FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Peter Van Delft, Senior Public Information Officer, Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department
The Massachusetts Sheriffs are committed to serving the communities they are sworn to protect. This responsibility includes the health and well-being of their justice-involved populati
Although the authority to release a detainee lies with the courts and the respective District Attorney’s Office, the sheriffs are committed to working with the judiciary as well as Law Enforcement partners to identify appropriate persons eligible for release. The priority of Sheriffs is always to have a re-entry release plan that helps individuals transit
“Clearly, we will work in concert with the courts and abide by any decision to release those in our care and custody, should they make that determination,” said Sheriff Tompkins. “But, one thing that should be of paramount importance to any such consideration is a careful assessment of whether those people targeted for release will be safer out in the streets than in our facilities.”
“It is critically important that they have access to the necessary health care, mental health and addiction recovery services, which we are fully equipped to deliver, and a safe, secure place to stay, because without those crucial things, the likelihood of contracting COVID-19 increases, along with the potential spread of infection to others in their radius.”
The Massachusetts Sheriffs and their staff are working tirelessly to safely manage their staff and inmate populations and to curbthe spread of COVID-19 to their county jails and houses of correction. They provide an exceptional level of care in their facilities, and are prepared for public health scenarios such asthis. The sheriffs have implemented proactive and strategic steps to limit the transmission of COVID-19 including:
In addition to strategic efforts the Sheriffs have implemented to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in their facilities, the Sheriffs are working proactively with other law enforcement agencies and community advocates to review the individualized cases of those in their custody to ensure appropriate care and release information is provided.
It is crucial to each sheriff that every individual leaves their custody with an individualized and specialized care plan. Releasing individuals without that level of preparation would be a dereliction of the sheriff’s duty – and would not set up the justice-involved individual or their communities for a successful reentry.
During this uncertain and unsettling time, we understand many are concerned about the safety and protection of the justice-involved populations. As an association, we share this same concern. No one, however, is more concerned with the health and well-being of those in their care than our Sheriffs. Thesa