have to excuse the car theft, the inmates were probably just out for an innocent walk and saw an unlocked car with the keys in it. It's not really their fault.

Typical Upstate white conservative, probably thinks juveniles should just be executed for being poor and from the ghetto.

Anonymous said...

You still don't have your facts straight, which you should do before you put it on the net, pull up the times union stories by Michele Bolton, and read them, type in camp cass, and then maybe brainless people like you will have a clue, you apparently have no understanding of victims of crime Shame on you.

Sean Thomaston said...

The facts are there to be intepreted, not to serve YOUR point of view.

I know this case inside and out.

If you don't want prisons, shock facilities and juvenile detention camps in your backyard, don't vote for Republicans who want to incarcerate ghetto youth for minor drug offenses.

Michael Bolton's stories are nothing but sensationalized tabloid crap.

Go ahead and call me "brainless" if it makes you feel better. I don't care, I know what the score is.

Anonymous said...

Sean, You must be a real bad-ass hard case. I bet if you were inside Camp Cass you'd have your ass kicked by 15 year olds with 1/2 a day.

Typical internet tough-guy BS from somebody that would be wetting their dress if they were actually locked up with some of those 15 year olds.

Eve said...

Is it true that the NYS Park Police has taken over Camp Cass to use it as their academy for this upcoming October?

Wayne I. Nalty said...

Well Ive been reading all the bickering on this article & I have to say this: I was once a juvenile offender at Camp Cass maybe 15yrs ago or so and served 18mths there for car theft. Its clear to me when reflecting, that Camp Cass was the middle ground to me being the man I turned out to be & the man that I could have been. At Cass I learned how to deal with other young men of similar backgrounds and upbringings (all troubled, all basically poor)to put it lightly we all needed "Help". And without a doubt I found it at Camp Cass. Without them, the guidance and education that I found there, I more than likely would have graduated into the adult prison system, became a felon & God only knows been doing whatever crime I had to, to survive & support my family now.

So to the idiots who live up there, in there little country bubbles oblivious to the impoverishment and struggle that goes on beyond their county; I say shame on you. Your a bigger fool than any 15yr old junior criminal that could ever have been housed in any of these facilities. These places save lives and provided "Help" to kids who need it. So the next time your "hick-ass" looks out your window into that abyss that is your bubble. Thank your Lord for places like Camp Cass & the services that they provide, because without them maybe I'd be the kind of guy that terrorizes that little bubble.

Timothy said...

I worked at Cass for 7 years. I would do the 35 mile one way commute to get there it could be quite treacherous in the winter months. The kids aged 14-17 spent an average of 9 months at the facility although I knew of one camper who was there for a year. I stumbled on this blog but would to point out that I was surprised Cass remained open as long as it did we had some very very bad kids up there and dangerous. If the community only knew the half of it. A lot of these kids were violent and quite disturbed, we had a few runaways break into homes, steal vehicles, one of my kids stole the village Fire Engine and drove it all the way to Delmar before being stopped. To ridicule the concerns of the locals is pretty stupid in my opinion because their concerns about their safety were valid.

Anonymous said...

I was a classified as a P.I.N.S. and placed at Camp Cass sometime around 1975-1976 and there were a few 'tough guys' there then but things remained under control most of the time. i did run away and was caught about 3 days later