FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
CONTACT: Peter Van Delft
SHERIFF TOMPKINS TAKES PART IN ELDERLY COMMISSION’S ANNUAL BLACK HISTORY MONTH CELEBRATION
Suffolk County Sheriff Steven W. Tompkins recently joined Mayor Martin Walsh and area residents for the Boston Elderly Commission’s annual Black History Month celebration at Hibernian Hall in Roxbury.
Sponsored by Central Boston Elder Services, the event, led by Master of Ceremonies Charlotte Golar Richie and spearheaded by Boston Elderly Commission Commissioner Emily Shea, featured a presentation by Keynote Speaker Dr. Leonard Brown; music by Fulani Haynes and the Jazz Collaborative; and an art exhibition with work from Paul Goodnight, Johnetta Tinker, Rufus Falk, Lisa Lee, Naomi Henry and the African American Heritage Museum.
Introducing Sheriff Tompkins before a packed audience, Golar Richie spoke about some of the positive initiatives that Sheriff Tompkins has undertaken in the year since his appointment.
“Sheriff Tompkins is doing an awesome job,” said Golar Richie. “People might be saying ‘how do you know he’s doing an awesome job, you don’t work with him?’ I know, because we measure someone’s performance by how they connect with community, how they give feedback, and how they come and report the initiatives that they support and promote.”
“What I like about [Sheriff Tompkins] is that from the beginning, he’s been talking about and supporting and dedicating resources behind the issue of reentry, rehabilitation and restorative justice. He knows that incarceration is not the solution to what ails us in society and he has been working on applying a comprehensive plan that allows people, when they exit incarceration, to be able to get on a path towards a productive future.”
Speaking to the crowd of attendees, Sheriff Tompkins reeled off a list of somber statistics, but expressed his commitment to keep working on programming and outreach designed to positively alter the lives of those in his facilities.
“Let me give you some quick statistics,” said Sheriff Tompkins to the assembly. “In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Blacks and Latinos make up about 17.7% of the population, but in my facilities, they make up north of 65% of the population. Something is desperately wrong with our system and we really have to look at how we work with our youngsters, how we work with those incarcerated and how we create opportunities to that so that people don’t go to jail.”
“Eighty five percent of people in my facilities have some involvement with drugs, and 42% present with some form of mental illness,” Sheriff Tompkins continued. “What this says immediately is that some of these folks need to be in a detox bed, a mental health bed, not a jail bed. We know that children of the incarcerated are more likely to offend, and that’s not a surprise when you take mom or dad out of the house. As Sheriff, I believe that part of my job is to make sure our brothers and sisters can achieve a better station in life. But, I need your help on this. We have to work together to be part of the solution.”