ATTLEBORO, Mass. (WPRI) — Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson is coming under fire from his political rival after a Cape Cod man, accused of killing his mother, died by suicide in a New Bedford jail last week.
Hodgson elaborated more about the circumstances during a live interview on 12 News Now at 4 Tuesday.
The Republican sheriff is running against Attleboro Mayor Paul Heroux.
Heroux, a Democrat, told 12 News that the incident at the Ash Street jail is an indicator of poor management within the Sheriff’s Office.
However, Hodgson said he is confident his staff “went over and above” with how they dealt with the inmate.
Hodgson said the inmate, Adam Howe, 34, was transported to the regional lockup facility after he was cleared by Cape Cod Hospital.
Massachusetts State Police then brought Howe to the New Bedford jail, where Hodgson said his staff “put him in a johnny,” which are typically worn by at-risk prisoners.
“We don’t take any chances … because of the type of crime and so forth, even though he was medically cleared,” Hodgson added.
Jonathan Darling, a spokesperson for the Sheriff’s Office, said in a statement that “the Sheriff’s Office was not notified that a judge had ordered the individual to a secure mental health facility in Bridgewater and that facility had turned him away.”
12 News reached out to Cape Cod Hospital and the Massachusetts Department of Corrections (MADOC) for comment.
“There are protocols for emergency psychiatric hospitalizations determined by law, and the Department of Correction follows these procedures for commitments at all facilities, including Bridgewater State Hospital,” a DOC spokesperson told 12 News.
Hodgson said although spot checks were performed every 15 minutes at the Ash Street facility, the inmate acted in between one of those checks.
But Heroux said he feels the supervision for the situation was inadequate.
“What we know about this inmate … this is somebody who is seriously mentally ill. Someone like this probably deserved a 24-hour eyeball watch,” Heroux said.
Heroux and Hodgson will square off in a 12 News debate on Oct. 28. The debate will be broadcast at 6:30 p.m. on FOX Providence.