Yvonne Gittelson: Candidate responds to letter

Published: 8/22/2022 5:01:29 PM
Modified: 8/22/2022 4:57:56 PM

I read with disappointment Ellen Miller-Mack’s letter, “Thoughts on the sheriff’s race,” (Aug. 20) in which she found none of us to be a satisfactory choice, yet I was singled out for her criticism.

I wish Ms. Miller-Mack had reached out for a conversation; I would have welcomed the opportunity to clarify, and I’m certainly not difficult to find. My comment about 70% of those in custody being in pretrial detention was raised over concern about their specific lack of legal guarantee to education and treatment services and noting that I will ensure that access when I am sheriff.

My comment about looking to hire more women in corrections was in echo of comments also made by the other two candidates, yet it was attributed solely to me. I stand by the comment nonetheless: hiring more women in corrections will improve the culture and climate for all, and the research bears this out. Women think differently about the use of force, doing so rarely yet very effectively.

We need to evolve the field of corrections and beginning to change the composition of those who work in it is a step in the right direction. Not only do we need more women in corrections, but we need more bilingual staff and those who reflect nondominant cultures, who are disproportionately represented in custody.

I am committed to those goals and would welcome Ms. Miller-Mack’s participation on my Citizens’ Advisory Board to bring transparency and accountability to the Hampshire Sheriff’s Office when I am elected.

Yvonne Gittelson

Candidate for
Hampshire County Sheriff

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