Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson recently opened the doors of his House of Correction to show Globe readers the type of cell that’s housing former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez, who is awaiting trial for murder. Hernandez, who was living in a mansion before his arrest, is now in a 7-foot-by-10-foot enclosure with a bunk, small desk, and combination sink-toilet.
Hodgson calls it “one of the greatest advertisements as to why you don’t ever want to come to jail.’’ It’s the same philosophy as the “scared straight’’ programs in which inmates try to convince troubled teens not to follow their paths. Sadly, such programs aren’t always effective. Criminals often believe they’re special or more clever than the average con. That fiction usually isn’t dispelled until the cellblock doors bang shut for real.
A small plastic mirror hangs on the wall of Hernandez’s cell, where he spends 21 hours a day. Such mirrors have a tendency to distort images, similar to a funhouse effect. But there is nothing fun about Hernandez’s situation. When he looks in that mirror, he has a clear view of a man who tossed away a brilliant future.