The Bristol County sheriff says 'blatantly inadequate' funding of his department puts public safety in jeopardy and may force him to close the facility for pretrial detainees.  Republican Sheriff Thomas Hodgson said in a letter to Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick that his department received less than other departments with fewer inmates.

He says if he closes the 200-bed regional lockup at the Ash St. Jail, the burden of watching inmates in 20 communities will fall on local police. He blamed the funding drop on policy differences with Patrick.  Patrick's budget chief Jay Gonzalez said spending decisions are based on fact, not politics and that Hodgson is obligated to provide necessary public safety services.

Gonzalez also said Patrick's version of the budget included $2 million more for Hodgson's office than the budget approved by lawmakers.  Hodgson says his budget was cut $2 million