DICKINSON, NY (WIVT/WBGH) – Visitors are being let back into the Broome County Jail for the first time in over 2 years although it began later than some had expected.
Local activist group Justice and Unity in the Southern Tier successfully sued Broome County Sheriff Dave Harder to force him to reopen visitation.
A 3 judge appeals panel set today as the date last week.
So members of JUST set up a welcome table not far from the jail offering visiting family members free coffee and doughnuts in celebration.
However, the when visitation did not begin at the customary time of 8:30 this morning, JUST discovered that the jail has reduced the hours from 40 across 5 days per week to just 14 across 3 days.
JUST members say they’re tired of the Sheriff restricting the inmates constitutional right to visit loved ones.
JUST Founding Member Rozann Greco says, “It’s frustrating and it’s just unreasonable. You’re violating people’s right to have contact with their loved ones. Regardless of if they’re incarcerated, regardless of whether they’re sentenced or not sentenced. It’s just really tough.”
Members of JUST allege that Sheriff Harder is playing games with them.
They say the reduced hours violate the judge’s order and they plan to sue him for contempt of court.
Harder was out of town today and unavailable for comment.