Thursday, January 27, 2022

Prison Violence: a Concern for State Corrections Officers:
Corrections union fears prisons will get worse; increased danger

Michael Powers, president of New York's corrections officers' union, sharply criticized the state and its corrections department Tuesday after reports of violence in state prisons reached an all-time high in 2021. 

Testifying virtually during the joint legislative budget hearing in front of state lawmakers, Powers noted that the pandemic, reforms to the discipline system and an influx of contraband entering prisons have contributed to unsafe work environments for corrections staff. 

He said reported attacks on corrections officers by inmates reached a record 1,173, despite a 40-year low in inmate population of about 31,000. "The environment inside correctional facilities is harsh and unforgiving and over the past decade, statistics show that living and working in prisons has become significantly unsafe," Powers said. 

 In 2012, only 524 assaults against DOCCS staff were reported with an inmate population of just under 55,000, according to the union. In response to the violence, the corrections department's acting commissioner, Anthony Annucci, wrote a memo to inmates in November reminding them of the consequences they could face for assaulting staff and said many of the incidents were unprompted. Powers said DOCCS should go further to protect staff.
"After years of the department hand-waving these attacks as 'isolated incidents,' one would think NYSCOPBA would stand and applaud the state for finally admitting to the violence problem with our facilities. Regrettably, that is not the case," Powers said. "Despite this admission, the department has not taken any significant, proactive steps to protect our members of this looming threat to their personal safety." Testifying earlier in the hearing Annucci said a task force to address prison violence has been formed and includes union representatives. "We'll get their recommendations. We'll look at a number of different things to make sure we run the safest possible system," Annucci said. "We didn't just want superintendents or central-office types, we want the rank and file to be represented. We want to hear from them directly--what they think." But Powers fears violence in prisons could get even worse once the HALT Act, which limits solitary confinement for inmates to 15 days, implements alternative rehabilitative measures and eliminates solitary confinement for vulnerable inmates in state prisons, goes into effect. "There are very few deterrents in place to dissuade incarcerated individuals from attacking staff," Powers said. "In a few month when HALT is fully implemented, the ability to remove and separate violent individuals from attacking more staff and other fellow inmates will be severely hampered. The incarcerated population is well aware of this," Powers said. "The violent predators that lurk inside our prison facilities can't wait for HALT to be implemented, not because they believe they are capable of being rehabilitated with more programming and gold stars for good behavior, but because they know the state will no longer hold them accountable for their actions." Powers said the union has a pending bill for a violence study to be conducted in what he hopes will clarify why violence in prisons has increased. "We strongly believe we know thae reason for the skyrocketing violence, but this legislation will ensure that root cause behind the spike in violence is identified," he said. "Until that violence study is completed,and this safety issue is addressed, we request that any more changes to the state's incarceration model or policies that alter the disciplinary system be put on hold, including the implementation of HALT." Annucci admitted during his testimony that he had his concerns about the HALT Act initially and said the timeline to enact it is an "aggressive" one, but those concerns have been calmed, Annucci said. "I can tell you we have marshalled tremendous resources in order for us to implement this law as the legislature intended," Annucci said. "I created an excutive steering committee, and I then created four sub committees. They have worked extremely hard to structure an elaborate program to go forward to implement it, from infrastructure to changing our disciplinary guidelines, to developing programming for the individuals when they come out of their [special housing units] and their [residential rehabilitation units]. "I'm very comfortable where we are and that we'll hit the ground running. I believe we'll change behavior for the better, especially when I heard the program's presentation. We're not just providing them out-of-cell time. We are really trying to focus on the behavior that got them into segregated confinement to begin with. I'm confident we'll be able to make some changes." Powers also asked that the state's short lived secure vendor program, which eliminated care packages to inmates from friends and family and instead limited pacages from an approved, online vendor service, return. Powers said reintroducing the program would stem contraband coming into state prisons. Powers believes that corrections staff should also receive more recognition from the state as pandemic front-line workers. To Read More, go to: https://www.thedailynewsonline.com/top

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SILVER LAKE EXPERIENCE (SLE) - Registration now Open for this August 4-6, 2022's SLE. See: SilverLakeExperience.org

W. PETE MAIRS

W. PETE MAIRS
Walter D. “Pete” Mairs, 81, died peacefully on July 23, 2021. Born in Avon, N.Y., on Sept. 3, 1939, Pete was a longtime resident of Geneva, N.Y., and these past many years in Buffalo, N.Y., as well as his beloved Silver Lake. Pete is survived by his wife, Linda Bergstrom Mairs, a loving and true companion; children, Mimi C. Mairs, Jonathan B. Mairs; sisters, June Huff, Helen Dole; brother, Thomas Mairs; stepchildren, Daniel Brinkworth, Jennie Ramsey; sister-in-law, Anne Bergstrom, eight beautiful grandchildren, and nieces and nephews. A service and celebration of life is planned for the fall when all can share the joy of Pete’s life together. Arrangements by Stephenson – Dougherty Funeral Home, Avon, N.Y.

Editor's Note: It was a privilege knowing and working with Pete Mairs during his presidency of the Silver Lake Institute. He was a kind and gentle man, but also firm in his leadership. I served as Treasurer and Chaplain of SLI during those years and I could always depend on Pete's presence in the worship service. He was a man of faith and a gem of a human being. May he rest in God's care.

GERALD C. SAHRLE

GERALD C. SAHRLE
Gerald C. Sahrle, 80, of Perry, passed away on Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021, at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester. He was born on Oct. 10, 1941, in Wayland, N.Y., to the late Charles A. and Helen I. (Blowers) Sahrle. Gerry was a line foreman for 32 1/2 years for NYSE&G, working out of the Perry and Hamburg locations, and was a Town of Perry Councilman. He was a member of the Free and Accepted Masons of the Constellation Lodge -404 in Perry. He was an avid fisherman, hunter and woodworker. He is survived by his wife, Valary A. (Conley) Sahrle; 1 son, Gerald (Pamela) Sahrle II of Silver Springs; 2 sisters, Millie Edmond of Greece, Bonnie Fink of Winston-Salem, N.C., 3 brothers, Ronald (Linda) Sahrle of Dansville, Robert (Susan) Sahrle of Springwater, Kenneth Sahrle of Dansville; 5 grandchildren, Bradley Musscarella, Stone and Winston Sahrle, Conley and Cooper Gayton; along with many nieces, nephews and friends. Along with his parents, he is preceded in death by a brother, Thomas Sahrle, who passed away in 2012. Services will be held at the convenience of the family. Gerry will be laid to rest in West Perry Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the Perry Center Fire Department, P.O. Box 204, Perry, NY 14530. For more information, please call (585) 237-2626 or to leave a message of condolence, visit www.eatonwatsonfuneralhome.com. Arrangements completed by Eaton-Watson Funeral Home, LLC. 98 North Main Street, Perry, NY 14530.

Editor's Note: Gerald and Valarie could always be seen in the family pew with Pamela, Stone and Winston at Perry First United Methodist Church and continue to be loved. Gerry will be sorely missed. Both were supporters of the Arts at the Silver Lake Institute and Valarie was active in painting and participating in the Annual Show in August. Valarie's presence was always valued and appreciated.

KATHARINE E. PRACZKAJLO ("Kathy P.")

KATHARINE E. PRACZKAJLO ("Kathy P.")
"Kathy P." passed November 8, 2021, of Hamburg and Boston, NY. Beloved daughter of Joseph and Barbara Michalak; loving sister of Daniel Michalak; devoted wife of the late Jeffrey Praczkajlo; cherished mother of Jennifer (Shawn) Jump; loving babcia of Lily Jump; also survived by many beloved family members and friends who became her family. A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.

Editor's Note: "Kathy P." as she was better known to us at Silver Lake was an annual summer visitor for most of the last number of years at the invitation of Silver Laker Julia Hoffner. She stayed at the Hoffner Cottage, and became known as both the fun visitor with the vivacious smile to the neighbors at the intersection of Haven Ave. and the Ames Walkway. Kathy P. and Julie could be seen walking and talking between the cottage and the Hoffner boathouse where they could be close to the water. She was also occasionally seen at the Saturday morning breakfasts at Stoody Hall. Her stay was anywhere between 4 days and a week where she had the opportunity to develop a love for Silver Lake. She was not yet eligible for retirement when late last week she developed "a cold" and had to remain home from her job. She did not update her condition over the weekend so the local police made a wellness visit and found her deceased on Monday. She was one of those many people who found Silver Lake and friendship for brief respites where she also found new strength and energy to return to work. She is being particularly mourned by those in the Haven/Ames neighborhood. She will be memorialized next summer at the annual Celebration of Life Memorial Service at Epworth Hall.

BRENDA J. PADDOCK

BRENDA J. PADDOCK
Brenda Joan Paddock, 82, of Perry, born April 15, 1939, now resides in heaven with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Brenda met Jesus as her Savior in 1965. She met him in person on Nov. 14, 2021. She had a beautiful homecoming with music, singing and praying, leading her into Glory. Her last words were “I am well, I am well.”

Brenda’s greatest loves were her family and friends. Brenda had five children with her husband Roger: Don and Daelene Paddock of Florida, Jody and Tim Von Sanden of Pavilion, Bradley and Jeanie Paddock of Warsaw, Jennifer and Paul Guy of Massachusetts, and Nathan and Jill Paddock of Perry.

Brenda dearly loved her grandchildren: Jessica Morillo, Nikki and Clint O’Brien, Luke Paddock, Paul Paddock, Ian and Brooklyn Paddock, Joe and Louana Paddock, Burke and Megan Paddock, Aaron Paddock, Ellen Paddock, Andrew Paddock, Rachael Paddock, Abigail Paddock, Erik and Cassandra Von Sanden, Jacquelyn and Michael Jones, Tim Von Sanden, Brandon and Brandee Paddock, Jamey and Laura Paddock, Peter and Kara Guy, Candy and Jay Waitkevich, Marlo and Ryan Bolger and Jenna and Rory Peterson.

Brenda was blessed and loved her great grandchildren: Chloe, Olivia and Nicholas Von Sanden, Joshua and Jaxon Morillo, Jameson and Cassandra O’Brien, Atlas Paddock, Noah and Ezra Jones, Colton, Brantley and Charlotte Guy, Cameron Waitkevich, Amelia Bolger and Brennen Leonard.

Brenda is also survived by her brother and sister in laws; Frank and Emma Paddock, Viva and Jim Phillips-Richardson and Kurt and Lynn Paddock.

Brenda first started working as a secretary at Perry Central School. She then assisted her husband building Paddock’s Breeding Service. Roger and Brenda together built and ran the Sandsabarn teenage nightclub. Brenda was owner and operator of Serendipity Travel. Brenda’s pleasures included playing organ and piano. She played at a number of area churches along with performing for her loved ones. UPDATED -- Brenda also played with conviction at both indoor and outdoor services at the Silver Lake Institute where her grandson, Luke, sang at Epworth Hall on several occasions and was appreciated by all who heard his inspiring voice.

Brenda was preceded in death by her parents Noble and Freda Buckland, her husband Roger and son Bradley.

A Committal service at West Perry Cemetery will be held tomorrow, Wednesday, November 17 at 11 a.m., followed by a Celebration of Life at LaGrange Baptist Church at 4 p.m.

Memorial donations may be made in Brenda’s honor to the LaGrange Baptist Church 7092 LaGrange Rd. Perry, NY 14530 or to the First Congregational Church P.O. Box 156 Perry, NY 14530. Arrangements completed by Eaton-Watson Funeral Home, LLC. 98 N. Main St., Perry, N.Y. 14530. For more information or to sign the online guest registry please visit www.eatonwatsonfuneralhome.com.

AUGUST 4-7, 2022

AUGUST 4-7, 2022
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