[USKINGS.US] Vernon C. Bain (New York) : The only prison barge in the United States


(Uskings.us) The Vernon C. Bain Correctional Center (VCBC), also known as the Vernon C. Bain Maritime Facility and under the nickname "The Boat", is an 800-bed jail barge used to hold inmates for the New York City Department of Corrections. The barge is anchored off the Bronx's southern shore, across from Rikers Island, near Hunts Point.

It was built for $161 million at Avondale Shipyard in Louisiana, along the Mississippi River near New Orleans, and brought to New York in 1992 to reduce overcrowding in the island's land-bound buildings for a lower price. Nicknamed "The Boat" by prison staff and inmates, it is designed to handle inmates from medium- to maximum-security in 16 dormitories and 100 cells.

Currently the only barge in use, the Vernon C. Bain Center is the third prison barge that the New York Department of Corrections has used. In its history, the prison has served traditional inmates, juvenile inmates and is currently used as a holding and temporary processing center. The added security of the prison being on water has prevented at least four attempted escapes. The barge is named in memorial for warden Vernon C. Bain who died in an automobile accident.

From the time the barge was constructed, there has been controversy about its cost. The final price was more than $35 million over budget, which attracted negative attention. The assistant correction commissioner, John H. Shanahan, claimed the price difference was because the Department of Corrections "never designed this kind of passenger vessel before and unfortunately there was a mistake in the original contract." William Booth, the chairman of the Board of Corrections, said at the time that the prison barge would be the last barge the Department of Corrections would build because the process was too expensive and too uncertain. The Board of Corrections is an independent body that monitors city-owned prisons.

The 625-foot-long (191 m) by 125-foot-wide (38 m) flatbed barge has 14 dormitories and 100 cells for inmates. For recreation, there is a full-size gym with basketball court, weight lifting rooms, and an outdoor recreation facility on the roof. There are three worship chapels, a modern medical facility, and a library open to inmate use. The 47,326-ton facility is on the water, and when it opened, 3 or more maritime crews were maintained under Coast Guard regulations. According to John Klumpp, the barge's first captain, in 2002 "the Coast Guard, after years of monitoring the prison barge, finally accepted the reality that that it was, de facto, a jail and not a boat."

According to wikipedia

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