Below are two photos of the current Sheriff’s re-election signs outside a local package store, and a variety store. The correctional funding report by the Commonwealth released this year shows that about 80% of those justice-involved individuals at the Hampshire County Sheriff’s Office have a substance use disorder.
When we think of substance abuse many of us immediately think about the opioid crisis but alcohol addiction remains the primary substance abused among justice-involved individuals. For someone who boasts about his office being one of the first in the state to launch a medically-assisted treatment program and who showcases his support of the Northampton Recovery Center by sending caseworkers to play ping-pong on taxpayer-funded salaries, this is the epitome of callous disregard for those who suffer. We know that many who struggle with addictions often have multiples, and may trade one for another addiction; campaign signs in front of businesses that profit from alcohol, gambling, and tobacco are not just bad optics, they're the height of hypocrisy. In the ACLU’s Know Your Sheriff questionnaire, the current Sheriff writes “Our goal is to stabilize these men and provide community support services so that when they do go home they have a better chance at overcoming opioid addiction," but what does it say to a formerly justice-involved individual when they are newly sober and see the Sheriff’s campaign sign in front of stores that sell alcohol, tobacco, lottery tickets, and offer Keno? Hampshire County, we can and must do better. #KnowYourSheriff#TheRightWomanSheriff