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Q&A: Why I am running for Sheriff

I am running for Sheriff to make a difference. To see a change in how we administer corrections. To highlight the needs of incarcerated people. To amplify the voice of the staff. To contribute more to my community.

Corrections is ever changing and I have been able to bear witness to much of that change over the past 10 years. I have seen the needs of our population change to be one that requires much more care that is nursing focused. We are seeing a population increasingly affected by the opiate epidemic. A population that is increasingly affected by mental health issues. A population who continues to feel unheard and unseen by those caring for them. In my 10+ years of day to day work with incarcerated individuals I have been able to see first hand the struggles facing the population and appreciate the value in asking them when they need from corrections. And they saw by and large they need substance use treatment, mental health care, physical health care, job preparation/training and a sense of belonging in their community and with their families. These are concerns, as a nurse with my experience, I am well poised to address. I have such plans on how to improve what is currently happening at the Hampshire Sheriff’s Office and where corrections could be taken in the coming years

As a current correctional employee, I understand the struggle that is present in corrections for the staff. Corrections is facing an unprecedented staffing problem across departments, particularly security, but other departments too. The Hampshire Sheriff’s Office continues to struggle to staff Medical around the clock. As a newly minted Opiate Treatment Program (OTP) that is problematic when managing dose adjustments, withdrawal patients or medication changes. A fresh set of ideas on how to tackle these issues, amongst other issues, is paramount if we are to retain the staff we presently have as we try to increase our ranks. The Hampshire Sheriff’s Office needs to be a place that people want to work and that starts with the top spot. Staff need to feel heard and appreciated, valued and supported. If our staff feels this, which they presently don’t, they can become our greatest asset and recruiting tool. The staff should be advocating for the facility in their community about what a good environment it is to work in. They should be sharing how they feel supported in their careers and see themselves as a contributing member to the facility vision and community dynamic. They aren’t able to do this now. In my Administration they would.

The community should value the contributions our facility makes. The men in our care should be active, involved and productive members of Hampshire County even before they are released. We should all be of service to our community. Nursing is a service profession. Nurses are in service to their patients and their goals. This should be no different. Being a nurse who is Sheriff will allow me to expand on my lifelong work of patient advocacy. It is my goal with this election to expand the definition of “patient” to now include the facility as opposed to the individuals within it. What does my facility need? How can I be of service to the various components of my facility? How can I improve each individual aspect of my facility? Nurses are do-ers. Nurses are advocates and educators. Nurses are multitaskers and listeners. Nurses get things done.

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