Hodgson is not Sheriff
There is a reason Thomas Hodgson is no longer the sheriff. Despite an overwhelming affirmation by almost every print and internet newspaper having praised newly elected Sheriff Paul Heroux for the response to the recent uprising at the Bristol County House of Correction, former sheriff Thomas Hodgson had to weigh in with criticism and disinformation about how he handled uprisings during his tenure in office.
The praise by the media for Heroux was twofold: first and most significantly no staff or inmate suffered injuries, and second the cause of the disturbance was Heroux’s commencement of fulfilling his campaign promise to remodel the cells to reduce suicides and increase the safety of the inmates and staff.
Hodgson conducted himself with cordiality and professionalism as he exited his twenty five year reign, but he has now countered that last image with unwarranted and hypocritical criticism of the new sheriff.
Too much easily accessible archival, court documentation and newspaper articles exist, that belie any boasts Hodgson makes about how he managed riots or disturbances. And in no small measure it was undoubtedly the melee at the immigrant detention center during the worst days of the Covid pandemic that brought Hodgson so much negative attention and the ultimate cancellation of the federal government’s contracts regarding immigrant detainees; probably the beginning of the end of his unchallenged reign as sheriff.
Hodgson continually bragged about programs, staff training, nutritional food, clean facilities and various positive accreditations that were disproved by careful research and analysis so his claim that he would have handled this uprising in a better manner is disingenuous.
If Hodgson had, in reality, reduced the suicide and recidivism rate, treated his staff and the incarcerated with productive programs and protocols, and had consideration for the taxpayers he could have remained in his job for another term.
Second guessing his successor is not unexpected from Hodgson based on his history of insulting any judge, attorney general, police chief, local or federal official who had the temerity to call out his mismanagement, and alleged constitutional violations.
Perhaps it was too optimistic to hope that Hodgson would have understood that the voters rejected his tough on crime no matter the consequences methods and wanted a sheriff who has a better grasp of effective incarceration procedures and protocols.
Betty Ussach, Dartmouth
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