"If this is the way Queen Victoria treats her prisoners, then she doesn't deserve to have any." -- Oscar Wilde
The lead editorial in today's Buffalo News Opinion section lays it on the line:
- Sheriff should step down - Buffalo News Editorial
Erie County needs a new sheriff.
If it's not truly dangerous convicted felons finding their way out of their cells in the county's downtown Holding Center or its Alden Correctional Facility, then it's neglect, mistreatment, even suicide among inmates who may have been waiting for their first look at the inside of a courtroom.
Case after case, documented or credibly alleged, has arisen over the last few years, all of them posing a threat either to the general public or to inmates whose health and safety are legally and morally the responsibility of the county that has incarcerated them.
But whenever these concerns are raised, whether by inmates, their grieving loved ones or state and federal officials, the response of Erie County Sheriff Timothy B. Howard and his staff is the same.
It's not our fault. We're being unfairly picked on.
If that's the best that Howard and company can do, then it is time for the sheriff to step aside — or be removed [See Article IV, Section 8]. Someone needs to take responsibility for this difficult but crucial local government function.
The latest sad example of how the current regime tries to turn every critique into a political football came last week when the New York State Commission on Corrections issued a blistering review of how a series of oversights and blunders allowed a dangerous prisoner to get out of his cell.
Rather than taking the findings of the state commission, headed by another experienced lawman, to heart, Howard made himself invisible and trotted out an underling to blast the report as a "vicious personal attack on Sheriff Howard based on politics and an attempt to alarm the public."
But the report was not political. And the public ought to be alarmed. ...
And, speaking of doing the right thing:
- Overdue justice may come - Buffalo News Editorial
Compensation for former Bethlehem Steel employees who worked during the Cold War and unknowingly were exposed to uranium is finally looking like a real possibility. It’s about time.
A federal advisory panel’s recommendation that former workers or their surviving family members be compensated for diseases that might have resulted from their work on Cold War-era nuclear programs should be upheld by Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius. The recommendation then goes before Congress.
-- George Pyle/The Buffalo News