Petition to Remove Sheriff Timothy Howard

Petition to Remove Sheriff Timothy Howard

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Leslie Walker started this petition to Assembly Members and

Sheriff Timothy B. Howard habitually undermines the rule of law and has cost Erie County taxpayers millions of dollars in litigation fees, verdicts, and settlements due to his negligence. Thirty men and women have died on his watch, many were suicides; this is a rate five times the national average for local jails. These statistics helped land Erie County on the New York Commission of Correction’s (COC) list of the top five “Most Problematic Local Correctional Facilities in New York State.” The Commission of Correction Medical Review Board described medical care in the Holding Center, in its investigation of an inmate’s death, as “grossly incompetent and inadequate as to shock the conscience.”

In 2007, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) opened an investigation into deplorable conditions and violations of inmates’ constitutional rights at the Erie County Holding Center. Among other things, jail officials failed to identify inmates at risk and routinely ignored conditions that made it easier to attempt to commit suicide. In response to this crisis, Howard barred DOJ investigators from the Holding Center.

After a prisoner escaped from the Erie County Correctional Facility in 2009, the COC criticized Howard for his failure to implement basic correctional and custody procedures and cited his “utter indifference to standard security protocols or a flat-out refusal to abide by state regulations even after they had been repeatedly pointed out to county officials.”


In 2017, the COC cited Howard for failing to report four inmate suicide attempts, the erroneous release of one prisoner, and an assault on another prisoner. Howard defied the COC by trivializing prisoners’ suicide attempts and refusing to report them as such.


 Erie County taxpayers have already spent approximately $4 million to defend or settle lawsuits that have arisen from deaths, injuries, and illnesses sustained by inmates in Howard’s jails.  Sheriff Howard has proven to be indifferent to human suffering and immune to state oversight. New York State Constitution Article 13, Section 13(a) grants Gov. Andrew Cuomo the power to remove a sheriff from office. We write to ask you, our elected representatives, to appeal to the governor to remove Sheriff Howard.
 

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