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Team Aleteia


Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York

Inside the walls of this maximum security prison is the beautiful Church of St. Dismas, which has been serving inmates for nearly 80 years.
Gangster “Lucky” Luciano (1897-1962) was an inmate at Clinton in the 1930s and donated red oak for the pews.

The Church of the Holy Thief, St. Dismas inside the Clinton Correctional Facility

Construction began on the church in 1939, after the prison chaplain deemed the facility's auditorium "not adequate" for the inmates' needs.
Bishop of Ogdensburg, Terry LaValley, and Deacon Frank Bushey, chaplain of the prison, with inmates being baptized and confirmed in January.

Bishop Terry LaValley baptizes an inmate.

The inmates also served as lectors and musicians. The bishop was assisted by the Catholic chaplain serving the facility, Deacon Frank Bushey.
“It’s really a beautiful church, and the vast majority of the population will never see it," Deacon Frank Bushey said last January one the occasion of the Bishop of Ogdensburg Terry LaValle's visit to baptize four inmates and confirm another ten.

Stained glass window at the Church of the Good Thief, St. Dismas

A Lourdes grotto within the prison walls

A Lourdes grotto located outside the church.  The structure was dedicated in 1941, and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1991.
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