Sheriff Ashe honored at White House ceremony for extraordinary work to facilitate employment opportunities for individuals formerly involved in the justice system


Washington (June 30, 2014) – Senators Edward J. Markey and Elizabeth Warren, Congressman Richard A. Neal and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick congratulated Hampden County Sheriff Michael J. Ashe Jr. for being honored today at the White House as a “Champion of Change” for his exemplary work establishing a model continuum of supported community re-entry for offenders. Sheriff Ashe is Chief Administrator of the Hampden County Correctional Center, which supervises approximately 1,450 offenders in five levels of security – medium, minimum, pre-release, day reporting, and after-incarceration support. As part of his re-entry effort, Sheriff Ashe has utilized some 300 community partnerships to help offenders find 523 jobs in 2013, and over 10,000 jobs in the past 20 years, having an impact on recidivism and public safety. The Champions of Change program was created as an opportunity for the White House to feature individuals doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities. This spring, Senator Markey and Rep. Neal nominated Sheriff Ashe for the White House Champion of Change Award in the category of Expanding Reentry Employment Opportunities.


“Sheriff Ashe is one of the most passionate and innovative public officials in the country, and this recognition honors his nearly four decades of exemplary service to the people of Massachusetts,” said Senator Markey. “He has led the charge in implementing rehabilitation and reentry polities for incarcerated individuals that have become the model for facilities across the country. His motto as Sheriff is ‘Strength reinforced with decency; firmness dignified with fairness’ and this recognition from the White House honors these ideals and his extraordinary record of achievement.” 


“Congratulations to Sheriff Ashe on this very well-deserved recognition,” said Senator Warren. “Sheriff Ashe has done an outstanding job growing innovative, successful, and nationally recognized corrections and reentry programs based on his values of strength, decency, firmness and fairness. During his 40 years of service to Hampden County, he has built strong community partnerships that help people with criminal records find jobs and reenter society. His efforts have made a real difference in the lives of many people in Western Mass. Sheriff Ashe is a true Champion of Change, and I am pleased he is being honored by the White House today.”


“I was honored to nominate my great friend Mike Ashe for the Champions of Change Award,” said Rep. Neal. “In my opinion, there is no-one in law enforcement more deserving of this special recognition from the White House than Sheriff Ashe. It is a fitting tribute to a remarkable career in public service.”


“Over his impressive career, Sheriff Ashe has implemented numerous rehabilitation and reentry programs for incarcerated individuals that have become a model for correctional facilities through the nation,” said Governor Patrick. “His remarkable record of achievements and his outstanding commitment to the field of criminal justice makes him truly deserving of this honorable recognition.”