When the U.S. Justice Department revealed beatings and brutality against the inmates in Erie County, N.Y.’s two jails, an insider offered an explanation: mandatory overtime. The source told the Buffalo News that forced overtime was burning out the staffs there. TThe effects of mandatory overtime need to be looked at with regard to how inmates are treated,” said a veteran Holding Center deputy who asked to remain unidentified.
Deputies exhausted by double shifts are locked inside New York’s second-largest pretrial detention facility for up to 16 hours a day with the dangerous, the deranged and the innocent desperate to be free. Like many problems with Erie County’s jails, mandatory overtime and its financial and psychological spin-offs seem to never go away. The Justice Department, in a blistering 50-page report, recites serious examples of physical punishment against inmates by deputies in the Correctional Facility in Alden and especially the busy Holding Center in downtown Buffalo.