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MONTGOMERY COUNTY PRE-RELEASE SERVICES

PRRS Chief's Report

May 21, 2009 to August 2009

Highlights

  • Retirements (August):The following five PRRS staff members with a combined tenure of over 120 years retired in July and August:Stephanie Hall (25 years), Teresa Still (24 years), Debbie Lyons-Prince (30 years), Ellen White (26 years), and Jean Arp (15 years).At several festive events, staff recognized their great contributions to the program.
  • FY'10 Reduction Plan (July):Four positions at PRRS were eliminated on June 30th as part of the County's required reduction plan.The positions included two Community Release Coordinators, one Office Service Coordinator, and one Public Safety Intern.PRRS will also reduce overtime by $222,000 by more flexibly deploying staff in this fiscal year.
  • Cafeteria to Career Center Conversion (July):Work Release Coordinators Angela Talley, Hillel Raskas, and Unit Manager Chris Johnson developed and implemented a plan that converts the Pre-Release Center's Cafeteria area into a full-blown Career Center from 8:30am  -  11:30am and from 1:30pm  -  4:30pm Monday through Friday.The plan involved creating a permanent office for work release staff and volunteers, and a phone room with six lines that allows residents to call out to prospective employers.Both of these areas adjoin the cafeteria and the Career Resource Center that houses the computer lab.The tables in the cafeteria are used for writing surfaces, and videos related to job preparation and search are also shown in the areas.The plan has greatly improved the efficiency of the job search process by locating both employment assistance resources and unemployed residents in one area where expanded services can now be provided.
  • Governing Magazine (August Issue):The latest edition of Governing Magazine contains a favorable article on the Montgomery County Pre-Release Program titled: "Job Freedom Can the Lessons of Welfare Reform be applied to the Prison System."  The author spent two weeks onsite meeting with staff and residents and researching the Work Release aspect of our program.His interest in this topic stems from the May report on PRRS authored by Economist Anne Piehl and published by the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank in NYC.The article can be accessed at: http://www.governing.com/node/2912/ .
  • U.S. House Appropriations Committee Visit (June 24th):Three senior staff members from this committee visited PRRS to learn about our cooperative relationship with the Federal Bureau of Prisons to transition federal offenders back into the community.These individuals were tasked by the committee to explore the ramifications of the Second Chance Act on the FBOP.

Program Developments

  • Strategic Planning Process (On-going):Sixteen PRRS staff members who make up the strategic planning process' core planning committee have continued meeting and researching to help develop a five-year strategic plan.The process is being facilitated by Organizational Consultant Brenda Jones, and the committee is evaluating other programs around the country that might serve as models for PRRS.Staff are also examining PRRS' program strengths by polling program stakeholders.
  • Welcome Home (On-going):Forty mentors from the program are working with current or former PRC residents, and four more are waiting to be matched with PRC residents.Of the pairs, twenty-three meet in the community, post-release. Since July 1, 2008, volunteers have spent more than 2,100 hours of positive social role modeling and service.The program has offered ongoing orientation sessions throughout the summer for prospective mentors, and superb trainings for current mentors.On June 17, 2009, Brian Sinclair, AmeriCorps Member Outreach Specialist, provided an overview of the efforts of the Conflict Resolution Center of Montgomery County to introduce mediation services at the Pre-Release Center.In September, WHP will offer an ongoing training session on the topic of anger management, and in October, Xavier Hodge, DC/MD outreach services, from Oxford House, Inc. will speak about their self-run, self-supported addiction recovery houses.
  • Healthy Marriages and Responsible Fatherhood Conference (August 12th):Approximately 70 individuals visited the Pre-Release Center as part of the Annual Conference of the federally-funded Healthy Marriages and Responsible Fatherhood program. The individuals hailed from states across the country including Alabama, Texas, South Dakota, New Jersey, Minnesota, Ohio, Tennessee, and Maryland.The group listened to some brief remarks from some federal, state, and local officials, heard from a panel of PRRS fatherhood program participants, and toured the PRC. The fatherhood program is a true collaboration between HHS and PRRS, and is one of the three demonstration programs in the Maryland.The meeting represented quite an achievement for our HHS colleagues Ed Powell and Nathaniel Parks who have developed a model fatherhood program at the PRC.
  • Faith-based Collaboration (August 17th):Unit Manager Pat Braun and Welcome Home Coordinator Melissa George met with Manuel Lopes, Jr., Chief Communications Officer of the Seventy Times Seven Ministries on August 17thto discuss his interest in providing mentoring services to our clients.Mr. Lopes indicated that his ministry is supported by a number of churches who provide assistance to individuals returning from incarceration.The ministry began five years ago in Virginia, and the organization is looking to expand to Maryland.
  • Believe Achieve Succeed Excel (July 25):The B.A.S.E. program held its third forum on Saturday afternoon and three former residents of PRRS came back and spoke to over 50 residents, staff, and volunteers about their journey through the program and post-release.The individuals -- Lisa Fitzpatrick, Calvin Coleman, and David Yates -- expressed gratitude to specific staff members at PRRS and for the program's efforts to prepare them for release.
  • Federal Prison Camp Alderson and the Greenbrier Birthing Center (August 10 & 11):Case Manager Kendra Jochum traveled to West Virginia to visit these federal correctional institutions which house women.She accompanied FBOP Contract Oversight Specialist Tom Albright and she spoke to inmates in these facilities about PRRS.
  • National Association of Sentence Commissions (August 4):Division Chief Stefan LoBuglio gave a presentation describing the collaborative interagency relationship that PRRS enjoys with the Maryland Division of Correction and the Federal Bureau of Prisons in providing reentry services to individuals in those systems who are soon-to-be released in the Montgomery County and the environs.
  • Workforce Development Networking (July 23):PRRS Work Release Coordinators and Unit Manager Chris Johnson hosted a meeting involving job developers from the Montgomery County Shelter and the HHS Office of Addiction Services to compare strategies in assisting individuals with poor work histories, few skills, and a modest educational backgrounds find work.The meeting was successful and they agreed to enlarge this meeting to more job developers and to meet monthly.
  • Wheaton-Kensington Chamber of Commerce Meeting (July 22nd):Work Release Coordinator Hillel Raskas represented PRRS at this event in which the Dr. Brian Johnson, president of Montgomery College discussed Workforce Development, Continuing Education and Partnering with the Business Community.Hillel was able to meet and network with him and others in attendance.
  • Federal Bureau of Prisons Annual Full Monitoring Visit (July 15):Community Corrections Manager (CCM) William Cimino, Contract Oversight Specialist (COS) Tom Albright, and the Administrative Assistant LaWania Crossland conducted its annual full monitoring visit at PRRS.Contract Oversight Specialist Tom Albright who led the visit indicated that they found no deficiencies and did compliment PRRS on its consistent high standards of operation.Three areas of concern were expressed and included the need to exercise greater consistency in working with federal offenders, increasing the number of federal offenders on home confinement, and ensuring that medical care is properly billed for federal residents.PRRS managers pledged to address these concerns.
  • CSOSA Podcast (June 18):As a follow-up to the Manhattan Institute's report on the Pre-Release Center, CSOSA's Media Affairs Director Len Sipes developed a podcast based on telephone interviews he conducted with Professor Ann Piehl from Rutgers University and the PRRS Division Chief.It can be accessed at:  www.csos.gov as a radio podcast dated June 25, 2009.
  • Grand Jury Visit (June 16):The Montgomery County Grand Jury toured the Pre-Release Center as part of its statutory mission to report on conditions of confinement in the county.During the visit, they were given an overview of the program, toured the building, and then heard from a panel of program residents.Their report will be issued later this summer.
  • Visit to Reentry Programs in NYC (June 11 & 12):Division Chief Stefan LoBuglio visited two nationally known reentry program based in New York City.The Center for Employment Opportunities runs a transitional program and Family Justice and has pioneered efforts to include family members within the Reentry Process.Due to the department's fiscal situation, he traveled at his own expense.
  • MCCS Meeting (May 28th):Assessment Manager Teresa Still and Division Chief Stefan LoBuglio attended the Maryland Commission on Correctional Standards hearing to discuss the findings from their audit of PRRS in April 2009.The commission found PRRS in compliance with 74 of the 76 State Standards, and Stefan provided the commission with an overview of some of the steps the program has implemented to address the two failed medical standards.The failed standards involve maintaining accurate inventories of syringes and controlled medications.

Other Visits:

  1. Two new probation agents from Maryland who are currently in academy training visited PRRS in the company of a senior agent on July 29.
  2. Researcher Dr. Shawn Flowers from the University of Maryland brought a class of students from China to tour the PRRS on July 2.
  3. Staff and interns from the national chapter of the ACLU toured the Pre-Release Center on July 30.
  4. The Archdiocese of Washington's Prison Outreach Ministry held their board meeting on June 16.
  5. Silver Spring Interfaith Housing Coalition Representatives Mary Mulholland and Acting Director Betsy Sharon visited PRC on June 2.
  6. Correctional staff from the Douglas County Department of Correction visited on May 28,2009.
  7. Professor Bruce Barron from the University of Pittsburgh visited PRRS on May 28.
  8. Former Maryland House Delegate Cheryle Kagan toured the PRC on May 26.
  9. A representative from Service Corp of Retired Executives met with Unit Manager James Shannon on May 22 to discuss developing entrepreneurial training programs at the Pre-Release Center..

Facility Issues

  • Fire Alarm System:Several significant problems with the alarm system occurred in July that placed the center on fire watch for an extended period of time.The Fire Marshal was involved, and the Department of General Services did respond and was ably to resolve the problem.When the new integrated fire notification system is implemented, this type of problem will be much easier to detect and fix. EAI has the contract to implement the new $174,000 system and began work in April.
  • Back-up Generator:Funds to purchase a new and larger generator in the amount of $178K were identified, and the Department of General Services is working with DOCR to complete this project.
  • New Walkway:A new walkway was installed from the upper parking lot to the front door that eliminates protruding roots which were trip hazards to staff and residents.

Personnel

  • New Correctional Dietary Supervisor Selected:Robyn McCormick was promoted to this position on August 17, and will oversee foods service operations at PRRS.Besides the mission critical task of providing three meals a day, food services provides an important place where clients can learn and practice job skills.Robyn started her career with Montgomery County DOCR as a Correctional Officer in July 2000, and has served as a Correctional Dietary Officer since 2002.Currently, Robyn is completing a Bachelors of Science degree in Criminal Justice at the University of Maryland.
  • Job Advertisements:PRRS is currently in the process of filling multiple vacancies due to the retirements including the following positions: Unit Manager, Assessment Manager, Work Release Coordinator, two Case Manager positions, and two Resident Supervisor positions.
  • Home Confinement Liaison:Resident Supervisor J Rowe has been selected to be the Home Confinement Liaison which will supplement his current RS duties.In this role, he will ensure that PRRS maintains the correct inventory of equipment, troubleshoot specific equipment and software problems, and assist in providing and scheduling training for staff.
  • Customized Work Program:PRRS is working with the County Contractor overseeing this program that places individuals that need customized work settings into 18-hour a week county jobs paid for by a county fund.PRRS has identified three positions and will work to recruit candidates to assist at the front desk, file paperwork, and help with computer-based drug analysis and electronic monitoring.

Population Served

ADP Group May June July

Local ADP 

 117

115

122

Federal ADP 

33

32

29

State ADP 

8

5

5

Total APD 

158

152

156

PRC ADP

142

136

148

Home Confinement ADP 

16 

16

8

Escapes/Court Hearings (Two escapes in CY'09; both individuals apprehended and in custody)

On June 22, 2009, Erik Howard received a six month sentence for Escape from Judge Durke G. Thompson.  Mr. Howard escaped on February 15, 2009 but did voluntary turn himself in on February 16.  The sentenced along with the loss of good time credits, and changes in parole/probation status will result in his incarceration of an additional year. 

On July 31, the trial date for escapee Daniel Grant was set for November 4.  The Department is requesting a state DOC sentence of five years.  Mr. Grant escaped on June 2nd just two days after arriving, and was apprehended on the evening of June 3rd .

 

 

Director's Office · Montgomery County Department of Correction And Rehabilitation
22880 Whelan Lane· Boyds, Maryland 20841 ·
Telephone: 240-777-9976 · Fax: 240-777-9966
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