Behind Bars

Journalist to Apologist?

Hershey capped his coverage of criminal justice and left journalism with another book, Hostage Cop (Rawson Wade, 1980) the story of Capt. Frank Bolz, and his New York’s City police hostage negotiating team. In 1980, Mayor Edward Koch appointed him Assistant Commissioner of Correction for Public Affairs. Hershey's voice became familiar to city residents, providing insights into jail escapes, inmate suicides, the impact of AIDS, and the detention of such notorious defendants as John Lennon’s killer (Mark David Chapman) and the Subway Vigilante (Bernhard Goetz). He presented the city’s position on these and other controversial issues, but Hershey’s six-year tenure was also notable for less public efforts to portray the correction system’s humane and professional approach to its mission. He worked to gain needed additional funding from the city, and helped forge partnerships with the New York Road Runners Club on an inmate track program, Cornell Cooperative Extension in a farm-to-table program on Rikers Island, the arts community for support of inmate programs, and entertainers who performed in the jails.

< previous / next>

Hostage Cop 1980.

Hershey and New York City Mayor Ed Koch, who appointed him Assistant Commissioner of Correction.