MID-ORANGE CORRECTIONAL FACILITY

122 State School Road, Wawick, NY

Status: Former Residence; Former Reform School; Former Prison; Formerly Abandoned; Being Repurposed

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History

The original building on this site was a manor house which is now well over 160 years old.

The property was acquired shortly after World War I with the idea of converting it to a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center by the City of New York. This dream was never realized; and the property sat uninhabited until it the City traded the land to the Dept of Social Welfare (now Social Services) for Randall Island so the City could build the Tri-Boroughs Bridge.

Randall Island had been one of the first attempts to get juvenile offenders out of the adult prison system. It succeeded in this aspect but basically created just a prison for young offenders with no attempts to meet their special needs – even on something as basic as nutrition – or at rehabilitation.

The State Training School for Boys removed the older boys and focused on training boys aged 10 – 15 so they could become valuable members of society as adults. With some ups and downs the system worked much better than the old one.

In the early 1970’s – as part of the movement of deinstitutionalization moving through the Country – the reform schools were moved away from Social Services and given to the Division of Youth. Three Reform Schools were soon closed down completely including Warwick.

In 1977 the facility was re-opened as the Mid-Orange Correctional Facility and quickly reached its target population of 400. By the mid-1980’s under the “war on drugs” policies the population blew up to over 1000. By the end of the 80’s the opening of many small prisons got the population down to 750 where it stayed.

The prison had many great programs including carpentry, a program where inmates training seeing eye and guide dogs and even a guard who brought all the stray cats in the area for the inmates to take care of. In the State’s infinite wisdom, the guard was fired for bringing in the cats but reinstated when the union – successfully – fought the decision.

The prison was closed down in 2011 and remained mostly abandoned until 2022 when plans to convert the area to a park and light industrial area went into effect.

 

Paranormal Activity

The facility was open for overnight supervised “ghost hunts” in the past but it is unclear if these events will continue into the future.

Activity Reported: a powerful dark energy hovering both outside of the facility and inside the buildings; apparitions of former inmates both from its time as a prison and as a reform school; shadow figures; cold and hot spots; touches, pulls and pushes by unseen presences; mysterious mists; disembodied voices; phantom screams, laughter and crying; unexplained noises; objects moving on their own including doors opening and closing on their own; electrical disturbances; light anomalies and feelings of unease, nausea, not feeling alone, being watched and not being wanted.