What the Astorino campaign has over looked are the prevalent dangers right here in Westchester, under his administration and in Westchester residents’ back yard; their county jail. Under the leadership of Astorino and his appointees the county jail has become a state of confusion and danger for officers, civilians and prisoners, a local Westchester blog ‘Independent Democrats‘ reported, during Astorino’s fail bid for the gubernatorial seat.
“They blame the lost on the Feds, but that’s not true, just bad management,” said the insider, Independent Democrats reported. But what the insider wants the public to really be concerned about is the increase of inmate assaults on officers and the safety of the jail.
“A female inmate tried to escape from officers at Mt. Vernon hospital, the damn radios didn’t work right, the officers had to call Mt. Vernon PD on their cell phones for backup”, said the insider. “We have had stabbings and multiple assaults almost everyday. One officer was stabbed in his arm by an inmate and the department didn’t even press charges against the inmate.”
There are even reports of a Captain taking a female officer hostage. This female officer has been out on workplace injury ever since. Another officer suffered a broken jaw by an inmate.
There have been several attacks (at least 12 this year our sources tell us) of correction officers by inmates but for some reason the press hasn’t covered many if any of these incidents. BW was the only press present when dozen of Westchester Correction Officers converged outside Mount Pleasant City Hall on Thursday, August 7th. The Westchester C.O.’s came out to show their support for their fellow officer, H. Gray, a white C.O. who was recently assaulted, viciously attacked and choked unconscious by a black inmate and is recovering from a broken collarbone.
Westchester County police charged Michael Howard, 25, with second-degree assault, Monday Dec 1st. Howard is alleged to have attacked Correction Officer Dwayne Boland on Nov. 26 breaking the correction officer’s jaw, Lohud reported. Boland, a correction officer for two years, had his jaw wired and has been out of work since the attack. Howard had been at the county jail for about 10 days following his arrest in White Plains on misdemeanor charges of criminal mischief and trespassing, according to jail records.
When speaking about officers, who asked to remain anonymous in fear of any retaliation from the department officials, BW will refer to them as officers A, B and C. The officers say that the jail is a powder cage ready to explode. They say they are constantly having unknown liquid substances thrown on them and the departments fails to bring charges on the inmates.
“If this was a police officer, the person would be arrested and brought up on felony assault charges”, said officer A, “but because we are in a jail, management have given inmates a green light to abuse us.”
White Antiracist Community Organizer (as she describes herself on her twitter page) Sandy Bernabei of the Anti-Racist Alliance, encourages all “to reach out to Union President Alonzo West and ask him to please put mechanisms of safety in place that will protect the correction officers and protect the youth and the inmates from acting out their rage in such a way that exasperates their incarceration and makes the situation worst and feeds into the bias and stereotypes in the community that these kids deserve the harsh treatment they received.”
“With all the assaults we haven’t seen our President,” said Officer B. “We just had a union election, the two Vice Presidents were walking around campaigning but when Boland got his jaw broke, you couldn’t find anyone.”
“We have cameras on top of cameras,” said Officer C. “You would think the department would use the cameras to protect the officer but that’s never the case.”
Just recently officers at the WCDOC had enough of the management bringing bogus charges against officers and the union for not being more proactive in defending officers. When one officer was suspended for 90 days for defending himself against an inmate attack, his fellow officers got together and raised over seven thousand dollars to help the officer out while he was out on suspension.
“We will do it again and again and again until somebody gets the message that enough is enough”, said Officer A.
While there have been calls for Alonzo West, President of Westchester Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association (COBA) by Bernabei and others to bring security to the Westchester County Jail, their cries seem to fall on deaf ears. As union president he was visibly absence in August in the show of support for officer Gray, which several officers mentioned to BW that day outside the courthouse. We place several calls into the union president, left a message or two, but he could not be reach for a comment, despite being told by his office he would get back to us, within hours, he simply didn’t feel the need to call us back.