FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 17, 2014
CONTACT: Peter Van Delft
Suffolk County Sheriff Steven W. Tompkins and the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department recently invited Cambridge City Councilor and Lieutenant Gubernatorial Candidate Leland Cheung on a tour of the Suffolk County House of Correction.
The tour, which was led by Superintendent of the House of Correction Yolanda Smith, included a comprehensive overview of the Department’s CGI (Common Ground Institute) program, where inmates learn employable skills such as carpentry, custodial maintenance, painting, landscaping, urban gardening, and printing, among others. The tour also included a stop in the Women’s Programming Division, the building that houses ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) detainees, and the Education Division. Also present on the tour were Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department employee Dennis Guilfoyle and Norman Birenbaum from Councilor Cheung’s office.
Impressed by the programming offered to inmates at the House of Correction, Councilor Cheung spoke about his visit to the facility.
“This is all very fascinating,” said Councilor Cheung. “It just keeps striking me, everywhere we go, the amount of community resources being put into this facility.”
Toward the end of the tour, after having witnessed interactions between inmates, officers and other staff members, he also noted, “It’s very surprising to witness all the positive vibes that I’ve noticed while walking around.”
At the conclusion of the tour, Councilor Cheung thanked Superintendent Smith for leading the tour.
“I really appreciate you taking the time to show me what really happens here,” said Cheung. “What you’re doing with this population is mind–blowing.”
Speaking about the tour, Sheriff Tompkins expressed gratitude for Councilor Cheung’s visit to the House of Correction and the potential impact that such events can have in the long run.
“I’m very glad that Councilor Cheung could come learn more about what we do here,” said Sheriff Tompkins. “We’re dealing with a population that is often overlooked and forgotten, but still very important. These people will be returning back to society sooner than later, and it’s important that they do so as productive citizens. Anyone who holds or plans to hold a position in elected office needs to make every effort to understand how to address their needs, because when they return to the community, it affects everyone.”