MacCormick Secure Center

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MacCormick Secure Center is located in the Shindagin Hollow State Forest, 15 miles east of the City of Ithaca. Youth are housed in three units connected to central classrooms and a dining and kitchen area. Each unit has a large communal area with individual bedrooms.

The youth served at MacCormick are male juvenile offenders who, while under the age of 16, committed certain violent felonies and were convicted and sentenced in adult criminal court. Depending upon the sentence, youth may remain in OCFS custody up to 21 years of age.

In addition, juvenile delinquents under the jurisdiction of the family court may also be placed at MacCormick if they have been reassigned or "fennered" from a Limited Secure facility for violent behavior. Juvenile delinquents may remain in OCFS custody up to the age of 18 depending on their placement order. This facility is accredited by the American Correctional Association.



Counseling is provided to each youth based upon his individual needs as assessed by the treatment team. Group counseling is conducted seven days a week utilizing a variety of cognitive methods, including: Aggression Replacement Training, Moral Recognition Therapy, Core Life Skills, Victim Awareness, and an HIV/AIDS core curriculum. Generalized education groups are offered for substance abuse using the Innervisions curriculum. Individual counseling is provided weekly by an assigned counselor, a mentor program, and with a mental health provider as needed.


The facility provides educational programming for youth according to New York State Education Department requirements. The Committee on Special Education (CSE) addresses special education needs for classified students and Individual Education Programs (IEPs) are developed for students with disabilities. State assessments, including Regents Examinations and Regents Competency Tests, are also provided to eligible students. Qualifying youth may also enroll in the Alternative High School Education Programs and pursue a Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC). Opportunities involving collaboration with several community colleges may permit students to take some college coursework.

Academic and vocational courses are offered so students can earn credits which can be applied toward a high school diploma upon a student’s return to a community school. Students also complete a “portfolio,” which provides a summary of relevant documentation, outlines work history, any certifications earned, and experiences gained.

Vocational Opportunities

Instructors provide trade skills training in technology, computers, keyboarding, building and grounds maintenance and food service.

Health Services

Comprehensive health services are provided by licensed health professionals, including a physician and nurse practitioner. Registered nurses are on duty during day and evening shifts seven days a week.

Upon admission, each youth has a comprehensive health assessment and an initial plan of care is developed. Immunizations are brought up to date following current public health recommendations. Eye and dental services are also provided on site.

Nursing sick call occurs daily. Nurses refer health problems that cannot be addressed via routine nursing interventions to the nurse practitioner or physician. Health staff initiate or continue needed health services via scheduled follow-up appointments.

Health staff complete a discharge plan on transfer or release to address the medical and dental needs of each youth.

Mental Health

Mental health treatment is delivered by psychologists, licensed social workers or clinical nurses. Access to professional level care is available for all youth. Assessment services include mental health and substance abuse assessment, evaluation of sex offense treatment needs, psycho-educational evaluation and neuropsychological assessment. Treatment services include Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), crisis evaluation and intervention, individual/group/family therapy, mental health treatment planning and mental health discharge planning. Facility clinicians facilitate psychiatric hospitalization, where needed, and are the facility liaisons to the hospital during the youth’s stay.


The recreation program offers a wide range of indoor and outdoor activities. The outdoor area includes a basketball court, volleyball court and baseball field. The indoor area includes a gymnasium, game room, and exercise room. Leisure activities are also available in each of the living units. Youth participate in intramural sports activities throughout the year with the competition based on the season.

Religious Services

The religious program is a voluntary program that offers youth the opportunity to worship their faith. The services offered are based on the needs of the youth and coordinated by a community group of volunteers supported by a Chaplain.


Families are vital to the treatment/rehabilitation process and are encouraged to visit on weekends. Special arrangements are made for weekday visits as needed.

Special Programs and Community Partnerships
  • Community Involvement – MacCormick has an active Citizens Advisory Board composed of a group of local residents who provide resources and services to youth at the facility.
  • Cornell Pet Companions – A pet visitation program is sponsored by the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University. Cornell Companions is dedicated to the development of a bond between humans and animals. The group provides leadership through specific academic, vocational and experiential learning activities.
  • Volunteer Program – MacCormick welcomes volunteers at the facility. Volunteers provide a wide variety of services, including but not limited to helping prepare youths for their GED, tutoring and providing music education, etc.
  • Southern Tier Advocacy and Mitigation Project, Inc. – This program encourages self-respect, empowerment, leadership and self-determination among youth.
Pre-Release Orientation:

Release planning begins at intake. The facility support team members work closely with residents, parents and community service team (CST) members to ensure that residents and their families receive the support needed for a timely and successful return to the community. The young men who are brought to the facility are offered the possibility of working with volunteers to plan for release back into their communities. The program helps with the basics of life on the outside: education, home, work, treatment programs and other considerations when planning for parole. The process is collaborative with the Division of Parole and the facility Parole Officer.