Opinion: Getting ‘tough on crime,’ Sheriff Hodgson hasn’t worked and cost too much taxpayer money

Apr 2, 2022

To the editor:

Thomas Hodgson, the renowned “making the community safe” sheriff of Bristol County, in reality has made the community less safe, and simultaneously cost millions of dollars to the taxpayers.

A community is not safe when those people who are released from prison re-commit  crimes and are re-incarcerated at taxpayer expense. Studies have proven, beyond question, that recidivism is most prevalent in communities where the prison system does not offer sufficient rehabilitation, vocational and re-entry programs.

The Bristol County House of Correction, under the twenty five year stewardship of Hodgson, falls into both categories of insufficient rehabilitation and medical services and a very high recidivism rate.

These expenses, in the millions of dollars, for detention and commitment, are paid each year by the tax payers. In addition, Hodgson and his extensive staff, which is incommensurate with the incarcerated population, cost additional millions each year.

Most strikingly, Hodgson has cost tax payers over four million dollars, or more, in legal fees to defend in law suits brought by employees, estates of deceased who died in his facility and the incarcerated claiming violations of their constitutional rights. And that figure does not include hundreds of thousands paid in court ordered fees to attorneys representing the complainants and restitution for unlawfully imposed fees on the incarcerated.

A sheriff who doesn’t keep the community safe and has had to expend millions of dollars of tax payer funds,  must be replaced by someone who will promote effective and cost saving programs for the incarcerated and detained, and strictly adheres to the law and regulations, assuring the health and safety of all who are committed to his care and all who are employed on his staff.

Betty Ussach,