Sheriff Cocchi skeptical of sending inmates to build border wall

The sheriff told 22News the only thing his inmates will be building are skills

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson is offering to send inmates to help build the wall President-elect Donald Trump wants along the Mexican border.

“I feel like that’s pretty sad actually, that we’re going to cage ourselves in and call ourselves the home of the free,” said Alexis Carpps of Spingfield.

Sheriff Hodgson made the remarks during his inauguration speech this week, but not everyone likes the idea.

“Embarrassing offenders; I just don’t think that’s the way we’re going to do it.” New Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi told 22News this doesn’t fit in with his idea of rehabilitation.

He said the only thing his inmates will be building are their resumes and skills, so they can be productive when they enter back into society; “The Hampden County and Nick Cocchi administration is not about divide, we’re about looking and trying to produce men and women to go back to the community that are more than likely to be productive.”

22News asked Sheriff Cocchi how his restitution program, which involves inmates picking up trash, is any different. He replied, “It puts men and women back in their communities. The communities that they have either vandalized, horrified or terrified, and they’re back there doing work on behalf of the communities.”

Massachusetts Sheriffs’ Association statement regarding Sheriff Hodgon’s proposal:

As elected officials, each sheriff has a certain level of autonomy to represent their respective constituencies in the ways that they believe best serve them. To that end, the Massachusetts Sheriffs’ Association respects Sheriff Hodgson’s right to express ideas and opinions about issues that he feels are relevant to the citizens in his county.

As an organization, however, the MSA has not considered or discussed the deployment of inmate work crews in such a fashion proposed yesterday by Sheriff Hodgson.  The Massachusetts Sheriffs will continue to engage their municipal partners in an on-going effort to assist with local public works needs and community improvement projects when resources allow for this kind of activity.

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