Hodgson proposal little more than self-promotion
Prisoners should not be treated as pawns
I WAS DISGUSTED to learn of Bristol County’s Sheriff Thomas Hodgson’s proposal to send prisoners off to work on Trump’s wall. Of course, even if construction on the wall ever starts (which is doubtful), Hodgson’s plan will never come to fruition. His plan is logistically impossible, and he likely lacks the legal authority to send prisoners to the border. And nobody asked Hodgson to send prisoners to the border.
Hodgson’s proposal is little more than an attempt to use the xenophobia of the coming Trump regime to promote himself. This is in keeping with his past behavior: he brought back chain gangs in 1999, and charged prisoners a daily fee of $5 (until the Commonwealth’s top court ruled in 2010 that he can’t do that).
Many of the prisoners held in county facilities are pretrial detainees; they are therefore presumed innocent. Regardless, they are members of our communities – our neighbors, classmates, coworkers. The young man who bagged your Christmas dinner groceries a few weeks ago may be locked up right now. Someone from your church or synagogue could end up there, too. Those who commit crimes must be held to account, but we owe it to our communities to provide real opportunities for rehabilitation. Our neighbors who end up behind bars should not be treated as pawns in a project of political self-promotion. They deserve better, and so do our communities.Sheriff Hodgson should retract his statements, and offer an apology to the communities he serves. I hope other sheriffs in Massachusetts denounce Sheriff Hodgson’s proposal. And I would encourage the people of Bristol County to ensure that Sheriff Hodgson does not run unopposed (again) in the next election.