Howard and the Jails

23 Sep

When the Federal Government tells you that the county jails are not kept up to constitutional standards, and the state Department of Corrections sues you to ensure that the jails are kept up to constitutional standards, then there may be a problem with you keeping the jails up to constitutional standards.

But Keanu Reeves got to visit the jails that federal investigators couldn’t. So, there’s that.

At least one commenter argues that, well, Howard’s opponent is a “Barney Fife” who operates a small-town gaol with only a handful of town drunks, miscreants, and misfits, and that he hasn’t amassed the number or quality of endorsements as Howard.

But that’s not the issue, and Cheektowaga isn’t Mayberry. It’s a town of 90,000 that hosts the area’s busiest airport, busiest mall, and has inner-ring suburb problems.

The issue is Tim Howard’s performance; his management of the county jails, and the best defense he can muster is that prisoners aren’t entitled to the same treatment they’d get in a hotel. That’s very true, and very beside the point. Howard has been Sheriff for 4 years. The endorsements he’s obtained are political – not based on merit. At least two inmates were “mistakenly” released on his watch, one of whom raped someone. A third inmate of his escaped using a kitchen implement and went on to murder one state trooper, and wound two more.

There’s a dangerous mix of arrogance and poor management with our current Sheriff. The Feds told him to make changes. He ignored them. The state is now doing the same. He’s refusing.

John Glascott’s site is here.

17 Responses to “Howard and the Jails”

  1. mike hudson September 23, 2009 at 7:43 am #

    former niagara county sheriff tom beilein’s name is on that lawsuit. a democratic party hack from way way back, beilein wrangled the corrections commission gig because of favors he’d done on belhalf of former gov. eliot spitzer.

    but keep banging the drum. bang it until your arm gets sore. who knows, barney may end up doing as well as kearns!

  2. buffaloobserver September 23, 2009 at 9:25 am #

    Howard’s a hack who continues to hide behind the skirt of County Attorney Cheryl Green. He is however the incumbent, and will be hard to beat. Glascott needs to step it up and at the very least, start looking like a professional. He should do away with always being seen on TV wearing those polo shirts and otherwise frumpy appearance.

  3. Hank September 23, 2009 at 11:19 am #

    NYS DOC must have MUCH higher standards than VA. If you were arrested on a friday AM of a 3 day weekend, you sat in “the tanks” until Tuesday. You got 3 square meals a day, drinking cups, and there were coolers with water and other drinks in them. But if you had to sit for 4 days in what the paper called “holding pens” wating to see the judge, Tough Shit.

    No blankets, no mattresses, no jail clothes. Of course you could make bail and not wait the 4 days, but since most of the cadre’ of “regular customers” have multiple convictions on “Failure to appear in court”, most bondsmen won’t touch them, or they get an automatic “Hold” on their warrant, in other words–NO BAIL.
    On the other issues, like due process when written up on a violation of jail rules, unless it’s the weekend, those issues are normally handled within 24 hours. Worst case scenario, you spend the weekend in an isolation cell. Again, non-convicted offenders are innocent, and they have the same due process rights as any other legal citizen. Convicted offenders have MORE rights than their victims. Federal Inmates have more rights than God gives to humankind. Overall, from what I’ve read over the last 2-3 years, Sheriff Howard seems to be a bumbler, and needs to be replaced. Remember Joe Arpiao of Maricopa County, AZ is a Republican too. Party affiliation has little to do on how a Sheriff runs his department.

  4. Hawk (Not Hank) September 23, 2009 at 3:28 pm #

    How do you know so much about the Virginia penal system? Where you, ahem, how shall we say, a “visitor” to one such facility after too many Natural Lights with the buddies? Too good to resist not posting something 🙂

    Any you are right on one thing, party affiliation has little to with how a sheriff runs a department. Competence does, and Sheriff Howard is incompetent.

    Heading back to my self-imposed blog commenting exile.

  5. Hank September 23, 2009 at 4:37 pm #

    No Hawk—I was a Deputy Sheriff for the City/County of Norfolk, VA for 6 years. Now working at Steele Rubber Products, where I sell weatherstripping for Antique/Collector/Muscle Cars. Someone needs to explain to the “Humanist” that there are no deep fat fryers in an incoming call office.

  6. The Humanist September 23, 2009 at 5:19 pm #

    @ Hank – hold up…’re a rubber salesman?

    God is great.

  7. slothrop September 23, 2009 at 6:06 pm #

    Doesn’t it matter that most (if not all) the people placed in the “bullpen” in the Holding Center are not convicted of anything? They haven’t even been officially charged with anything. I think the Constitution matters, but hey, that’s just me.

  8. Jon Splett September 23, 2009 at 6:33 pm #

    @Humanist- I hate Hank’s crazy ass bullshit as much as the next guy but what exactly is wrong with selling rubber (or for that matter, working a deep fryer)? His crazy beliefs are such an easy target I don’t see why you feel the need to rip on how he pays his bills. I’m sure plenty of people who post on here make their living doing far more deplorable things than selling car interiors. What is it you do anyway?

    Class hatred isn’t cool, especially for someone who thinks he’s a lefty.

  9. The Humanist September 23, 2009 at 7:47 pm #

    @ Jon Splett – my post was not intended to comment on Hank’s profession, but rather my interest at finding out what product he was selling. I don’t care what people do for a living, except for when they bloviate about how others make their living or what they feel others should do with their lives.

    But don’t let me interrupt your lecture, o High Pope of the Self-Righteous Left.

  10. Haterade September 23, 2009 at 11:59 pm #

    Hudson, like I said – stick to something you know a little about, like the NF mob or third rate Cleveland punk bands. The COC has been investigating the Erie County Jails since way before Bieline was involved. They have given chance after chance , variance after variance – yet nothing changes. Howard was a career rat squad desk jockey in the NYSP before his little budd y Pat Gallivan (who incidently got a cushy parole board gig as payback from Pataki for favors done) tapped him as his #2. When Pat pulled the plug during the Red/Green budget fiasco and got his golden Pataki parachute – Howard stepped in … and thus started the rapid downfall of the ECSD. Forget the lousy jail management for a minute. Howards term has been fail after fail, and if you’d like I can list at least 10 times as many as you can list accomplishments. The point here is that Glascott has vowed to appoint a “jail professional” to oversee the jails. Do you know who Howard has ? Do some research. Ex-barmaid donors have no business running a jail. Idon’t expect the sheriff to be involved in the day-to-day operation of the jail, but I expect him to hire someone who has a clue, and take responsibility for his shortcomings rather than cry about politics all the time. Yeah, Tim. The State AND Feds are making up lies about you. Gimme a break.

  11. Hank September 24, 2009 at 10:41 am #

    @Splett—I see you get it. As 2 Americans, we can agree that we think the others politics is batshit crazy, as it appears we both do. The only way that real discourse is ever going to start again in this country is when you debate the issues, opinions or message, and not personally attack the messenger. You and I might be able to sit together over a beer and discuss our differences like grown adults. When I am attacked personally, It’s not necessarily because of what point I might be making, but because the attacker has no rebuttal to the point. This is a BIG feature of Liberals when they are looked at from the right. Can’t debate the message, attack the messenger. Perez Hilton calling the person who assaulted him a “Faggot” is an example the Right uses—end of the day, a liberal will not have a rebuttal, and the resort to name-calling.
    Haterade’s post above makes well over a dozen excellent points, stuff I didn’t know but having worked in the system, I figured as much. And I’m not calling old John a Liberal, but did he have to take the personal digs at Hudson? Nah. Am I guilty of doing the same thing? Yep. But usually only after that person has sniped at me first. I’ll try to keep the high road.
    Most of what the Humanist comments on is done in the form of personal attack or ridicule, which does all liberals a dis-service. I always thought a Humanist was a person who was concered about ALL people, not just the ones that agree with him. I’ll have to look that up.

  12. mike hudson September 24, 2009 at 12:40 pm #

    haterade…my experience with jails is wide and varied, as i’ve written elsewhere. the stupid part of even attempting to argue this rationally here — like trying to point out that jack davis probably wasn’t the mad evil criminal he was depicted as when pundit was pushing jon powers or that byron brown would win handily in the recent primary — is that the opposition is not rational.

    the opposition to howard is obviously motivated by the fact that he is a republican. these ghastly charges against him will amount to nothing, and not even merit coverage in the buffalo news or artvoice, once the election is over and he has won another term.

    Fuck, it was barely two weeks ago that some here were stating mayor brown was going to be arrested by the fbi. whatever happened to that?

  13. Haterade September 24, 2009 at 5:52 pm #

    Well, Mike … just as I thought, you are only pro-Howard to stir the pot.
    Humor me and have a rational argument with me. I may have been snide when telling you to stick to something you kn ow … but I believe the underlying point is valid : what you know about the state of the ECSO and the Howard administration compared to what I know to be fact is like my knowlege of the NF mob against yours – it just doesn’t compare

    Your jail experiences are really a moot point unless you are talking about the Erie County jails. My opposition to Howard has ZERO to do with political motivation and 100% to do with the way he and his appointees run the ECSO. His term has been nothing but scandal after scandal. The COC has been monitoring those jails for YEARS, and have given many, many opportunities to remedy the issues. To me, the refusal to staff the ECCF kitchen when orderd (and agreed to) that resulted in the Phillips escape and subsequent cop killing (and civilain death) is reason enough, but it doesn’t stop there. The “one or two” (believe me, that is a low estimate, and I can give examples) mistaken releases , one of which ended up in the rape of an innocent woman. Abandoning the Joan Diver search to work at the Bills game. Excessive political hires, all-time low morale, shady business dealings (DeLacy Ford), two 250k apiece boats that aren’t used …. and the list goes on and on. Can you give me any positive things to come out of his tenure ?

  14. Haterade September 24, 2009 at 6:34 pm #

    Hudson : While I may have been snide in the way I put it , IMO the point is still valid. What I know to be factual about the state of the ECSO versus what YOU know is akin to my knowlege of NF mob history versus yours – it just doesn’t compare. I think your whole pro-Howard stance is nothing more than a chance to stir the pot here – or at least I hope so because anyone who claims to have knowlege of the subject and still supports Howard is either connected , clueless, or a complete moron. Your knowlege of jails is a moot point unless you are speaking of direct knowlege of the Erie County jails that are in question. Anything else is apples and oranges. Jon Powersd, Jack Davis and Byron Brown have ZERO to do with this debate, however the mention of them does lend creedence to my stirring the pot theory. Lets forget about the jail allegations for a minute. IMO that is just one facet of the horrible job Howard and Co have done. From refusing to staff the ECCF kitchen (even when agreed to) that resulted in the Phillips escape and the murder of a trooper, death of a civilian, shhoting of two more troopers and millions of dollars in taxpayer money not to mention the strined public/police relations in those communities… to the “one or two” monthly mistaken releases, the most publicized of which resulted the rape of an innocent woman … to halting the Joan Diver search to work at the Bills game (which his brother is director of security … hmmmm ), to shady business/fundraising deals (DeLacy ?), to patronage never before seen in the dept (TWO undersheriffs @ 117K/year ? More 90K= “chiefs” than ever before , GF is a 66K/yr secretary ? Many, many more …)… I could go on for hours. Can you tell me two positive accomplishments ? I guess one of the most bothersome things to me is that he NEVER mans up and takes responsibility for anything. He always pawns it off, or cries victim.

    I do not doubt the possibility that he may win another term, but that is more due to the idiocy of the majority of EC voters who are largely uninformed than the job he has done.

  15. Haterade September 24, 2009 at 7:01 pm #

    Sorry for the double post ! For some reason the first one didn’t show up at first. Probably some lefty conspiracy. BP, feel free do delete the first one …..

  16. mike hudson September 24, 2009 at 7:16 pm #

    haterade, consider yourself forgiven, rolled like water off a duck’s back, it did. howard’s gonna win, and that’s all i really can say with any degree of assurance. he is a politician, and like all politicians has both friends and enemies. the nature of his job tends to make his friends really loyal to him and his enemies really hate him. that’s no different for sheriffs anywhere. i don’t even know him and am not his friend. i am a dispassionate observer of the race, a handicapper, if you will, and there is not a doubt in my mind that his victory is a lead pipe cinch, as close to a sure thing as we get in this world. a lot of very smart people have worked on it, and glascott can’t afford that kind of talent. but i defer to your desire to vent. as you say, you have some personal stake or interest in the matter, and will refrain in the future from commenting on the race except for once, when the final vote is counted.

    who knows? perhaps all your dreams will come true and i will be wrong.

  17. Haterade September 24, 2009 at 10:43 pm #

    I’m not sure he has as many “enemies” as he has “realists” who see him for what he is. I will agree that he has a very loyal inner circle, and by inner circle I mean the people who depend on him for their bloated salaries. The fringe players and other assorted opportunists are jumping ship like the rats they are. The difference between Tim Howard and “sheriffs everywhere” is that the COC and DOJ aren’t breathing down their necks. They don’t have the blood of a state trooper on their hands because their appointees didn’t follow orders to save a few bucks.
    They aren’t besieged by a new scandal every week.

    It’s comical that you say re-election is a clinch, and that “a lot of very smart people have worked on it”. I have yet to see him do anything but cry about political attacks. He is mounting no real campaign because he has a crappy record to run on. Maybe he should get some of those “smart people” to run the jail for him , because the current flunkies just aren’t cutting it.

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