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Weekend Plans: Accountability and Communication

Updated: Jul 20, 2022

It has been a missed opportunity by the current Administration for not effectively communicating to the public at large.

In a 2020 article published in Nursing Outlook, researchers looked at how the profession of nursing was viewed by the general public. For the 20th year in a row, Registered Nurses like Caitlin held the top spot as most trusted profession with more than 85% of respondents rating the honesty and ethical standards of Registered Nurses as high or very high.

Two fundamental cornerstones of the education and practice of every nurse is culturally sensitive care and effective communication. Without those 2 primary components of nursing, the messages of preventative care and holistic care with an eye towards improvement, delivered by nurses would frequently fall on deaf ears. It is a testament to the effective implementation of these cornerstones that nurses are so well respected in society.

There has been significant discussion in this Sheriff’s race, as well as in several other races, about accountability and transparency. The Hampshire Sheriff’s Office, like all other public institutions, is funded nearly exclusively by taxpayer dollars. As such, there are legal requirements related to reporting. The State Office of the Comptroller’s CTHRU system keeps track, in a line item fashion, of all monies spent by the Hampshire Sheriff’s Office. That information is available here, for anyone, at any time to review. Earlier this year, the report from the 101 Special Commission on Correctional Funding came out which illustrated the cost associated with running a correctional facility. The supplemental data shows a site specific breakdown of programming and costs. Caitlin and the rest of #SepedaForSheriff have poured over these resources for months in order to have a clear understanding and firm grip on how our tax dollars are being allocated.

How are these two things connected? Nurses are documented and proven effective communicators. They are also highly respected and trusted in the community. As a registered nurse running for an elected position, one which manages a multimillion dollar annual budget, it is crucial that Caitlin not only understands the financial aspects of this role, but can effectively communicate the information to taxpayers in Hampshire County with a high degree of trust. The knowledge and understanding, from an insider perspective, coupled with effective communication skills and trust make Caitlin the most prepared candidate to tackle this job. It has been a missed opportunity by the current Administration for not effectively communicating these fiscal pieces to the community at large. As Sheriff, Caitlin will:

  1. Have a user-friendly annual budget discussion available on the facility website. The budget information in a dollars and cents fashion is always readily available via CTHRU, but it is not currently being communicated to the public WHY the costs are what they are. As an effective communicator, Caitlin will break down: how money is being spent, why some costs have increased or decreased and factors affecting the annual budget such as: staffing, programming, Criminal Justice Reform Act of 2018 requirements, POST Commission standards and changes in legal or federal regulations.

  2. The public, media and community stakeholders will be engaged in learning about corrections. So much of the community's understanding of corrections come from unrealistic or stereotypical fictional media portrayals, very little of which is accurate to the Hampshire Sheriff’s Office. The Hampshire Sheriff’s Office will hold media tours, educational sessions and publish on its website information pertaining to the actual function of the facility so that the press and public will have an understanding of who we are and what we do in clear, concise terms.

  3. There will be public discussion about what we need as a facility. Corrections at its best is a community endeavor and the Sheriff’s Office is a community member working hard to increase public safety by doing an effective job in bettering the individuals in our care in order to reduce recidivism and increase their success. We cannot do that alone. We need volunteers, local businesses willing to be work release partners, community members willing to donate time, expertise and knowledge to the men in our care. We will communicate our needs publicly.

Nurses like Caitlin spend years of education and decades of practice serving not only their patients, but their communities. We are held to account: by ourselves, our professional standards, our accrediting and licensing bodies, our Boards of Registration, our patients and their families, our peers, our employers and our communities. This level of account and our ability to reach it year after year, garners this trust. And this trust will be the catalyst for change in Hampshire County Sheriff’s Department under the Sepeda Administration.

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