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Management And Training

Jail plagued by lawsuit thoroughly cleaned before federal visit

March 17, 2010
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BUFFALO, NY — County employees have been working overtime to clean, paint and repair the Erie County Holding Center a week before a visit from the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate whether the jail failed to protect the health of inmates, according to the The Buffalo News.

According to the story, Holding Center inmates and staff have complained of the dirty conditions at the jail for years, which included problems like mold, roaches and mice.

Betty Guise, a former Holding Center employee, said: "The place is a hellhole."

County Attorney Cheryl A. Green insisted, however, that the extensive cleaning and repairs — which included the installation of new rugs — had nothing to do with a lawsuit filed against the jail by the Justice Department claiming they failed to protect the rights of inmates in the areas of suicide prevention, health care, mental health care and protections from abuse by both guards and other inmates, the story stated.

Green said: "The county engages in regular maintenance of all of our facilities, including the Erie County Holding Center. Unlike private citizens and businesses which take proper care of their belongings, inmates tend to be particularly destructive of county property for which they bear no financial responsibility."

Comptroller Mark C. Poloncarz expressed doubts, however, saying: "They were told it was basically to get it as nice as possible in a short period of time. I found it interesting that they haven''t done this over the long haul, but now they are willing to offer people overtime to make that happen."

Justice Department officials will enter the facility on Monday and Tuesday of next week, the story added.

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