The biggest difference between Wilhelm's approach and that of the previous administration is his prosecution of weapons possession violations. Cloke's priority in weapons cases focused on whether a prisoner's intent was aggression or defense. "The guy who just had it for defensive purposes, we may have let go," he said. "That wasn't what I felt we should be spending most of our time on."
Wilhelm feels that the prosecution of all weapons cases is crucial. "I want to make the correctional facilities safer," he said. Wilhelm was an assistant prosecutor under Cloke. When he took over Cloke's office he immediately contacted officials at the Coxsackie and Greene facilities. Prison officials were elated. A spokesman for the Corrections Department says, "D.A. Wilhelm has become a trusted ally to the department."
Wilhelm also points to the fact that he has not required additional funding or staff to pursue prisoner convictions. It doesn't hurt that his county is being reimbursed by the state for every prison case he prosecutes. "All of the time is billed to the state and the state is reimbursing the county for all of that time." While comparative figures for violent behavior in the Coxsackie and Green prisons are not available, it is clear that at least one half of Wilhelm's plan is working well. The county is getting paid.
Source: Daily Freeman .
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