Speaking Thursday on Boston Public Radio, former Suffolk County Sheriff and Mass. Secretary of Public Safety Andera Cabral voiced skepticism around news that the Massachusetts Department of Corrections intends to phase out its use of solitary confinement in state-run prisons.

In news initially reported on by GBH News late last month, the DOC announced its intention to adhere to recommendations brought forward by Chicago consulting firm Falcon Correctional and Community Services. Though it has yet to offer a conclusive timeline for its plan, Falcon’s proposals would mean phasing out some punitive uses of solitary confinement — and possibly restrictive housing more broadly — over the next three years.

Cabral said the department’s track record on reform offers cause for cynicism.

“There’s a history of the DOC identifying a problem, recognizing that it needs to be corrected, and then doing absolutely nothing to correct it,” she said. “My concern is that this will be just the latest to throw on top of the pile.”

As the state secretary of public safety from 2013 to 2015, Cabral was asked if she could have done more on the matter while in office. She allowed that she could have, but said her focus during those two years was primarily on mental health reforms for inmates and prison officers. Even that effort, she said, saw limited success.

“We accomplished what we could accomplish in the last two years [of Gov. Deval Patrick’s administration],” she said. “But like everything else, those reforms don’t sustain themselves. If you try to create reforms, they have to be thought of as important and sustained beyond that governor’s term, especially when something happens in the last two years.”

But Cabral added that the DOC cannot entirely be faulted for the situation as it stands, given that many people whose “primary problem” is mental health related are, and continue to be, incarcerated and the department is expected to “deal with it.”

“The only way to sort of deal with it is punitive, because the mental health issues evidence themselves through violence and other things that are punishable,” Cabral said.

“There’s a lot of onion to peel here, but it’s been done,” she went on. “People have known about [the harms of solitary confinement] for decades. It’s just a lack of commitment to put the resources there and to see it through and to create meaningful, sustainable reform. It just always ends up being the thing that gets cut, or the thing that we can’t do.”

Cabral is the former sheriff of Suffolk County and the former Massachusetts secretary of public safety. She is currently CEO of the cannabis company Ascend.