Sheriff Takes 19Th-Century Jail Into New Millennium
The Berkshire County legislature approved a $39.1 million project several years ago to replace the aging Sheriff’s Office Jail and House of Correction with an updated facility able to hold roughly 500 inmates, compared to about 200 previously.
The new jail is equipped with advanced security cameras, an iris-scan identification system, and electronic fingerprinting.
The county also launched a Community Corrections Center to provide educational, drug treatment, and other programs to male and female probationers, parolees, and inmates. The center awards certificates of achievement to successful program participants and issued 149 certificates 17 months after opening.
Berkshire County Sheriff Carmen C. Massimiano Jr. notes the importance of reforming probationers, parolees, and inmates since the average person held at the facility receives a sentence of 11 months.
The Residential Substance Abuse Treatment (RSAT) program is a 6-month to 1-year program that monitors inmates’ recovery through drug testing and other evaluation criteria.
Massimiano also obtained a $240,000 federal grant to establish a Juvenile Resource Center (JRC) at the abandoned Berkshire County Jail and House of Correction facility. The program provides tutoring, referrals, and counseling for students suspended three or more days from school.
In addition, Massimiano launched a life skills and occupational training program in cooperation with Berkshire Works, which specializes in job-skills training.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from the Sheriff (02/03) Vol. 55, No. 1, P. 24; McDonough, Bob.