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Letter: Where is the oversight on prisoner restraint?

Where is the oversight on prisoner restraint?

Individuals coming into the Erie County Holding Center need to be physically restrained on occasion. One must assume, based on the Richard Metcalf case, that there is no protocol for safely handling prisoners. Working with mental health clients in private agencies for over 30 years, I understand that training and accountability for the safety of others is a mandate.

Our staff is required by law to be trained in proper restraint procedure should the client become harmful to himself or others. In addition, a designated person, sometimes a nurse, is called in to monitor the restraint while it is occurring. Later that day, all staff involved meet to debrief the situation. Completed paperwork is turned in for further review by supervisors who then make it available to an oversight committee.

Where is the oversight committee on prisoner restraint? What happened to Metcalf? How was the spit mask applied? Will we ever know why his face was so badly bruised and swollen? Why weren’t the first responders allowed in the prison to care for him when they arrived? What about the other 21 deaths during Sheriff Tim Howard’s tenure that have been shrouded in secrecy?

Patricia Meyer-Lee, MS.Ed.


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