• Sheriff Hodgson threatens to close New Bedford jail


    NEW BEDFORD (FOX 25 / MyFoxBoston.com) - Bristol County Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson is threatening to close the Ash Street Jail in New Bedford unless Gov. Deval Patrick restores at least $2 million to his "underfunded" fiscal 2013 budget.

    According to SouthCoastToday.com, Hodgson held a press conference Monday at the Bristol County House of Corrections and said if he closes the 200-bed facility, the responsibility for housing and transporting prisoners to court would fall on police.

    "If closing becomes necessary due to inadequate funding, cities and towns will be forced to take police officers off the streets to watch prisoners and take them to court," Hodgson said in a letter to Patrick dated Sept. 26.

    Patrick's budget chief Jay Gonzalez said spending decisions are based on fact, not politics and that Hodgson is obligated to provide necessary public safety services.

    Gonzalez also said Patrick's version of the budget included $2 million more for Hodgson's office than the budget approved by lawmakers.

    Hodgson says his budget was cut $2 million.

    When asked when he would decide whether to close the jail, Hodgson told the newspaper he did not have "a drop dead date."

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

    Read more: SouthCoastToday.com

    Next Up: