Our opinion: Eagle Editorial Board endorses Thomas Bowler for Berkshire County Sheriff | editorial

Managing the Berkshire County Jail and the Home of Correction with its workers. Supervising and caring for a prisoner inhabitants with altering wants. Sustaining necessary group liaisons as an agent of public security, legal rehabilitation and outreach.

Thomas Bowler: 'I want this to be a strong, secure community'

Incumbent Sheriff Thomas Bowler is on the lookout for a 3rd, six-year time period and is about to interchange Alfred E. “Alf” is dealing with Barbalunga.

None of these actions will not be solely troublesome however related to the standard of life and corrective success for our complete county. All are a part of the job of main the Berkshire Sheriff’s Workplace. Expertise in all of these roles is a big benefit, and we see worth in 12 years price of Berkshire Sheriff Thomas Bowler.

On the marketing campaign path, Sheriff Bowler has damaged his personal file.

In reality, a lot could be pointed at their two phrases: a wholesome emphasis on training and workforce coaching for prisoners; Expanded providers addressing the foundation causes of crime, similar to psychological well being crises, dependancy and trauma; Collaboration with different organizations that collectively permit inmates to realize goal and construct abilities that positively affect their group.

These developments underneath Sheriff Bowler’s watch point out a strengthening of the mission and efficiency of the Sheriff’s Workplace and the jail that deserve consideration – and proceed to be.

Alfred E. 'Alf' Barbalunga: Current Sheriff's Office 'Flawed on Many Levels'

Candidate Alfred E. “Alf” Barbalunga is vying to oust incumbent Sheriff Thomas Bowler and win a six-year time period in countywide workplace.

On this race the challenger factors the extra necessary finger on the participant’s file. Southern Berkshire District Court docket Chief Probation Officer Alfred E. “Alf” Barbalunga has sought to painting the present sheriff’s administration as ineffective, financially irresponsible and fewer than clear.

The effectivity and transparency of public places of work and officers is above all for us too, however we’ve got discovered Mr. Barbalunga’s assaults – on the path, throughout debates and on social media – to be greater than scary sufficient. For instance, it’s definitely certain to guide some to criticize the dimensions of government pay and argue for spending the funds in another way; It’s one other factor fully for Mr. Barbalunga to make imprecise allegations of corruption and nepotism, with little or no proof to help these allegations. The time period of this run has been extra significant than we anticipated or anticipated. In our view, this stems largely from Mr. Barbalunga’s tendency to depend on instincts over truth.

To Mr. Barbalunga’s credit score, probably the most real pane of his platform outlines a worthy thought: The place ought to we put the Berkshire feminine prisoners? County ladies in pre-trial custody and serving jail sentences—there are at the moment simply over a dozen—are despatched to the Western Massachusetts Ladies’s Correctional Middle in Chickpea. This facility offers ladies prisoners higher freedom of motion and program availability at the price of being away from their households and authorized counsel. Bringing ladies again to Berkshire Jail will bridge that distance, however an absence of regional suppliers will hinder the supply of key providers that assist prisoners re-enter society and resist recidivism.

Sheriff candidate Alf Barbalunga says reopening the female pod at Berkshire Prison will not be so difficult.  Here's How He'll Do It

Mr Barbalunga believes Berkshire’s feminine prisoners ought to be introduced again to the county jail. Sheriff Bowler believes that the Chickpea facility supplies ladies with high quality providers that can’t be supplied regionally with out incurring vital bills. Whereas we don’t consider there to be an accurate and definitive reply to this complicated query, Mr. Barbalunga deserves credit score for elevating consciousness and discussing a problem price additional investigation.

Nonetheless, Mr. Barbalunga’s fixation on that is troubling.

To generate press across the core challenge of his marketing campaign, Mr. Barbalunga prominently raised the case of a Pittsfield lady who died in Chickpea jail final month. Relying once more on instincts to muddy the waters on a delicate challenge, Mr Barbalunga stated the loss of life was part of “what occurs to Berkshire residents who discover themselves in state or county jails”. — although Hampden County Sheriff Nick Kochi stated a medical expert dominated that the inmate’s loss of life was the results of pure causes unrelated to a pre-existing situation.

Death of a Pittsfield woman at Chickpea Regional Jail becomes campaign issue in sheriff's race

Sheriff Kochi, who oversees Chikopi Jail, slammed Mr. Barbalunga’s deceptive remarks, saying, “It’s despicable that somebody would attempt to use the unhappiness and circumstances of the household for private and political acquire.” The late lady’s father instructed The Eagle that Mr Barbalunga, who didn’t publicly title the girl, didn’t contact him earlier than or after making his daughter’s loss of life a focus on the Berkshire Sheriff’s Race: “I actually I did. I do not like that he is utilizing my daughter as a step in his marketing campaign” – a sentiment we definitely perceive.

This was not the one instance of Mr. Barbalunga bringing extra warmth than mild to the problem. Throughout a gathering with the Eagle editorial board, Mr Barbalunga claimed that one of many causes Berkshire ladies will not be despatched to Chickpea jail is that household guests are “strip-searched”. When members of the editorial board expressed disbelief, they merely replied “fact-check me”. Nevertheless, Mr Barbalunga later admitted that his remarks have been fully false after consulting an official with the state’s Division of Corrections – a transfer he ought to have taken earlier than such a declare was thrown on file. Such sloppiness with details on a problem that he lacks seriousness as very important indicators and ignores primary fact is sadly changing into quite common in politics. It doesn’t rely upon what’s morally required of the county’s highest corrections workplace.

In the meantime, Sheriff Bowler is essentially adamant to place ahead the details, though most of them can be found on his resume. Initiatives launched throughout his tenure addressed actual group wants similar to dietary insecurities whereas letting inmates construct life abilities, starting from the Second Road Second Likelihood Medically Ready Meal Program to Prisons for Inmates. to the main aquaponics program. His administration abilities have been examined in robust occasions – from holding prisoners COVID-free for 19 months within the thick of a viral pandemic to his group’s means to step up when municipalities are supported by the sheriff’s workplace and its sources. is required.

And, importantly, he has demonstrated that he can change his thoughts on weighty points if the details and the scenario so warrant. Earlier, the sheriff had opposed giving anti-drug medicine to prisoners affected by substance use dysfunction. Assembly with households affected by the opioid epidemic, nevertheless, compelled him to rethink the jail’s former sobriety-only strategy. Now, Berkshire inmates have entry to medically-aided remedies like suboxone and buprenorphine that cut back opiate cravings and provides prisoners an evidence-based leg on the street to restoration.

When Sheriff Bowler says he is nonetheless enthusiastic about doing this job, it makes all of it plausible as a result of he has expertise, he cares for these prisoners and he loves this group. These are three good causes to return him to the sheriff’s workplace.

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