The old Ulster County Jail, which was abandoned in 2007, may soon be coming down. Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan announced Tuesday that demolition will begin soon on the site that was first constructed back in the early 1970s. The press release says that the 2022 Executive Budget directed money to speed up the demo process in making way for construction. Given the age and condition of the old jail, renovation and reuse by any sort of new business is not possible.

So, what's going to be built in its place?

The Plan

Ryan says that demolition in the area can start this summer. What is being planned to be constructed in its place is affordable housing, according to the press release. County Executive Ryan says that the Golden Hill concept will build affordable homes for seniors, the workforce, and those in need of supportive housing to help people under "tremendous pressure due to the housing crisis.".

Blake Borg
Blake Borg

Crime & Punishment

While the debate on capital punishment continues around the country to this day, it is pretty widely known that some states still have the death penalty while others have abolished it. As of 2022, twenty-seven states in the country still enforce capital punishment. Some states, like Virginia, abolished the death penalty as recently as 2021. Most in New York state know that there hasn't been an execution here in many years. But just how long ago was it?

Who Was the Last Person to be Executed in NY?

The last person to be executed in the state of New York was Eddie Lee Mayes on August 15, 1963, at the Sing Sing Correctional Facility in Ossining. Mayes had been sentenced to death after killing a customer during a robbery at the Friendly Tavern in Harlem, in March 1961. But even that almost didn't happen. His defense attorney revealed in 1988 that they had cut a deal with the prosecution to lower his charge to second-degree murder. While the prosecution had agreed to do so, thus sparing his life, Mayes said he'd rather "fry" than spend life in prison.

The decision in Furman v, Georgia would ban the existing death penalty provided across the nation, from 1972 to 1976. While no executions would happen in New York, even upon reinstatement, Governor George Pataki signed a law in 1995, which provided for execution by lethal injection. Nine years later though, the New York Court of Appeals held that the state's death penalty statute violated the New York Constitution. Some lawmakers have since tried to pass bills that would restore the death penalty under certain circumstances, though nothing came of it.

Governor David Paterson issued an executive order in 2008, requiring the disestablishment of death row and the closure of the state's execution chamber at Green Haven. Ultimately, Governor Andrew Cuomo removed the death penalty statute from New York State law in 2016.

Remember When These Sad Buildings Were Hudson Valley Hot Spots?

These Hudson Valley Spots Used to Be Hopping