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Erie County Ordered to Reduce Jail Population

By Joyce Kryszak

Buffalo, NY – The New York State Commission of Corrections has ordered Erie County to immediately reduce its inmate population at the correctional facility in Alden.

According to the state commission, the county is packing in about 70 inmates too many on any given day at the correctional facility. The directive calls for reducing the jail's total population to under 910.

This is the second directive handed down to Erie County by the state. The number of inmates allowed at the holding center in Buffalo is also restricted. Brian Doyle is Undersheriff for Erie County. He said the new directive is not a surprise.

Doyle said the only way to reduce the daily population is to board out prisoners with other county jails. He said the estimated the cost for that would be in excess of $120 per day for each prisoner.

Not including transportation and additional supervision that could reach a staggering $12,000 a day during peak arrest periods. Doyle said they asked the legislature Thursday to take action on the necessary appropriations. The matter was sent to committee. Doyle said the state's directive can not be ignored.

Doyle said the Sheriff did comply with the state's demand for documentation in response to the directive. The legislature's public safety committee is expected to take up the matter next week.

Doyle said there could be some flexibility in negotiating with the state, asking to redesignate usable bed space. But he said only if lawmakers act quickly to avoid a court order.

Over crowding at the facility was previously cited by the state following an investigation into the escape of Ralph Bucky Philips. He was later apprehended after wounding two officers and killing another.

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