Tag Archives: jails

Erie County Jails: Wins & Losses

10 Mar

You won’t read this anywhere else, because…well, I don’t know why.  I think it’s somewhat important because it was a major issue during 2009 and the recent Sheriff’s campaign.

Marc Odien explains that the Commission of Corrections won a court battle to ensure that inmates get assessed for safety risks, get hygenic supplies, and have clean bedding.  Guantanamo Tim loses one.

The Sheriff’s department is desperately trying to look decisive and ethical by firing the deputies who illegally beat the crap out of a detainee and lied about it.  Beating the crap out of a detainee, of course, is just another word for torture.  It’s also not the first such allegation, and calls into question the veracity of all of this “suicide” talk.

I picture federal DOJ interviews of county officials being not unlike the Monty Python Parrot Sketch.  “They’re not dead, they’re resting”.

But while we have inmate after inmate end up pining for the fjords, the state action is based on the premise that the jails are not up to the minimum standards the state requires, quite contrary to what the county is saying.  This is such a failure of leadership, but the Boss Hogg-esque Collins administration and our own Rosco P. Coltrane get away with it because the people of Hazzard Erie County for the most part don’t have contact with the prisons and don’t really care if people behind bars are treated humanely or inhumanely.

Until it’s their neighbor or family member.

Deep Thought

9 Mar

How soon before we always surround the word “suicide” with quotation marks when referring to the Erie County jail system?

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.