Thursday, 8 September Is Primary Election Day
Three Answers from Edward O’Reilly And Paul L. D. Russell
By William Legault
The primary elections for Essex Count Sheriff are this Thursday, 8 September.
Some time back we here at Salem Digest sent all of the 13 announced candidates for Essex County Sheriff a list of three questions concerning what they would do if elected to succeed current Essex County Sheriff Frank Cousins
We heard back from nine of them, but only six actually sent responses to our email containing the three questions.
Mark Archer Unaffiliated/Unenrolled
Kevin Coppinger Democrat
Ed O’Reilly Democrat
Jerry Robito Democrat
Paul L. D. Russell Democrat
Kenneth Berg Republican
Jeffrey Gallo Republican
Here are the three questions we asked.
- The opioid epidemic has affected all demographics all across the country. What plans do you have to reduce recidivism among those incarcerated that are drug dependent on a personal level or as a way to earn income?
- The relationship with the corrections officers and their union has not been the best. Would addressing that relationship be a priority of your administration?
- With thousands of inmates, hundreds of employees, and a budget in excess of $60 Million, many feel that the budget lacks appropriate oversight. Do you have any plans to examine that budget and perhaps create additional oversight and transparency in order to show the public that the budget is well administered?
Here are the three answers provided by Edward O’Reilly and Paul L. D. Russell who will be on the Democratic Ballot. We did not edit any of the answers.
I am the ONLY candidate for Sheriff who has embraced the Gloucester Angel Program and other Police Assisted Addiction Recovery Initiatives ( http://paariusa.org ) For those unfamiliar with the Angel Program, it allows a person addicted to drugs to show up at the Police Station with any amount of drugs and to turn the drugs into the police. The person is then NOT charged with a crim
e and is put into treatment.
It is vital that we expand (Ipswich Police recently adopted the Angel Program) the concept of the Angel Program throughout Essex County because it is an example of treatment upon demand. Treatment upon demand is essential to recovery because most people realize it is nearly impossible to help someone who does not want to help him or herself. Denial is part of the disease of addiction. The Angel Program model assures an addict that he/she will get treatment when they realize they might have a problem. Prevention and intervention reduces drug related crime. As a person “in recovery” for over 27 years , I firmly believe addiction is a disease and not a crime and it is important that we do away with any and all stigmas associated with addiction and/or alcoholism.
In addition, I support the intensive de-tox units (both male and female) Sheriff Cousins has implemented in the Middleton jail. The entire concept behind the de-tox units is to divert people with substance abuse disorders from jail and place them into halfway houses and/or treatment facilities. Warehousing these people in jail cells does no good at all.
For those already incarcerated, I shall institute innovative and comprehensive treatment, job training and life skills programs in order to put people in the best position as possible to succeed.
Upon release, the first 12 hours is the most critical time period relative to relapse and the second most critical time is within the first two weeks of release. I am a proponent of allowing addicts to get a Vivatrol Injection before (and after) release because Vivitrol is an opiate antagonist with a series of actions that make it possible to block cravings and the pleasurable effects of opioids and alcohol. Vivitrol binds to the opioid receptors in the brain, produces no opioid effects, and does not allow other opioids to enter. It gives people a chance.
I also believe addicts must be stepped down from incarceration slowly and carefuly. I am a firm believer in transitioning people to half way houses, sober houses and using drug testing to not only keep our communities safe, but also to put structure and accountability in place for the person being released.
I am proposing Individual Prisoner Programs based on the model of an Individual Education Plan (I am a former member of the Gloucester School Committee) and each and every person entering the House of Corrections shall be given a full medical and psychological evaluation. It is essential that we identify those incoming individuals who suffer from some form of mental illness or disability. It is estimated that nearly 50 % of the people in the House of Corrections suffer from some form of mental illness and many of these people should be diverted to a mental health or dual diagnosis treatment facility. We must also identify those who suffer from mental illness and self medicate.
The relationship with the corrections officers and their union has not been
the best. Would addressing that relationship be a priority of your
Naturally, everyone benefits from a positive work environment and as a former union activist, I respect workers’ rights and acknowledge the investment employees have put into their profession. At the present time and for the most part, the issues of the past have receded and a new contract is in place. I intend to keep improving the employer/employee relationship keeping a balance between fiscal responsibility and respect for employees and their families.
With thousands inmates, hundreds of employees, and a budget in excess of
$2 Million dollars, many feel that the budget lacks appropriate oversight. Do
you have any plans to examine that budget and perhaps create additional
oversight and transparency in order to show the public that the budget is well
administered?I will hold public hearings on the budget process within our county in order to promote participation in the direction of the Department.
The entire budget and all budgetary issues shall be posted on a website and open to the public.
Paul L. D. Russell
ng with the current heroin/opioid crisis.
A. treating addition as a disease , not a crime(rehabilitation in concert with mental and or emotional evaluation)
B. education/information on the causes/effects concerning addiction for both children and adults
C. full support of drug laws against suppliers, traffickers, and dealers who distribute illicit drugs and narcotics.
It has been my personal and professional experience that Individuals who distribute illicit drugs, in most cases, do not, use drugs. These individuals who decide to utilize this avenue of income, have various, reasons, and various backgrounds. But saying that, the overall reason for selling drugs is easy money, and the benefits from that life style, for low income and in the communities of people of color dealing drugs could be a response to poor education, lack of opportunities, family dis-function and discrimination.. I do not agree with this reasoning, but some drug user/abuser/dealers use these excuses.
I also believe, social issues and concerns for education, employment opportunities, addressing family related problems, and “gang” recruitment. contribute to making selling illicit drugs attractive.
I have and continue to be an advocate of a strong management and union relationship which will be a priority with my administration. Again I have put this issue forward during my campaign. I believe because of my position on this issue, I have received three endorsements from labor unions.
Examining the budget will a priority, EVERY aspect of the budget will be evaluated. The first action taken by my administration, will be to request an audit of ALL funds under the control of the Sheriff’s Office. I will request an internal and external oversight of all funding for this agency. INTEGRITY…PROFESSIONALISM….BEING TRANSPARENT WITH AN OPEN ADMINISTRATION IN CONJUNCTION WITH FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY will be the foundation of my administration.
This is my commitment!