Jail Shit • The Sheriff’s Office and the Reality of Political Nepotism (a Microcosm)

By: Eric

All law is situational law. The sovereign produces and guarantees the situation in its totality. He has the monopoly over this last decision.

Carl Schmitt

YOUR CHARIOT AWAITS!!!

This anecdotal microcosm could be extrapolated across the entire scene that is politics and things make perfect sense.

While guest of the government, I was put on the pre-release unit with two months left to go. The obligation on inmates is that Monday thru Friday inmates perform community service. Community service assignments range from stick-n-pick trash pickup, painting vacant apartments in different public housing authority complexes, landscaping/yard work, etc..

BOTTOM LINE:

  • The sheriff is a politician, not a law enforcement officer.
  • He is voted into office. He presides over the county.
  • The voters that live in the county elect the sheriff.
  • The sheriff therefore wants to be re-elected.
  • The sheriff’s department has a “pre-release inmate community service” program.
  • This program deploys inmates, supervised by sheriff’s department corrections officers, to perform community service, within the towns/cities of the county.
  • It is a service, to the community, however, it is also wielded as a political weapon.
  • Weapon? Yes – community service assignments are coordinated with “administrators” of the town.
  • I classify the administrator as anyone on the commonwealth’s payroll.
  • These administrators are highly engaged in the local politics, elections, etc.
  • Politically-engaged people in these small towns have major influence over their neighbors, passive voters.
  • Passive voters are the one’s that aren’t following sheriff politics(they don’t know who the sheriff is, they don’t know who the opponent is, however, they DO know their neighbor that told them to vote for “this guy”)
  • The Result: man elected to office —>uses resources to cater directly to the people that re-elect him to office (under the auspices of “community”)

The Sheriff is like a Wyatt Earp? Or…wait a minute??

Sheriff = Law dog = cop = law enforcement = all that shit, I thought? Like to become sheriff, an individual goes to the police academy, excels, rises in the ranks of the town police force, then crosses over to the county and learns the mechanics of running the conduit between the courts and the jails/detention facilities? The sheriff was probably a captain or some kind of commander in the SWAT. Something. Anything? In Massachusetts, no.

Zero law enforcement experience needed.

Because the Sheriff is ELECTED.

The sheriff is POLITICALLY ALIGNED. This sheriff is a Democrat. He is a politician. What does the sheriff do?

The sheriff of the county oversees the operations of the jails/detention facilities within the county. The sheriff’s department has the corrections officers running the day to day operations. The department is also responsible for transporting offenders to/from court hearings, scooping up people that got arrested by a police department of a municipality within the county, etc. These are the things that seem sensible to fulfill these functions within the criminal justice system.

But voters elect the sheriff?? So how does this work? And at this local level, is it outside of the realm of possibility that the sheriff (a politician) – might he act like a politician? Do you know what I am saying?

Determination of Voting District

In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, voting districts are drawn differently for six categories of political blocks. The block the sheriff falls under is that of the “District Attorney.” And this makes sense considering the nature of interaction between the district courts, superior courts, district attorney, correctional facilities and the sheriff’s office – in Massachusetts, this block, the voting district for electing the sheriff, mirrors the territory of the county.

Mechanics of Prosecution

Makes sense. A person gets arrested buy town police. Town police detain the person in the police station holding cell. The sheriff’s office transport van picks up the person from the holding cell and transports them to the county jail. The sheriff’s office transports the person to district court for their arraignment. The person is afforded an attorney (public defender). The prosecution is the district attorney’s office. The prosecution uses the police reports/affidavits/evidence made available by the police department that made the arrest to build their case.

That is how it works.

The Point of This Blog Post

Politicians are in the game to establish a career. Reelection is critical. What moves can the sheriff make to bolster his chances for reelection? This type of move:

For two weeks in April, we were tasked with roadside stick-n-pick trash collection in a certain town. There are two secondary state highways (a road that runs from the neighboring town, through the town and into the next town over). We call these secondary state highways in Massachusetts. So we are assigned to cleanup two of them. Both sides of the road. The total distance the two roads is roughly 20 miles. One of the roads run right thru the center of town, where most all of the town commerce is conducted. Town hall, police & fire departments, a few schools, houses of worship, library, locally owned shops (refreshing to see) like florists, dry cleaners, tailors, hardware store, chiropractor office, dentist, pizza shop.

The cleanup operation is made into a spectacle. There were six of us with yellow safety vests, stick-n-pick simple tools, each with a barrel and bags. We had proper boots, work gloves, etc. The sheriff’s office deployed two big Ford F-250 pickup trucks, with the big star of the sheriff’s office on the door, “sheriff” plastered across the back of truck, the lights flashing. Also on the scene was a police SUV, a Ford Explorer, parked with the lights left flashing. Two police officers, one at each end, directing traffic. Finally, the town’s Department of Public Works had a massive Sterling-9000 truck, I think this is a type of dump truck. This was used to throw the trash bags into as they filled up with trash.

Aside from all of the bat-flu masks, the most common pieces of trash seemed to be empty bottles. Alcohol nips, Gatorade bottles, beer, soda, energy drinks, water. Alot of Dunkin Donuts/Wendy’s/McDonald’s/Taco Bell trash. Yet there are some peculiar shit we would throw into the big DPW truck. Tires, hubcaps, wooden pallets, coils of wire, broken yard tools, mufflers. The cleanup is real, in other words. The optics production is political.

Allow me to be clear, that I enjoyed getting out for the day, the jakes were cordial and respectful, they treated us very respectfully. They provided bottled water, coffee and we would get a real lunch (as opposed to chow in the jail).

We would have this lunch at the town hall. The place has a huge corridor with artifacts of the town’s history. Since we were there five days per week, for two weeks, an hour each day for lunch, I took the time to take a close look at these shelved artifacts. The most strikingly noteworthy one was a ballot for town elections from 1928. It listed the candidates, their names, with their addresses. There were probably 18, or 20 or so names in total for the positions to be voted for. However, the street names – there were only three streets. The candidates all lived near each other. And this makes sense. Affluent community indeed, these streets were the most private it seemed. How do I know? Once we finished with the main task at hand (the two long state routes that curt through the town) – we had extra streets to do, at the request of the town administrator. Those very same streets from that ballot were the ones we went to clean. And this was funny, for the streets are so remote, we found like 14 pieces of refuse on these three roads in total. These roads are the roads where the influential politically engaged citizens live, the ones that vote and mobilize other voters. This is why they were to be cleaned.

These very people decide if the sheriff stays, or if he goes.

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