Opinion: Thomas Hodgson, shameless sheriff

Nov 28, 2021

To the editor:

While everyone in this country is justifiably concentrating their attention on medical, familial and financial issues that are impacting them, and those they care about, there is a forgotten segment of society that is suffering abuse and neglect. They are the hundred of thousands of incarcerated individuals who are essentially voiceless, frequently reviled and historically lacking in sufficient advocacy to improve or change the system.

There are some prisons or jails nationally that are addressing the problems, but they are the exception and never appear to become the standard model for others.

Unfortunately, the Bristol County House of Correction, and its several facilities, is counted among some of the worst jails in Massachusetts. Due to the well documented neglect and publicly exhibited devotion to punishment rather than rehabilitation, Thomas Hodgson continues to be the shameless, ego-driven sheriff who has some of the highest suicide and recidivism rates, the least amount of medical and remedial programs and most pending lawsuits in the Commonwealth.  

And now during this horrific pandemic the Covid positivity rate amongst the incarcerated and employed at the Ash Street and Faunce Corner facilities is soaring. Complaints of health code violations and startlingly insufficient Covid protocols, have undoubtedly contributed to this outbreak. Relatives of the incarcerated and members of local committees have provided letters, petitions and anecdotal evidence to local and state governmental departments in an effort to prompt immediate and warranted action.

The general public can also contribute to this endeavor by contacting their local and state representatives as well as the various departments that have the authority and responsibility to remedy the situation. Without pressure from the public the incarcerated, employed personnel and ultimately the community will suffer the consequences of inaction.  

Betty Ussach,