Opinion: Sheriff Heroux is creative, considerate and cost conscious

Feb 26, 2024

Without exception the articles, letters from inmates (obtained through freedom of information requests) press releases and consistent feedback from employees, indicate that Sheriff Paul Heroux has, in a relatively brief time, changed the tenor and atmosphere at the Bristol County House of Correction.

The diminishing staff problem he inherited has been resolved with an ever increasing list of applicants who, it appears, have heard of the changed work environment.

The more intensive medical and psychological evaluations, in tandem with the professionally recommended protocols for suicide prevention, are being implemented as promised. And additionally, and creatively, the cells and bunk beds are being remodeled to reduce suicide risks, provide privacy and decrease violence amongst inmates.

These bunk modifications are being constructed by the inmates as job training, as well as sending the message that their safety and rehabilitation are of major concern to Sheriff Heroux.

The Sheriff is also ever mindful of the enormous costs associated with punitive incarceration that has proven to increase recidivism and produces a safety threat to staff as well as to inmates.

And the Sheriff, in response to the destruction caused by a handful of inmates, has also indicated that he will not accept belligerent and abusive behavior and those alleged to have committed assaultive and destructive actions will be criminally charged.

Clearly Sheriff Heroux is implementing major changes with the objectives of reducing the incentives for the released inmates to re-offend and for them to to re-enter society with job skills and hopefully a sense of responsibility to their families and community.

Betty Ussach, Dartmouth