Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian was the guest speaker at the April 15 Concord Prison Outreach (CPO) meeting held at the Trinitarian Congregational Church in Concord.
Sheriff Koutoujian spoke to—and took questions from—the group for more than an hour covering a wide range of topics related to the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office, as well as corrections in general.
Sheriff Koutoujian specifically focused on comprehensive efforts to prepare offenders for successful re-entry into society upon their release, including initiatives to help inmates address underlying substance abuse and mental health problems. The Bureau of Justice Assistance recently recognized the Middlesex House of Correction’s Residential Substance Abuse Treatment (RSAT) Program as a National Mentor site in conjunction with three other Massachusetts county facilities for work to address drug and alcohol problems among incarcerated individuals.
“I want to thank Concord Prison Outreach for the opportunity to speak with them about our programs and the challenges facing those of us in the corrections field,” said Sheriff Koutoujian. “I believe it is important for the public to understand how we try to have a positive influence in the lives of those in our custody and prepare them to make a successful re-entry into society at the end of their sentence.”
Sheriff Koutoujian also spoke about corrections officers, the work they do and how it often goes unnoticed by members of the general public who do not encounter them on a regular basis.
“We see police officers and firefighters and we know—rightly so—to thank them for the work they do, but most people don’t see corrections officers and so don’t think to thank them for all they do to help keep us safe,” said Sheriff Koutoujian. “They are our silent guardians of public safety.”