Wende Correctional Facility

Wende Correctional Facility is a maximum security prison located in Town of Alden in Erie County, New York, east of Buffalo. The prison is named for this region of Alden. The prison was formerly the site of a county jail operated by Erie County, New York, and sold to the state to further its need for a maximum security state prison. The Erie County Correctional Facility was built adjacent to Wende.

Maximum-security state prison, located in New York, US
Wende Correctional Facility
Location 3040 Wende Road
Alden, New York
Status Operational
Security class Maximum / Supermax
Capacity 961
Opened 1923 (as county jail)
1983 (as state prison)
Managed by New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision

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The state of New York announced its $48 million purchase of the prison on March 24, 1983. At the time of the sale, the facility housed 592 prisoners.[1]

Like other prisons, Wende was a vector in the COVID-19 pandemic. As of November 6, 2020, 31 prisoners have tested positive for COVID-19; one of the first confirmed infections was that of recently sentenced movie executive Harvey Weinstein.[2][3] According to a March 31, 2020, statement by the New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association, 135 correctional officers at Wende were in quarantine, and 6 had tested positive for the virus.[4]

David McClary, convicted of murdering police officer Edward Byrne, spent three years in solitary confinement while at Wende. In 1999, a federal jury granted him $660,000 in damages.[5]

In 2003, Wende officers ordered that Muslim prisoner Darryl Holland produce a urine sample in a three-hour window for a drug test. Holland, who was fasting for Ramadan, refused and was placed in solitary confinement for 77 days. While Judge Michael Anthony Telesca of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York granted the prison summary judgement in 2013, a panel of judges from the Second Circuit ruled that Holland could still sue on First Amendment grounds.[6][7]

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