Opinion: Sheriff Hodgson takes action

Sep 1, 2022

To the editor:

In reply to much vitriolic criticism of the record and reputation of Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson, I ask that opponents pause and reflect on a few facts.

First, and perhaps foremost, Sheriff Hodgson’s continued goal is to improve inmates’ lives to return to the community in productive pursuits. The high recidivism rate referred to is often the result of probation violation rather than a return to crime. The Sheriff’s Office offers a newly introduced CDL simulator to teach inmates truck driving skills, as well as ongoing education courses to enrich their speaking, writing, and civics skills and earn them Hi-Set certification, which is equivalent to a high school diploma.

Some may say that is all well and good but his incarceration is harsh, punitive, and old fashioned. Not true.The BCSO and House of Correction is inspected every three years for three intensive days by the American Correctional Association, which examines cell conditions, medical records, and correctional policy. They even question officers and staff regarding policy, and, says Sheriff Hodgson, “they must know the answers.” He is proud that his facility consistently meets federal standards and has never been shut down.

Third, Sheriff Hodgson does what we expect: keep a firm lid on Bristol County crime to keep us safe on streets and in stores, fight insidious drug trafficking—especially high in Dartmouth-- and appeal for legal immigration on the southern border to stop the influx of unvetted criminals, deadly fentanyl, and child smuggling that finds inevitable consequences in our local towns. Or are those things okay to the Sheriff’s opponents in Bristol County?

Fourth, and last for now, jail is not meant to be pleasant. To borrow a common phrase, “It is jail, not Yale.” But Sheriff Thomas Hodgson is committed to having inmates leave better than they arrive, physically and mentally.

Harvey Ussach,

New Bedford