We cannot let go unremarked New York City mayoral aspirant Curtis Sliwa’s merciless ambush of former N.Y.S. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver last week. With tabloid reporters and photographers in tow, he buzzed Silver on his apartment building intercom and told him he belonged back in jail.

As most readers are doubtless aware, Silver had been furloughed by the Federal Bureau of Prisons from federal prison to temporary home confinement while his application to serve his sentence for violation of federal criminal law was being processed by the Bureau.


A federal law passed last year in response to the corona pandemic authorizes home confinement for federal inmates on the basis of several enhanced virus risk factors, including advanced age and illness. After a preliminary review, a prisoner who appears to meet the law’s criteria is typically granted temporary furlough pending a final review and determination of the request.

So while the grant of the temporary furlough to Silver did not necessarily mean he would be released to home confinement, it was a strong indication that he appeared to qualify and would likely be so released.

Sliwa’s harangue seems entirely senseless. He offered no argument or evidence that Silver didn’t qualify for home release and why the Bureau of Prisons was wrong in its analysis. Nor could he, having not examined Silver. It is doubtful that he even knew at the time of his rant what the new federal law provided.

But as ill-advised as it was, it worked and Silver was ordered back to prison – furlough over. Hopefully this will in turn be reversed and he will be granted home confinement as Silver is an aged, very ill man.


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