Appointees Confirmed for Corrections Advisory Board

Board tasked with providing oversight into EC Sheriff's Office

Brendan Keany
November 21, 2019 - 4:11 pm
Corrections Specialist Advisory Board

(WBEN Photo/Brendan Keany)

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BUFFALO (WBEN) - A long process has finally come to an end, as the Erie County Legislature has officially confirmed the 11 appointees to serve on the Corrections Specialist Advisory Board.

This board will meet regularly to help ensure additional oversight into the treatment of detainees at the Holding Center, as well as the County Correctional Facility in Alden. The appointees, who each receive a three-year term, were appointed by various legislators, agencies and community groups.

Appointees

"When it was time for the board to come back, after I had joined the legislature, I didn't just want members of the community to serve on the board," said Legislator April Baskin, who took the leading role in making sure this law came to fruition. "We hear the community's voice strongly when it comes to the Office of the Sheriff - what we needed was specialists - people who had experience with the correctional system, people who have been incarcerated at one point life, or people who know exactly what it means to walk the halls of jails, to fund jails and to make jails operate."

George BaBa Eng was appointed by Prisoners are People Too, and he explained what that responsibility means to him as this board moves forward.

"Checks and balances are essential to our democracy - that's what I see this advisory board being - a check and balance to what goes on with people who are charged with crimes or people who are being held in detention" he said. "All human beings deserve humane treatment...not coddling, not soft, but humane treatment, and that is our mission."

The law calls on the board to meet frequently, but it doesn't necessarily give a requirement. Baskin is hoping that the body will at least meet once a month. Every meeting must be open to the public, and there must be time allotted for public comment.

"This board is going to be a conduit to, I believe, more improvement than we saw this year in the Office of the Sheriff," said Baskin.

The legislature's chairwoman already has sights set on the board's first priority.

"Making sure that, upon arrival to the Holding Center, there can be some form of mental health and drug testing immediately," said Baskin. "The members here and the majority caucus have talked about that at great length under the leadership of majority leader (John) Brusso, and that's something that we're going to be pushing the board to tackle the minute that they convene."

Listen to the full press conference below:

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