Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women

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Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women
Location247 Harris Road
Bedford Hills, New York, U.S.
Security classmaximum
Managed byNew York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision
Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, the only maximum security prison for women in the State of New York.

Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women is a prison in Bedford Hills in the Town of Bedford, Westchester County, New York, United States,[2] at 247 Harris Road. Bedford Hills, the only New York State Department of Correctional Services women's maximum security prison,[3] is the largest women's prison in New York state and has hosted many infamous prisoners. The prison previously opened under the name Westfield State Farm in 1901.

Bedford Hills is one of several New York facilities exclusively for women, the others being Albion Correctional Facility, and Taconic Correctional Facility.[4] Its family-centered program, founded by Sister Elaine Roulet, has served as a model for other prison programs in the United States and is considered the standard for innovative family-centered programs.[5]

In August 1974, the prisoners briefly took over parts of the prison in reaction to a prison organizer's assault at the hands of guards in what came to be called the August Rebellion.[6]

In the post–Furman v. Georgia period and prior to the 2008 repeal of the death penalty, this prison was designated as having the state death row for women.[7]


The prison nursery, located in the Infant Development Center on a single floor of a building, was established in 1901. The prisoners there are separate from the general population. Eligible prisoners did not have involvement with child welfare authorities, and the program does not accept those convicted of violent crimes. Children are kept in the nursery until 12 months (one year), although this can be extended up to 18 months (1 1/2 years) so the mother can be released with her child. As of 2015 it is the prison nursery in the U.S. that has been in operation for the longest period.[8]

Notable inmates[edit]

  • Kathy Boudin,[3][9] Convicted in 1984 for her involvement in the 1981 Brinks robbery that resulted in the killing of three people. She was sentenced to life in prison, became a public health expert while in prison, and was released on September 17, 2003, after serving 22 years. After her parole she accepted a job in the HIV/AIDS Clinic at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center.
  • Stacey Castor,[3][9] Wife who was charged in 2007 with second degree murder, second degree attempted murder, and offering a false instrument in the first degree. She was found guilty of intentionally poisoning then-husband David Castor with antifreeze in 2005 and attempting to murder her daughter, Ashley Wallace. In addition, she was suspected of having murdered her first husband, Michael Wallace, whose grave lies next to David Castor's. After an autopsy performed on Michael Wallace's body found traces of antifreeze and rat poison in his remains, the medical examiner ruled the death a poisoning homicide. Castor was found dead in her cell on June 11, 2016. No cause of death has been released yet.
  • Judith Alice Clark,[9] Convicted in 1983 for her involvement in the same 1981 Brinks robbery as Kathy Boudin. Was not represented by counsel at trial and was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences at Bedford Hills. She was granted parole on April 17th, 2019 after spending 38 years in prison. She co-founded the AIDS Counseling and Education (ACE) program at Bedford Hills, which has been emulated in prisons nationwide, and was instrumental in establishing a college program at Bedford Hills that has helped more than 100 prisoners earn college degrees.[10]
  • Amy Fisher,[3] Famously nicknamed "The Long Island Lolita" by the press, she was convicted of the 1992 shooting of the wife of her lover Joey Buttafuoco, with whom she began an affair as a 16-year-old student. She served seven years in prison and was released in 1999.
  • Jean Harris,[3][9] murdered her ex-lover, Dr. Herman Tarnower, who was a cardiologist and author of the best-selling book The Scarsdale Diet. Eleven years after Harris's conviction,[11] Governor Mario Cuomo commuted the remainder of her sentence on December 29, 1992, as she was being prepped for quadruple bypass heart surgery. She was released from prison by the parole board after serving 11 years and later moved to the Whitney Center, a retirement home in Hamden, Connecticut.[12] She died on December 23, 2012, aged 89, at an assisted-living facility in New Haven, Connecticut.
  • Donna Hylton, on March 20, 1985, Hylton and six co-defendants kidnapped, tortured, and killed 62-year-old real estate broker Thomas Vigliarole. On March 12, 1986, after a jury trial, Hylton was convicted of second degree murder and two counts of first degree kidnapping. She was sentenced to concurrent indeterminate prison terms of 25 years to life and served more time due to disciplinary actions while in prison.[13][14] Hylton appealed her case many times; each time the conviction was affirmed.[15]
  • Barbara Kogan,[3][9] in October 1990, her husband George was shot on an Upper East Side Manhattan street. Kogan immediately became a suspect but was not convicted for nearly two decades, after she accepted a plea bargain admitting to conspiring to hire a hit man to kill her husband of 24 years because of a lengthy, acrimonious divorce.[16][17]
  • Reminisce Mackie, a rapper known as Remy Ma, got into an altercation with a friend inside a vehicle parked outside a club, when Mackie fired two shots in the woman's stomach. Mackie later turned herself in, and was charged with attempted murder and sentenced to eight years. Mackie was released on parole July 31, 2014.
  • Joyce Mitchell, assisted in the escape of inmates David Sweat and Richard Matt, and was sentenced to 2 1/3 to 7 years in prison. Her earliest release date is October 8, 2017; her maximum release date is June 8, 2022.
  • Joy Powell was charged with felony assault and burglary, though she claims the accusations are fabricated and politically motivated. She will be eligible for parole in the year 2045, when she is 84 years old.
  • Nixzaliz Santiago,[9] convicted of manslaughter in connection with the death of her daughter, Nixzmary Brown, and sentenced to 43 years in prison. Nixzmary's stepfather Cesar Rodriguez tortured Nixzmary (by binding her, duct-taping her mouth, and beat her), and her mother allegedly ignored this and didn't contact authorities in time to save her daughter's life.
  • Pamela Smart,[3][9] a former media services consultant found guilty in March 1991 for conspiring with her underage lover, William Flynn, and his three associates to kill her 24-year-old husband, Greggory Smart, in Derry, New Hampshire. She was transferred to Bedford Hills from the New Hampshire State Prison for Women in March 1993, because New Hampshire lacked a secure enough facility to house her. The higher security was necessary due to the high-profile nature of her case.[18] She was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility for parole.
  • Marybeth Tinning,[9] serving 20 years to life in prison for the murder of several of her children. She was denied parole in March 2007 after serving 20 years in prison.
  • Carolyn Warmus,[9][19] Former teacher convicted for the murder of Paul Solomon's wife Betty Jean to get closer with him. Warmous and Solomon were both teachers at the same school, and Warmous frequently visited the Solomons' house. Her first trial was a mistrial, but a new piece of evidence linked her to the murder, and Warmous was found guilty at her second trial. She faced the minimum of 15 years, but Judge Carey sentenced her to the maximum of 25-years-to-life in prison.
  • Laura Rideout serving a term of 25 years imprisonment to life in the connection to the death of her estranged husband, Craig Rideout. The case reached national prominence as the family's trial was aired on Dateline NBC.
  • Candace Seelbinder, 36 A nurse in a detox facility in Niagara Falls New York, raped 2 of the clients there. Originally sentenced to 10 years felony probation in 2017, she subsequently violated probation and was sentenced to serve 3 1/2 years on the probation violation. Her earliest release date is in November of 2020.
  • Blanche Wright, convicted of murder, as a hitwoman accomplice of The Council's contract killer Robert Young aka Miguel Sanchez's, and sentenced to Bedford Hills on November 11, 1980.[20][21][22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Bedford Hills Correctional Facility" (PDF). Correctional Association of New York. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  2. ^ "Bedford town, Westchester County, New York[permanent dead link]." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on September 2, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Silver, Kate. "How Mya Saved Jacob Archived 2010-08-08 at the Wayback Machine." Spirit Magazine. Retrieved on January 15, 2011.
  4. ^ New York State Department of Corrections Facility Listing Archived September 23, 2006, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on July 8, 2011.
  5. ^ Encyclopedia of American Prisons, by Marilyn D. McShane, Franklin P. Williams
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Repeal of Death Sentence Regulations (Section 103.45 of 7 NYCRR)" (). New York State Department of Correctional Services. Retrieved on September 2, 2010. "Repeal regulations requiring death sentence warrants to be provided to the Commissioner and persons sentenced to death to be delivered to Clinton and Bedford Hills Correctional Facilities (death row)[...]"
  8. ^ Yager, Sarah (July 2015). "Prison Born". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2018-09-04.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i New York State Department of Corrections Inmate Population Information Search Archived 2008-04-20 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on July 8, 2011.
  10. ^ Robbins, Tom (January 12, 2012). "Judith Clark's Radical Transformation". The New York Times. Retrieved December 3, 2014.
  11. ^ "The Jean Harris Case". TruTV Crime Library. Archived from the original on April 3, 2014. Retrieved November 24, 2008.
  12. ^ Berger, Joseph (January 24, 1993). "January 17–23: Former Headmistress Freed; Jean Harris, 69 and Frail, Paroled for 1980 Murder". The New York Times. Retrieved December 3, 2014.
  13. ^ The case is People v Hylton, 564 N.Y.S. 2d 746 (lst Dep't 1991).
  14. ^ "Crime and Punishment". Psychology Today. July 1995.
  15. ^ [USDC Southern District of New York, Case 1:07-cv-03835-RPP Final Order on Appeal]
  16. ^ "Black Widow Barbara Kogan's 'Sentencing Delayed So Son Can Finally Face Mom in Court'". May 19, 2010. Archived from the original Check |url= value (help) on August 26, 2011.
  17. ^ Scott, Cathy. The Millionaire's Wife. MacMillan. Archived from the original on 2012-05-04. Retrieved 2012-01-21.
  18. ^ "Woman in Plot to Kill Husband Shifts Prisons". The New York Times. March 12, 1993. Retrieved December 3, 2014.
  19. ^ Singleton, Don (June 18, 1995). "WHATEVER HAPPENED TO. . .? THE ART OF DOING TIME". New York Daily News. Retrieved July 8, 2011.[permanent dead link]
  20. ^ Wilson, Michael (April 26, 2019). "Her 'Prince Charming' Turned Out to Be a Crazed Hit Man on the Run". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 May 2019.
  21. ^ "Hired Killer Sentenced". The Evening Press. Binghamton, NY. November 11, 1980. p. 7-A.
  22. ^ "'Hitwoman' charged in 6 slayings". Pacific Stars and Stripes. Japan. UPI. February 16, 1980. p. 7.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°14′19″N 73°40′51″W / 41.23861°N 73.68083°W / 41.23861; -73.68083