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May 25, 2007

CONTACT: Steve Tompkins
(617) 961-6650


Members of the social justice organization LeadBoston visited the Suffolk County House of Correction on May 21 to participate in a tour and learn more about the day–to–day operations taking place within the facility.

A branch of the Boston Center for Community Justice, LeadBoston is a program that brings together mid– and senior–level professionals from a multitude of businesses and diverse origins to contemplate ways in which members can work to “make Greater Boston a more socially just community.”

Led by Superintendent Gerard Horgan and Major Vincent Morrison, the tour started in the lobby and included stops at booking, a female segregation unit, a male inmate housing unit, and the infirmary as well as the Education department and library.

The tour also featured a stop at the Common Ground Institute, a program in which inmates are taught valuable vocational skills in carpentry, custodial maintenance, landscaping, and painting. The goal of this program is to reduce recidivism by teaching inmates to become employable citizens upon release, while also saving thousands of tax dollars on each project the crews work on within the community.

On the final leg of the tour, members of LeadBoston sat in contact visits where they participated in a question and answer session with one of the HOC’s male inmates.

At the end of the tour, Supt. Horgan and Maj. Morrison fielded questions from the group on topics ranging from inmate sentencing and support programs for recently released detainees, to security, mental health, crime prevention, and several others.

Responding to questions about why he has dedicated himself to working for the Department for the past twenty years, Supt. Horgan stated simply, “I look for the silver lining. If I can make a difference in a person’s life – that’s what keeps me going.”

A veteran of several LeadBoston HOC tours, BCCJ Executive Director Todd Fry explained the goals and objectives behind his group’s visits.

“We bring people to the House of Corrections because we’re concerned with both community and justice – two threads that meet in the work of corrections,” said Fry. “When someone breaks the community’s rules and justice is enforced, the Department has the opportunity to help people learn, heal and recover their place in the community. We want to see how you do it and think about ways we can support and partner with your efforts.”

Thanking Supt. Horgan, and the officers and staff on the tour, LeadBoston member Anna Trask of the Boston Medical Center Health Net Plan commented on the experience.

“Everyone was hospitable and gracious,” Trask said. “I appreciate the professionalism of the people on the tour. I understand that you have to balance the institutional objectives with the needs of the inmates and it looks like you’re really working to strike that delicate balance.”

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