About 50 chanting protesters marched down Union Street to the Ash Street Jail in New Bedford on Saturday, demanding that Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson resign.

About a dozen deputy sheriffs stood outside the jail quietly observing the demonstration. Others were stationed outside the entrance to the facility. There were no incidents.

The protesters are members of Bristol County for Correctional Justice and they claim Sheriff Hodgson has failed as a jailer. They unveiled a litany of allegations against the sheriff, claiming he spends too much time in Washington, provides inmates with inadequate medical care, and lousy food. The group also claims Bristol County jails have the highest suicide rate in the Commonwealth.

Jim Phillips / TSM

The Ash Street jail in New Bedford is more than 100 years old and is used mainly as a facility for those arrested overnight and awaiting a court appearance the next day. It has also been used for defendants awaiting trial.

Mary Serreze / TSM

Members of Bristol County for Correctional Justice are also upset with Hodgson for cooperating with ICE and other federal agencies on the issue of illegal immigration.  Hodgson also manages a detention facility at the Dartmouth House of Correction where undocumented immigrants with criminal records are held before being turned over to ICE.

Mary Serreze/Townsquare Media

Sheriff Hodgson did not appear at the demonstration. During a recent interview on WBSM, the sheriff said the community group is ignoring the facts. He said his jails undergoing audits and reviews every year by the state, passing each time. The jails have been re-accredited numerous times and his mental health unit has been praised as one of the best in the state. He said his facilities serve more than 3,000 meals per day and meet nutritional standards.

Bristol County Sheriff's Dept./Facebook

As for spending a lot of time in Washington, Hodgson said he's not going to apologize for that. He said when President Trump calls in the nation's sheriffs to discuss issues like immigration and crime, he's going to be there.

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