The Syracuse community could soon provide more oversight of the Onondaga County Justice Center under a local law introduced Monday to county lawmakers.
Legislature Chair Ryan McMahon presented a draft of the measure at a public safety committee meeting, framing it as a way to increase communication between local organizations, and also act as another check and balance to avoid making costly mistakes…
The United As One Coalition has been pressuring lawmakers for more than a year to create a mechanism to oversee jail operations in light of inmate deaths at the hands of deputies. Most recently, Cheunice Patterson and Raul Pinet, Jr. died at the Onondaga County Justice Center. Barrie Gewanter with the New York Civil Liberties Union in Syracuse has been one of the most vocal advocates of an oversight committee:
Gewanter said Monday that she feels that the legislation is strong, largely because in the committee will be able to take investigation results and then make recommendations on policies, procedures, and training at the jail using the facts. She refers to the training provision as a key “quality improvement tool,” to make the jail better and safer for both inmates and jail staff.