Activists Demand Closure Of New Bedford Jail

Photo: Tim Dunn/WBZ NewsRadio

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Activists gathered outside the Ash Street jail in New Bedford on Sunday, demanding it be closed down because of what they said are dangerous conditions.

Armed with megaphones, signs and Christmas carols, activists with the group Bristol County for Correctional Justice said they were highlighting what they say are “dangerous and unsanitary conditions” inside.

"We've heard about rats and vermin. The food is brought here cold. The area where they prepare that was just disgusting," said organizer Rafael Pizzairo.

Activists at the event said the 188-year-old facility is showing its age. Pizzairo added that inmates inside are mostly poor and can’t pay afford bail. He said they’re also adding a bit of Christmas cheer with Christmas carols for those incarcerated there.

Bristol County Sheriff Tom Hodgson was just across the street in his car watching the protest. He said the allegations were unequivocally false.

"Flat out lies...I had Senator Brownsberger and Representative Day walking through here the very same day last week. Ask them what they thought," he said.

The jail has an average of 4,000 bookings per year with a daily average of 200 inmates.

WBZ's Tim Dunn (@ConsiderMeDunn) reports:

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