Suicides, Schmuicides

9 Mar

County Executive Chris Collins explains why he doesn’t want the United States Department of Justice to investigate allegations of shoddy conditions, brutality, and negligence at Erie County jails:

…he has no faith in the Department of Justice based on its lawsuit against the county, accusing it of shoddy jail operations and inability to curb inmate suicides.

“We don’t trust them. There’s a lot of hearsay in their complaint,” Collins said, explaining that Justice Department personnel could fabricate or exaggerate statements taken from individuals who are interviewed.

“In the law, we want to make sure allegations aren’t exaggerated and are true. This is due process. Let’s face it, a person asking the questions can put words in the mouth. If we can’t review it, you’re going to get biased information,” he said.

Collins said holding center personnel are working hard to prevent suicides.

Well, not by keeping an eye on high-risk inmates or taking away objects with which they can hang themselves or anything. The whole “I don’t trust the DOJ” meme is like something out of the Jim Crow South. It translates into: “I don’t want anyone keeping an eye on what I’m up to. Also, agenda and status quo.”

“We do believe the jail is doing everything it can and at the end of the day, you can’t stop someone from killing himself,” Collins said.

Of course you can. Absolutely you can. If you care to. If you make an effort, take it seriously, and prioritize it.

Chris Collins and Tim Howard are concerned about saving face, but little else. After all, wealthier suburbanites who have little contact with the jail system are their political base. Howard and Collins can completely ignore the issue and not suffer politically in any way.

Meanwhile, however, people are dying.

7 Responses to “Suicides, Schmuicides”

  1. Josh Dubs March 9, 2010 at 8:07 am #

    As much as I hate it when people say this to me, but I really think that if there is nothing to hide, they should just let the Feds in… It strikes me as odd just how hardcore Chris Collins, Tim Howard and Cheryl Green are fighting to keep everyone out of the Holding Center. I wonder if they’re holding Jimmy Hoffa in there or something.

  2. AL March 9, 2010 at 9:10 am #

    “Chris Collins and Tim Howard are concerned about saving face, but little else. After all, wealthier suburbanites who have little contact with the jail system are their political base. Howard and Collins can completely ignore the issue and not suffer politically in any way.”

    Not only do suburbanites have little contact with the jail system, CC and Company are actively working to reduce the amount the County pays to house Buffalo inmates and dump that cost back on Buffalo (bye bye another part of regionalism).

    Its hard to say who gets more benefit from the Holding Center housing Buffalo criminals, scared suburbanites or crime weary Buffalonians.

    It seems to me that crime is the entire county’s problem, but then that would require running a government like a government, something not possible under this regime.

  3. Christopher Smith March 9, 2010 at 10:23 am #

    “we don’t trust the DOJ”.

    Well, WHO THE FUCK CARES? You don’t get to decide, you arrogant dick. Laws are laws, they are not subject to executive review and approval.

    As Marc carefully points out in his article, Collins/Green/Howard keep saying they follow and meet the state guidelines for correctional standards. Well, the state is suing them because they don’t.

  4. Hapklein March 9, 2010 at 12:09 pm #

    I am still shocked by the arrogance that has been displayed by Erie County since the beginning of this fiasco. Chris Collins and the Sheriff have just been so blandly and seeming unaware of the rage of many responsible citizens of Erie County and how outlandish is their postures in this.
    I recall at the beginning tha Collins complained how “liberal,” forces in the Federal government were the basis for the investigation and I think we have had possibly three and certainly two suicides. Even with the absent paperwork on the last suicide it seems that those staffers would have been so attuned to the problem that another death would be prevented just by extra diligence.
    Its not liberal or conservative things that are going wrong in this county it is an arrogance that they can do no wrong.

  5. Joel March 9, 2010 at 8:48 pm #

    Of course, the next tactic will be Jedi Mind Tricks! “You don’t need to look in the holding center… these aren’t the incidents you are looking for”.  And indeed – the DOJ is the DOJ. You don’t get to pick and choose who gets to investigate once the hammer comes down.

  6. Tim March 10, 2010 at 12:02 am #

    You can’t stop suicide? Maybe not in some cases, but absolutely you need to at least TRY. Take away anything that could be used to kill oneself and get a therapist in there pronto to evaluate.


  1. Chris Collins vs. Barbara Miller-Williams: PolitiFAIL 2010 | - March 29, 2010

    […] know Collins’ record by now: behaving like the new George Wallace and standing in the doorway of the Erie County Holding Center, cutting county support for nutrition programs for children and pregnant women, and generally […]

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