An Education Sheriff, Pt. 1.

When Robert Garvey was appointed Sheriff, he brought with him the mission, demeanor, and approach of an educator. He brought a perspective of innovation to Corrections that struck the right note with the citizens of Hampshire County.

In expanding education and treatment programming, he sought to help incarcerated individuals remediate the factors that brought them to custody and give them the tools and skills to be less likely to return to custody. He walked the facility daily, ate lunch in the chow hall with detainees and sentenced offenders, and knew most by name. He came into the classrooms on a regular basis, would put a problem on the board for students to solve (former Math/Science teacher), and in general kept an eye on his facility, like a good Principal keeps an eye on his school. Because he did not come to the job from a law enforcement background, he was not looking to punish; he was looking to help. Up until that time, people typically had the belief that a Sheriff should come from a law enforcement or security background, but Sheriff Garvey showed people that an educator’s perspective is exactly the right skill set to bring to this job. After all, what is “Corrections” about? Education. It’s about correcting course, and in order to do better, you have to know better; in order to know better, you need to learn and be informed. Educators are natural communicators and often politically astute—they know when they are reaching their audience or not. The approach of this educator-sheriff earned him attention, respect, and then national recognition. Education changes lives, and education reduces recidivism; we know that intuitively, and it has been proven statistically. In Massachusetts, we are committed to changing and innovating Corrections, and that requires a proactive, visionary approach. In the Hampshire Sheriff’s Office, we need to return to a perspective that seeks to inform, educate, and elevate—those in our care, those who provide that care, and the community of citizens we are all a part of. You’ll be hearing more about education in the Hampshire Sheriff’s Office in the coming days and weeks. I just wanted to start by giving a nod to someone who gave us a way of thinking about education and corrections in a way that opened many eyes to a different approach to care and custody of justice-involved individuals. #KnowYourSheriff #KnowYourNextSheriff #YvonneFor Sheriff