Judges try to save

women's prison

The chief judges of federal district courts based in Brooklyn and Manhattan have joined with 10 others to protest a planned conversion of the only federal prison in the Northeast for women into a men's facility.

U.S. District Judges Loretta Preska, who heads the federal court in Manhattan, and Carol Amon, whose Brooklyn-based court covers Long Island, said that if the plan to convert the Danbury, Conn., prison goes through, most women from the region will be sent to Alabama.

In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder released yesterday, the chief judges of a dozen federal courts in the Northeast said that Danbury was accessible to families throughout the region, and breaking the ability to visit would damage both the prisoners and their children.

"If the planned mission change for Danbury goes forward, our ability to recommend incarceration near family members and children for male inmates will continue, but we will have no ability to do the same for female inmates," the judges wrote.

Graffiti artist critical

of new WTC design

The elusive British graffiti artist Banksy, who has been writing and spray painting images on New York City buildings, is causing another sort of sensation with an essay condemning the design of the new World Trade Center as "a disaster."

The 104-story skyscraper "clearly proclaims the terrorists won," the artist asserts in the essay posted on his website Sunday.

The essay is designed to resemble a New York Times Op-Ed column. The artist said he submitted it to the newspaper, which declined to publish it.

"We couldn't agree on either the piece or the art so it was rejected," Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy said yesterday.

The Port Authority, which owns the World Trade Center site, did not respond to a request for comment.

Banksy likened the building to a "tall kid at a party, awkwardly shifting his shoulders trying not to stand out from the crowd."

Family asks for

safe return of boy

The family of an autistic boy missing more than three weeks asked for his safe return at a weekend prayer vigil.

Avonte Oquendo, 14, was last seen Oct. 4 walking out of his Queens school.

At the prayer vigil Sunday night, his family asked that the public continue to look for their son.

The Rev. Phil Craig thanked the NYPD for continuing its search.

Compiled with

wire service reports

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