Sheriff candidate Héroux wants to take a modern approach

Bristol County Sheriff Tom Hodgson’s uncompromising conservative philosophy on immigration correction and enforcement has made him a national political figure.

He drew praise from former President Donald Trump and rebuke from the Joe Biden administration, which last year terminated BCSO’s contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement after a federal class action lawsuit was settled over the lack of COVID-19 safeguards for detainees, and a conflict on May 1, 2020 that left many detainees injured and three hospitalized.

Now, a slate of Democratic candidates have lined up with coalitions behind them to seize what they see as an opportunity to reclaim the sheriff’s office and change the local corrections approach.

One such candidate is former Massachusetts State Representative and current Attleboro Mayor Paul Heroux. Héroux has an extraordinary educational background; he received a bachelor’s degree in psychology and neuroscience from USC, a master of science in criminology from the University of Pennsylvania, a master’s degree in international relations from the London School of Economics and a master’s degree in public administration from the JFK School of Government from Harvard.

Heroux previously worked intentionally in the Middle East before returning to the United States to work for the Institute for Defense and Disarmament and publish a book on US-Middle East relations.

In the field of corrections, Heroux has worked in the Philadelphia prison system as an executive office as an assistant to the commissioner and in the Commonwealth Department of Corrections as director of planning research, having written extensively on criminal and correctional policy.

Heroux joined me on air last week to talk about the change he wants to implement if elected sheriff. He wishes to use his experience in the correctional environment and in criminology to move from a punitive approach to a rehabilitative approach. Heroux pointed out that focusing on rehabilitation has been proven to reduce the risk that an inmate will re-offend upon release, which has a positive effect on the crime rate.

Heroux said that while Sheriff Hodgson offers services to reduce recidivism, he doesn’t bother to measure them to ensure those services are effective.

“He has no idea if the drug treatment program reduces drug offenses after release. He has no idea if the anger management program reduces violence after release. He doesn’t has no idea,” Heroux said. “He talks like a badass and says ‘Oh, I’m going to make life miserable and make sure they don’t want to come back here.’ But it’s not a very sophisticated approach to corrections.”

Heroux also said he wants to focus on release planning from the day an inmate is incarcerated until the day they are released to ensure they can reenter society better prepared to be a law-abiding member. and participant.

Heroux also supports the decision to cancel Sheriff Hodgson’s contract with ICE, saying immigration enforcement is outside the bureau’s purview and that he uses immigration as a distraction.

“The Bristol County Sheriff should be running a jail,” Heroux said. “And what Tom Hodgson likes to do is hang a shiny object here at the side of the prison – and all the while his prison, which he says is run so wonderfully under his administration, is under constant surveillance by different prisoners’ rights groups, under constant scrutiny from the attorney general’s office and politicians across the state, and he just says it’s all politics.”

Heroux also strongly believes in term limits for elected officials. He criticized Hodgson for seeking another term that would keep him in office for 31 years and committed to one to two terms if elected sheriff.

We also talked about the viability of Ash Street Prison and how he thinks his background stands out from other candidates in the field.

You can listen to the full conversation at 12:50 p.m. below:

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