Opinion: Donald Trump and Sheriff Hodgson both absent from duty

Nov 24, 2020

To the editor:

As the coronavirus surges throughout the United States, President Donald Trump is golfing and griping. Consistently absent from involvement to contain the spread of this virus, Trump has shown obsessive concern for his political fortunes rather than the lives of people in the United States.

Similarly, Sheriff Thomas Hodgson has displayed the same indifference to the people he was elected to superintend in the Bristol County House of Correction during the worst crisis to have ever occurred during his tenure.

The attorneys who represent many of the incarcerated people in the BCHOC and at the Ash Street Jail have been advised by their program director not to visit their clients who are reporting that the virus is prevalent in the facility.

It is undeniable that the spread of Covid-19 is being reported throughout the jails and prisons in the United States, but proper protocols and practices could have reduced the infection rate in the Bristol County House of Correction — along with cooperation in releasing presumptively non-dangerous incarcerated people.

Sheriff Hodgson was absolutely irresponsible to have left his post in Bristol County to campaign for Trump and make several unnecessary, but self-serving, trips to Washington D.C. during this pandemic.

In addition to his continued absences, Hodgson ignored the universally recommended masking and distancing when in Washington D.C. and then when he returned to Bristol County where he was frequently photographed unmasked and standing close to staff members.

The pandemic has been a proving ground for real leadership. Those who have measured up by promoting proven protocols, and shown compassion for their constituents, have been more successful in combating the spread of the coronavirus.

Hodgson, meanwhile, has boasted about his adherence to accepted procedures and low rates of infection at the Bristol County House of correction —  both of which are disputed. So not only has he provided scant leadership to keep the infection rate low, but he has been deceptive in his reporting the true conditions at his jail.

Indifference and deception, which are the hallmark of Trump’s response to the coronavirus, are also the identifying features of Hodgson‘s position during this pandemic. It is time for Hodgson to resign or be replaced.

Betty Ussach,