DARTMOUTH, Mass. (WPRI) — One week after being sworn in to office, Bristol County Sheriff Paul Heroux addressed the recent death of an inmate in a county jail.
The Bristol County District Attorney’s Office told 12 News a 41-year-old New Bedford man died by suicide at the House of Corrections on Jan. 6. The man was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Heroux said the suicide rate at county jail is nearly three times greater than it should be and they are working to identify what is causing the increase.
“That tells me we’re doing something wrong, but I don’t know what that is,” Heroux said. “We have a blind spot somewhere. I don’t know what that blind spot is. I don’t think anybody in the organization knows what that blind spot is. If they did, we would be able to address it.”
Heroux, a Democrat, is the first new sheriff in more than two decades. He took over for Republican Thomas Hodsgon, who left office as a string of suicides brought up questions about jail management in the county.
Adam Howe, 34, died by suicide at the Ash Street Jail in New Bedford in October 2022. Minutes before Howe was found, correctional officers were preventing another inmate from dying by suicide.
“I’m going to be bringing on some outside help to look at our classification process and how we are actually putting inmates in certain housing units and what type of oversight they’re having, because we are doing something wrong,” Heroux added.