June 15, 2017
By Chris Burrell and Jenifer McKim
Bristol County officials are investigating the apparent suicide of a 47-year-old inmate at the county jail in North Dartmouth, prompting renewed criticism of the jail’s management under Sheriff Thomas Hodgson.
The death of Michael Ray, of Fall River, on Saturday is the second suspected suicide this year and the 16th in Bristol County’s jail since 2006.
Bonnie Tenneriello, an attorney with Prisoners’ Legal Services in Boston, said Hodgson is shortchanging mental health services for inmates.
“Sheriff Hodgson prides himself on running a no-frills jail, and it shows in the lack of mental health care, the lack of programs, and an environment that’s really punitive,” she said. “This is the kind of environment that mental illness and despair thrive in.”