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December 27, 2013

CONTACT: Peter Van Delft
(617) 704-6682


Suffolk County Sheriff Steven W. Tompkins (4th from left) recently hosted a tour for legislators visiting the House of Correction that included (from left to right): Nathanael Shea, Legislative Director for State Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz; State Representative Jay Livingstone; the Department’s Ed Geary, Jr.; State Representative Dan Cullinane; Janice Blemur from Senator Forry’s office; Anne Johnson-Landry, Counsel for State Senator William Brownsberger; State Representative Nick Collins; and the Department’s Rachelle Steinberg.

Suffolk County Sheriff Steven W. Tompkins and the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department recently hosted a tour of the South Bay House of Correction for a number of elected officials and members of their staff.

The tour, which was led by Superintendent Yolanda Smith, included a comprehensive overview of the facility’s reentry programming, the women’s unit, and the vocational and educational programs that the Department offers.

Among the officials present on the tour were Senator Linda Dorcena–Forry with Janice Blemur, a member of her staff; State Representative Nick Collins; State Representative Dan Cullinane; State Representative Jay Livingstone; Marc Breslow and Anne Johnson–Landy from Senator William Brownsberger’s staff; and Nathaniel Shea from Senator Sonia Chang–Diaz’s office. Employees from the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department accompanying the tour included Assistant Deputy Superintendent Rachelle Steinberg, Director of Women’s Programming Christina Ruccio, Valerie Barsom and Dennis Guilfoyle.

The tour made a stop inside the Common Ground Institute (CGI), where inmates receive instruction in carpentry, landscaping, painting, food sanitation and other light construction skills, which they can then utilize in future employment opportunities. The tour also visited Women’s Programming, which includes GED classes and the C.R.E.W. (Community Reentry for Women) program, and educational classrooms, which hold everything from GED preparation to parenting classes.

During the tour, Sheriff Tompkins explained the significance of having political officials visit and learn more about the Sheriff’s Department.

“It’s crucial to have other elected officials learn about what we’re doing here at the Sheriff’s Department,” said Sheriff Tompkins. “Many of the people in our facilities will return home in need of support services to obtain healthcare, housing and employment and it’s important that the elected officials who represent them have an understanding of their needs. My hope is that these tours will not only enhance their knowledge about the needs of some of their constituents, but also open the doors for us to work together more collaboratively in the future in order to put our visions into action.”


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