DA candidates strengthen campaign supporters; sheriff candidates clash over inmates | Local News

Editor’s Note: The Berkshire Eagle will bring readers candidate and campaign updates ahead of the September 6 primary election.

Berkshire District Attorney

Berkshire District Attorney Andrea Harrington and challenger Timothy Shugrue are building up local support this week as their campaigns pass the two-month countdown to the primary.

Harrington’s campaign announced that it had received the endorsement of the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus, a statewide nonpartisan organization whose mission is “to increase the number of women elected to public office and appointed to public policy positions,” according to the caucus website.


District Attorney Andrea Harrington and challenger Timothy Shugrue will meet for a pair of candidate forums

Harrington has made the fight against gender-based violence and gender and racial equity key elements of her campaign. In recent weeks and following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Harrington highlighted her dedication to protecting reproductive health rights.

In recent social media statements and interviews with local newspapers, Harrington recommitted to a 2020 pledge never to prosecute abortion-related crimes.

Samantha Bone and Nairobiby Sanchez of the Women’s Caucus said in a statement that “we need bold leaders like District Attorney Harrington who not only embody the core values ​​of their community, but recognize that transforming the face of our government.

This is the third time the MWPC has endorsed Harrington. The organization backed her in her bid for the state Senate in 2016 and again in her first DA campaign in 2018, selecting Harrington over candidates Judith Knight and former DA Paul Caccaviello in the primary race.

Knight, a criminal defense attorney for Lee, has reappeared as a figure in this DA election, this time as part of a new group of lawyers, union officials and members of the security forces. order who joined the Committee to elect Shugrue as honorary presidents.

The Shugrue Campaign announced that Knight, along with Francis B. Marinaro, Mary K. O’Brien, Ronald Holmes, F. Sydney Smithers and William C. Blackmer Jr., “will provide campaign oversight and will be able to offer strategic advice” to Shugrue and his team.

Marinaro is a former Berkshire Probate and Family Court registrar. O’Brien is the former registry of the Berkshire Intermediate District Deeds Registry. Holmes is the former business manager of Labor Local 473. Smithers is a local solicitor who has served as a councilor for several communities in Berkshire County. Blackmer is a retired Massachusetts State Police lieutenant and former commandant of Cheshire Barracks.

“I am pleased to announce the formation of a distinguished and diverse group of individuals who have agreed to serve as honorary co-chairs of my campaign,” Shugrue said in a statement. “I consider myself extremely lucky to have attracted such exceptional people as supporters.”

Berkshire County Sheriff

Candidates for Berkshire County sheriff continued to campaign this week, ahead of the Sept. 6 primary that will decide who will lead the office for the next six years.

Alfred E “Alf” Barbalunga, the candidate against incumbent Thomas Bowler, issued a pair of press releases, in which he further explained his thoughts on the Cheshire Road Jail.

Barbalunga, the South Berkshire District’s chief probation officer, in a statement accused Bowler of overseeing a “legacy” of inmate storage at the jail.

He reiterated his position that female inmates should be held at the Cheshire Road Institution rather than the Chicopee Regional Women’s Correctional Institution, saying in a second statement that “a separate but equal institution is inherently unequal” , noting the long travel times to the facility for families and defense attorneys.


In candidate forum, contenders for Berkshire sheriff argue over policy that sends inmates to Chicopee

Barbalunga said “the result is unequal treatment of prisoners”, adding that research shows that women who are separated from their family ties are more likely to suffer while in prison and “to have problems” at home. release.

During an appearance with Bill Sturgeon on WTBR’s “Morning Drive,” Bowler was asked about the decision to incarcerate the women in Chicopee. He said that in the mid-2000s, the four sheriffs of western Massachusetts and the legislature studied how best to meet the needs of these women and decided on a regional approach.

The legislature appropriated $50 million to build the Western Massachusetts Regional Women’s Correctional Center in Chicopee, he said.

According to Bowler, the part of the facility that would house the inmates was built around 2012, when former Hampden County Sheriff Michael Ashe asked Bowler if he wanted Berkshire County women incarcerated there. hosted in order to provide them with “equitable” and gender. specific services.

“It was a long process, it wasn’t something where we just ripped them out of the community like my opponent says,” Bowler said. “It was appropriate, as they deserve the same services as male inmates.”

The number of incarcerated women in Berkshire County is significantly lower than the number of incarcerated men, he said, but providing services to them locally would require all services to be duplicated, due to state law. which dictates how male and female inmates are to be separated from one another.

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