Erie County Jail management gets reaccreditation

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) – The Erie County Sheriff’s Prison Management Division has been granted reaccreditation.

For years, the Erie County Detention Center in Buffalo has come under scrutiny for prison mismanagement involving inmate deaths.

But the New York State Sheriff’s Association issued a reaccreditation Thursday.

Erie County Sheriff John Garcia said this is just the start of better protection for those in their custody.


Erie County Sheriff John Garcia receives an official reaccreditation to run the jail.

Sheriff Garcia appeared before county lawmakers to honor several deputies for helping regain accreditation.

An accreditation team spent several days here at the County Detention Center and Alden Correctional Facility in Alden.

166 policies and procedures were reviewed, including:

  • Agency procedures
  • Facility maintenance
  • Records management
  • Internal Affairs
  • Medical standards of the prison population

“And moving forward, this is just the beginning – we will continue to improve and the ultimate goal is to better serve our public,” Sheriff Garcia explained.



Outside the Erie County Detention Center on Delaware Avenue, Buffalo.

Accreditation takes place every five years.

Sheriff Garcia says when he took over from former Sheriff Timothy Howard in January, his team began to reassess the management of the jail.

According to the New York State Commission on Corrections, there have been 32 deaths at the county detention center during Howard’s 16 years of administration.



Outside the Erie County Detention Center.

Garcia says they now have a medical assistant treatment program that is making a difference inside the prison.

“For them to get methadone and Suboxone which may stop their suicidal ideation will only benefit everyone else the increase in the forensic mental health department which reports to the county executive – c It’s a goal of my office — is to make this fall under the umbrella of the sheriff’s office,” Sheriff Garcia remarked.



Inside the Erie County Detention Center.

While staffing shortages and mandatory overtime are still a major issue, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz recently announced $14.2 million as part of his proposed budget to add 37 correctional jobs. full-time and 10 part-time.

“So with that, we had an employee who wasn’t mandated to work and eight overtime hours,” Garcia noted.

But the sheriff says challenges remain at the downtown jail built in 1939 and Alden in 1985.



Outside Alden Correctional Institution.

“The holy grail of it all – is a new facility – one where there’s not a lot of manpower,” Garcia described. “We work with two older, outdated buildings and yet our staff have been able to achieve this gold standard for accreditation.”

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