Since becoming sheriff in 2011, Peter Koutoujian has made it a priority to ensure the Middlesex Sheriff's Office is providing effective resources to the community and efficient use of taxpayer dollars.
Sheriff Koutoujian increased the savings from the inmate Community Work Program by 50% over the previous year. This inmate labor program completed municipal projects across the county for free, bringning $1.5million in savings to the taxpayers.
Inmate healthcare, which makes up a large portion of the department’s budget, was dealt with head-on by Sheriff Koutoujian. He was able to save $145,000 by enrolling inmates in MassHealth and future initiatives will result in even more taxpayer savings.
Koutoujian also streamlined inmate transportation, brought greater control to the use of department resources and continues to pursue ways to do more and spend less.
Through strong partnerships with local, regional and federal law enforcement agencies, Sheriff Koutoujian has brought progressive thinking and new tools to the citizens of Middlesex County.
Upon becoming Sheriff, he assessed all law enforcement equipment, deeming the marine unit underutilized and unnecessary for use by the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office. He transitioned the unit to State Surplus and ultimately to a police department on the south shore with direct marine law enforcement responsibilities that will fully realize the unit’s potential.
Information sharing with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, as well as with local police helps to identify criminals faster and with greater accuracy.
Partnerships have also resulted in drug take-back and gun take-back programs to help get harmful substances and weapons off our streets.
Sheriff Koutoujian developed a new TRIAD Program, which focuses on empowering senior citizens to recognize fraudulent behavior whether over the phone, online or in-person. TRIAD will educate, assist, support and unite senior citizens by creating councils that address the needs of specific communities.
In addition to TRIAD, Sheriff Koutoujian partnered with Lo/Jack and their SafetyNet program in order to assist families of loved ones living with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Participants enrolled receive a bracelet that, when activated, can be tracked in case of a missing person.
Now in its 13th year, the Middlesex Youth Public Safety Academy has become the cornerstone of the Sheriff’s youth services. Sheriff Koutoujian expanded the program’s reach, with more than 1,600 children attending the program in his first summer at the helm. Koutoujian introduced new educational components, an emphasis on bullying-prevention and a new, healthy eating initiative.
To address the needs of older youth, Sheriff Koutoujian has expanded the use of the office’s Strike Two program, which teaches high school students about smart decision-making. Inmates are brought into schools to speak with students about the mistakes that landed them behind bars and show the real life consequences of breaking the law.
The Sheriff is also continuing work on creating a teen dating violence program and increasing the involvement of families in the rehabilitation of incarcerated criminals.
A major priority of Sheriff Koutoujian is to reduce recidivism through smart and effective inmate programs, rehabilitation and education. He expanded addiction services and established a partnership with the Mass. Department of Veteran’s Services to address the special needs of inmates with military backgrounds.
Koutoujian created several new inmate educational opportunities, such as the Xerox Corrections to Career program that teaches inmates job skills in the printing industry, a “green” custodial certification program and the Venturing Out program, which teaches students the finer points of operating a small business. In combination with the growth of the Culinary Arts Program, the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office offers inmates the opportunity to gain skills that will help them remain in control and out of trouble.
Koutoujian also remains committed to the needs of female prisoners and is working tirelessly to bring a female facility to Middlesex County. In his first year as Sheriff, he began the supervised release of women through the MSO electronic monitoring program.