Last Thursday, the Erie County Legislature confirmed 11 appointees to the newly formed Erie County Corrections Specialist Advisory Board (ECCSAB). The advisory board will meet regularly to discuss issues relating to jail management and the treatment of detainees in the Erie County Holding Center and the County Correctional Facility in Alden.
The ECCSAB is comprised of appointees from the Sheriff’s Office, the Office of the County Executive, and also several from the Legislature itself. Multiple community groups are included with their recommendations, including the Western New York Peace Center, the Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo, Prisoners are People Too, and the Erie County Bar Association.
Appointees receive a three year term, so we wanted to look a bit deeper into the background of each. Below you’ll find their name and title, who appointed them, and a direct link to either their Linkedin, appearances on podcasts, articles they have authored recently, or their social media pages, depending on what was readily available.
Kenneth Colon Youth Program Coordinator, Buffalo Urban League
Appointed by Chairwoman April N.M. Baskin
Ann M. Venuto, RN, MS, PMHNP President of National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Buffalo & Erie County
Appointed by Majority Leader John Bruso
Cindi McEachon Executive Director at Peaceprints of WNY
Appointed by Minority Leader Joseph Lorigo
Corey McCarthy, Founder and Owner of McCarthy I.E., a company that specializes in the restoration of historic churches and architectural homes.
Appointed by Sheriff Timothy B. Howard
Jonathan Miles Gresham, Esq. Partner at Law Offices of May and Gresham, Staff Attorney at Legal Iad Bureau of Buffalo
Appointed by County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz
Ysaias Feliz Deputy Director, Erie County Probation
Appointed by County Commissioner of Probation
Michael Ranney, Commission of Mental Health, Erie County
Appointed by self, County Commissioner of Mental Health
Keisha A. Williams, Esq., Attorney, Western New York Law Center
Appointed by Erie County Bar Association
Kevin Stadelmaier, Esq. Chief Attorney, Criminal Defense, Legal Aid Bureau
Appointed by Legal Aid Bureau
George BaBa Eng, Program Director, Prisoners Are People Too (PRP2)
Appointed By Prisoners are People Too
Heron Simmonds, Board Member, Chair of Racial Justice Task Force, WNY Peace Center
Appointed By Western New York Peace Center
Chairwoman April Baskin, who first introduced this local law in February 2018, said, “I am humbled and honored by the support we have received from the community during this process. The ECCSAB brings together a group of highly qualified individuals to ensure transparency and justice for those who find themselves incarcerated in Erie County’s jail facilities. We have listened to the constituents in our communities throughout the evolution of this board. I want to assure everyone who spoke so passionately about what they have seen and endured under Sheriff Howard that they have made an impact. I am confident this group will develop meaningful solutions and policies while also providing the scrutiny we need to stop the mistreatment of the people in the Sheriff’s custody. It is my hope that the ECCSAB will help mark the point where our jail facilities begin to move away from punishment and towards rehabilitation.”
Legislator Howard Johnson, a co-sponsor of the local law and the Chair of the Legislature’s Public Safety Committee, reiterated, “The conditions of our county jails are one of the prime concerns I hear from my constituents. They deserve to see their loved ones return safely from our facilities, and I am confident that this advisory board will help to ensure all are treated fairly and humanely while in custody.”
Meetings of the Corrections Specialist Advisory Board will be public and a schedule will be posted on the Legislature website when the board commences meetings. For more information on all public meetings of the Legislature, visit www.erie.gov/legislature.