Genesee County jail staffing is at issue - The Buffalo News
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Genesee County jail staffing is at issue

BATAVIA – The state Commission of Corrections wants to increase staffing at the Genesee County Jail by almost half – a level the sheriff believes is excessive.

Sheriff Gary T. Maha said in a letter sent to the commission Tuesday that adding 10 full-timers to a staff of 25 is “excessive and we can do the job with fewer than that.”

The jail, which was renovated in 1995, can accommodate 97 inmates.

The commission also wants to add four part-timers with the increase in employees costing up to $1 million over three years.

Maha, who has been sheriff for 25 years, concedes that the jail is understaffed but notes that there have been fewer than a half-dozen inmate problems, usually fights, in recent years. Also, there have been no suicides or serious assaults. Only males are housed in the jail. Female prisoners are sent to jails in neighboring counties.

The Corrections Commission contends that the current staff – about one staffer per four prisoners – cannot meet its obligations, including housing, visits, health care, religious services, education, legal access and grievance programs.

The jail’s 2013 budget is $3.6 million, all locally provided.

Adding nearly $1 million, Maha noted, would be impossible to handle in the county’s annual spending plan of about $145 million, which has held the line on property taxes for three years despite unfunded state mandates and double-digit increases in retirement costs.

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