‘A political hit job’: Sheriff Hodgson denounces termination of ICE contract

SE Mass

DARTMOUTH, Mass. (WPRI) — Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson slammed the Biden administration’s decision to terminate their contract with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

The Bristol County Sheriff’s Office, which runs the detention center in North Dartmouth, has been under fire following complaints of inhumane conditions at the prison.

Attorney General Maura Healey issued a scathing report last December, determining that officers violated the rights of detainees and used excessive force during a disturbance there earlier in the year.

Hodgson said Healey’s report is “based in lies and untruths” and called it a “political hit job.”

“It’s been a year now attorney general,” he said. “Where are the charges?”

Soon after the contract was canceled Thursday, the seven ICE detainees being housed at the Bristol County House of Corrections were transferred to a Plymouth facility.

Hodgson said those detainees are facing a series of charges, including murder, rape, drug possession, assault and firearm offenses.

“Initially when they were told they had to leave, they didn’t want to go,” Hodgson said. “Allow law enforcement to do its job to hold people in these facilities that would otherwise get released and expose themselves to more dangers.”

Prior to Thursday, the prison had been accepting ICE detainees since 2000. At its peak, the facility housed upwards of 200 undocumented detainees.

Hodgson said President Joe Biden, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Healey should all be ashamed.

“We will do everything that we can to continue partnering with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners, who have been demonized,” he said. “This is no different than the defunding of police.”

Over the past decade, the contract with ICE paid out nearly $60 million for transportation and housing costs to the state.

Hodgson said he will continue to screen all detainees of their status upon arrival and notify ICE if necessary, something he claims is within his power to do.

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