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MONTGOMERY COUNTY PRE-RELEASE SERVICES

PRRS Chief's Report

December 18, 2008 to February 19, 2009

Highlights

  • FY'10 Budget Reduction Plans: Montgomery County -  like most localities and states in this country -- faces significant projected budgetary shortfalls in FY'10 as the result of the serious downturn in the economy. As such, the County Executive has directed all Departments to develop saving and reduction plans in order to comply with his statutory obligation to submit a balanced budget to the County Council. The magnitude of the required cuts - estimated as much as $500 million in a $5 billion budget - will significantly affect all County Departments including the Department of Correction and Rehabilitation. The County Executive will present his plan to the Council on March 15, 2009
  • ACA Awards Ceremony (1/10-12): Assessment and Classification Section Manager Teresa Still represented PRRS at the ACA Winter Conference in Kissimmee, Florida and participated in a panel hearing before the Commission on ACA accreditation to discuss the findings of the two ACA auditors who inspected the Pre-Release Center in October 2008. The Panel unanimously accepted the recommendations of the auditors to provide the Pre-Release Center with national accreditation for the next three years (2009-2012) with a rating of 100% compliance. At an awards ceremony scheduled for Monday, Teresa received the Certificate of ACA Accreditation for the facility.
  • 15,000th Resident at PRRS: During the week of December 26th, the fifteenth thousandth client arrived at the Pre-Release Center. PRRS is now in its 39th year of work release in the County having begun in 1969 out of a pod at MCDC for 16 selected individuals. The program moved offsite in 1972 to Huff Court which is adjacent to the White Flint Mall and then to the newly built Pre-Release Center on Nebel Street in 1978. Many individuals including the founder and former Director Kent Mason deserve credit for laying a strong foundation that has allowed the program to persist despite tumultuous changes in the country's attitude towards rehabilitation and significant changes in the type and characteristics of our target population.
  • Nomination and Selection of the New PRRS Community Advisory Chair: At the last meeting, CAB Chairman John Lavigne announced that he was stepping down from the position that he held since September of 2000. The Department is grateful for John's long service with the CAB and helping make it such vital oversight mechanism for the work of PRRS. In terms of selecting a new Chairperson, PRRS will employ a review committee comprised of two members of the current CAB and the Division Chief who will review all nominations for the position that are submitted before Friday, February 27, 2009 at 5 P.M. The new Chairperson will be announced at the May Community Advisory Board meeting.

Program Updates:

  • Reentry Mediation Program: The residents of PRRS now have available to them free mediation services courtesy of the vision, leadership, and resources of The Conflict Resolution Center (CRC) of Montgomery County and its umbrella group, the Community Mediation Program which was founded by Lorig Charkouodian. Mediation is provided by well-trained volunteers and is intended to provide program participants with a mechanism to engage in constructive dialogue with family members, employers, and other stakeholders that might play a pivotal role in their overall reentry success. Importantly, the mediation is done on a voluntary basis for participating parties and issues of confidentiality are discussed and mediated at the onset. The CRC has assigned Americorp Member Brian St.Clair to coordinate the program at PRRS which had its kick-off orientations meetings for new residents in late January.
  • Reentry Mediation Program: The residents of PRRS now have available to them free mediation services courtesy of the vision, leadership, and resources of The Conflict Resolution Center (CRC) of Montgomery County and its umbrella group, the Community Mediation Program which was founded by Lorig Charkouodian. Mediation is provided by well-trained volunteers and is intended to provide program participants with a mechanism to engage in constructive dialogue with family members, employers, and other stakeholders that might play a pivotal role in their overall reentry success. Importantly, the mediation is done on a voluntary basis for participating parties and issues of confidentiality are discussed and mediated at the onset. The CRC has assigned Americorp Member Brian St.Clair to coordinate the program at PRRS which had its kick-off orientations meetings for new residents in late January.
  • Community Service Program: Resident Supervisors Andrew Raptakis and Andrea Baker have developed a project proposal - to promote a sense of community involvement and connectiveness - among program participants. While PRRS has always required program participants to perform community service to gain privileges, Andrea and Andrew correctly identified that most of the  "community service"  tasks performed were directed at cleaning and maintaining the Pre-Release Center and were not benefiting the larger community. Their proposal incorporates a restorative justice concept that residents have both an obligation to give back to their communities, and in doing so, will themselves receive significant benefits. Working with Unit Manager Chris Johnson, they met recently with Bill Welker who manages the excellent community service program for the DOCR's Pre-Trial Division for advice and guidance in setting up a program at PRRS.
  • Motivational Interviewing Training (1/26-30): All PRRS staff were trained in this directive, client-centered counseling style that has garnered increasing research evidence about its effectiveness to elicit behavioral change in correctional and non-correctional populations. Compared with nondirective counseling, it is more focused and goal-directed. Planning for this training began well over two years ago by Unit Manager Patricia Braun and Screener Tina Michaels, and the training found a nice fit as part of the Respect Opens Doors Campaign to help staff de-escalate incidents and to improve the overall culture of the program. Tina customized the curriculum with Kelly Pitocco, the contracted trainer who works for a multi-service agency called the Talbert House in Ohio (which also runs residential community correctional programs) to produce training sessions targeted for staff who serve in different positions in PRRS.
  • Respect Open Doors Campaign: The ROD campaign continues to improve institutional cultural issues at PRRS through training (see discussion on MI above) and awareness. A "thought of the day" campaign was initiated that provides inspirational and thought-provoking quotes aimed at encouraging dialogue and righteous living. The County submitted an application for an achievement award for ROD with the National Association of Counties.
  • Recidivism Study: After almost one year of planning and data collection, Dr. Craig Uchida, President of Justice & Security Strategies and his colleagues, Dr. Shawn Flower and Dr. Anne Piehl have indicated that they will soon provide preliminary recidivism analyses on the sample of male individuals included in the study. The study, funded by the Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention, aims to compute recidivism rates across a number of criminal justice and socio-economic dimensions for a sample of 300 male and 300 female randomly selected sentenced individuals who were released from the custody of DOCR in 2003/2004. The study uses local, state, and national criminal history data to compute post-release recidivism rates, and should be completed by late Spring
  • Welcome Home: Activities include: Father Michael Bryant spoke at St. Martin of Tours Parish in December in hopes of recruiting potential mentors and spreading the news about the Welcome Home Reentry Program; An ongoing training session was held on January 7, 2009 for the mentors; An orientation/training session for new volunteers was held on Saturday, January 31st from 9-3pm at the PR; Eight new potential volunteers attended and are currently completing the application process; The Welcome Home Program will hold a regional training session on March 28th from 9-3 on a topic related to improving communication skills and implementing effective listening techniques; A new volunteer, a teacher at a local Catholic school who is bilingual, has started to teach English speaking skills to residents at PRC on a weekly basis. Her "class" is open to anyone who needs it and wants to improve their written and verbal proficiency. One of the program's mentees has been receiving services through the Silver Spring Interfaith Housing Coalition, and has been working specifically with Sister Mary Mulholland, the previous coordinator of the Welcome Home Program who is currently employed with them. Mary has helped facilitate the move of this young lady into an apartment of her own with help from PRRS Case Managers Dan Keener and Kendra Jochum, and the program offers many resources and much support.
  • Post-Release Services Research Project: HHS' Peter Flandreau will assist PRRS flowchart government-funded mental health and substance services available to program participants pre- and post-release to fulfill his community service requirement in the County's Management Development Program. Additionally, in the next few weeks, he will track approximately 10 individuals who are released from PRRS with mental health and substance abuse referrals to determine if and how they followed through with their plans. He will meet with these individuals prior to release, immediately after release, and 4-6 weeks afterwards. The study should yield valuable insights that will allow PRRS to improve post-release support and follow through.

Noteworthy Meetings/ Events

  • Affordable Housing (12/22) - PRRS hosted a meeting to explore different opportunities that might exist for the program to support the development of affordable housing post-release for its participants. The meeting involved a private developer who has created hundreds of units of affordable housing in rural counties in Virginia and West Virginia, PRRS staff, and leaders of programs that provide temporary and permanent assistance to the homeless in Montgomery County.
  • Adam's House (1/06/09): Unit Manager Patricia Braun hosted a visit by Dr. Donald Shell and Mr. William Hall who lead an innovative reentry program in Prince George's County called the Adam's House/Suitland Reentry Center. Staff from PRRS had visited the grand opening of this program in the fall of 2008, and this visit was a reciprocal visit to seek out ways that the two programs can collaborate.
  • CRIMS (1/15/09): PRRS staff attended a kick-off meeting for the Department's effort to implement a state-of-the-art informational system in all of its divisions. At the meeting, representatives from the newly selected vendor, SysCon, were introduced, and a timetable for the project announced. PRRS will begin planning the community correctional component of CRIMS this summer, which will be finalized and implemented by the Spring of 2010.
  • PRRS Transfer Policy (1/15/09): County Council President Phil Andrews convened a meeting involving Circuit Court Administrative Chief Judge Anne Harrington, State Attorney John McCarthy, Legislative Analysts Linda McMillan and Lisa Mandel-Trupp, PRRS Assessment Manager Teresa Still, PRRS Division Chief Stefan LoBuglio, and DOCR Director Art Wallenstein to review PRRS screening and transfer policies. PRRS presented charts and data that demonstrated the comprehensiveness and selectivity of the PRRS screening process. Also, Teresa reported encouraging signs that judges were comfortable and educated about PRRS transfer policies, and that PRRS was receiving significantly fewer SAO objections. As such, the State Attorney and the Director of DOCR agreed to discontinue a temporary protocol put in place in May of 2008 which aimed to actively solicit SAO information on all cases transferred to PRRS. PRRS will continue to share all transfer lists with the SAO and will always consider additional information provided to it. However, PRRS will continue to retain the sole right to determine eligibility and with the court's consent, then to place individuals into PRRS without delay.
  • Washington State County Council Member Visit (2/6/09): PRRS's Case Manager Cindy Boyd, Case Manager Tyrone Alexander, and Unit Manager Chris Johnston took the lead in hosting a visit from Council Member Kathy Lambert who is one of the nine Council Members of King County, Washington (Seattle and environs). The Council Member was interested in PRRS due to her county's plans to open a residential program in the near future.
  • George Mason University (2/3 & 2/12): PRRS staff attended two separate events organized by GMU's Center for Evidenced-based Crime Policy held in a Senate Briefing Room (2/3) and on its Fairfax Campus (2/12). Both program provided reviews of the latest research in effective crime reduction policy. The program held on 2/12 focused on proposals for a reform agenda for corrections and featured the well-respected researcher Todd Clear who is a Distinguished Professor at John Jay's College of Criminal Justices
  • Second Chance Act (2/4): PRRS staff attended a meeting of a working group composed of a coalition of advocacy organizations and correctional associations to seek legislative support for funding the Second Chance Act of 2007. The Act was signed in April, 2008 but still awaits appropriations. On behalf of the Department, the DOCR Director has written to Senator Mikulski to urge her to support an appropriation for the Act. Senator Mikulski was an original co-sponsor of the Second Chance Act and is the Chair of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies for the Committee on Appropriations.
  • Federal Bureau of Prisons (2/5): Unit Managers, Screening staff, and the Division Chief met with Community Corrections Manager Bill Cimino and Contract Oversight Supervisor Tom Albright from the FBOP. Tom was recently appointed to this position and has had an extensive career with the FBOP beginning as a line correctional officer. He will play a large role in overseeing the PRRS contract with FBOP, and one of the main purposes of the meeting was to introduce him to staff and to the program. Additionally, the meeting served as a review of FBOP disciplinary policies and allowed Bill and Tom to provide PRRS staff with some updates on new procedures and tools that FBOP is planning to employ to further its reentry efforts.
  • Letter to the Editor (2/11/09): PRRS Work Release Coordinator Hillel Raskas had his letter to the Montgomery County Gazette weekly newspaper published which described various efforts by Montgomery County to address the increased prevalence of mental health illness among the population most involved with the criminal justice system. His letter can be read at http://gazette.net/stories/02112009/montlet173013_32480.shtml

Facility Issues

  • Re-keying Pre-Release Center: Due to a design defect that allowed certain residents' keys to open authorized locations, the manufacturer of the key system used at the Pre-Release Center  Mul-T-Lock  and its local distributor and County Vendor, Liberty Lock, have agreed to replace all lock cylinders in the building under warranty. Resident Supervisor Carmen Polanco has worked tirelessly with Liberty to develop a new comprehensive key plan for the building that will increase safety and security. Staff will carry fewer keys and areas of access will be better controlled. Given the importance of locks in a correctional facility, this has proved a Herculean task and has involved the replacing of over 350 locks. With Carmen's leadership, the implementation which began on 2/16 proceeds smoothly.
  • Back-up Generator: PRRS sustained a power outage on Saturday, January 17 and unfortunately, the back-up generator failed to operate as expected despite extensive testing and the replacement of parts that occurred in December. As a result, General Services has expedited the review of the entire back-up system at PRC, and has begun a process that will lead to the full replacement of the back-up generator. In preliminary meetings, the tentative plan is to have a generator that can sustain full building operations for a minimum of 24 hours without refueling.
  • Fire Alarm System: General Services has determined that the PRRS fire alarm system is nearing obsolescence and has expedited its replacement with a state-of the art system. The new system will provide audio and visual alerts in all rooms and offices in the building and will integrate all devices into one system. Currently, there are two loosely connected fire alarm systems at PRRS that came about in the original construction of PRC and the addition of Unit 4 in 1991.

Personnel

  • Newly Appointed Resident Supervisor: Ada Bartley joined the Pre-Release and Reentry Services Division as a Resident Supervisor on February 2nd. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from Clark Atlanta University and received her Master of Science in Criminal Justice from the University of Cincinnati. Ada served as a Probation Department Intern with the State of Georgia Department of Corrections. After college, Ada worked for the Department of Homeland Security and then again for the state of Georgia Department of Correction as a Probation Officer II.
  • Resident Supervisor Interviews: Over two hundred and fifty applicants applied for the Resident Supervisor positions. The Interview panel consisted of Unit Manager Christine Johnson and Case Managers Don Meyers and Dan Keener. They interviewed a large number of applicants over a six month period. These interviews resulted in the selection of four individuals being hired as Resident Supervisors and the identification of several alternates.
  • Not Guilty Verdict: A nurse who formerly worked at PRRS and who had been accused of sexual misconduct by a resident at the PRC was found Not Guilty in a Jury Trial on January 16, 2009

Facilities

  • Locks: PRRS has developed a replacement plan with the County's locksmith vendor for all lock cylinders at PRRS to address a design defect. The plan will be implemented in January and costs are covered under a life time warranty.
  • Generator/Switch Gear: Since September, the County's General Services Department has coordinated multiple servicing and repairs of the Pre-Release Center's electrical system and back-up generator. On December 13, GS coordinated a repair of the main power switch to PRRS that required the center to operate on generator power for an extended period of time. The maintenance procedure was successful and PRRS maintained normal operations.

Escapes/Court Hearings:

  • PRRS incurred its first escape of 2009 on 2/16/08. Escapee Erik Howard failed to return to PRC by 11pm on 2/15 as scheduled, and within three hours, PRRS had completed the filing of escape charges. Mr. Howard returned to the center on his own volition at 7:00am on 2/16, was immediately returned, and now will face the first degree felony charge of escape.
  • Escapee Joseph Randolph is representing himself in a jury trial that began on 2/18/09 for an escape that occurred on June 11, 2008. PRRS is vigorously supporting his prosecution and has recommended a sentence of seven years if he his convicted.
  • Escapee Kermit Smith was denied a reconsideration by Judge Weinstein on 12/22/08 on his seven year sentence for escape. He escaped in 2006 and was apprehended in the commission of a new crime. PRRS staff testified against a reconsideration of the sentence.
  • Terrell Eisbey was indicted by the Grand Jury on 12/4/08 for 1st Degree Escape. He had escaped from the program on October 30 and was apprehended on 11/5/2008.

 

Population Served

  December 2008 January 2009

Local

113.5

113.6

State

7.4

7.0

Federal

42.1

33.6

Total

163.0

154.2

 

 

 

Pre-Release Center

143.8

134.0

Home Confinement

20.2

20.2

Escapes ( 4 Escapes CY'08/0 on fugitive status)

Name Escape Date Apprehension Disposition

Lisa Lawrence

2/13/08

2/13/08 (5 hours)

4 yrs sab 18 months

James McNair

2/29/08

3/14/08

5 yrs sab 18 months

Joseph Randolph

6/11/08

7/8/08

2/18/09 Jury Trial

Terrell Eiseby

10/30/08

11/5/08

12/23/08 Status Hearing


11/21/08: Judge Boynton reconsidered the 18 months sentence given to Inmate Eric Irving on July 24th on the Escape charge, and ordered him released pending the availability of a residential treatment program at Avery Road.

Critical Incidents (5 in CY'08)

Date/Time Description

7:45pm

2/13/08

Female resident failed to return from pass, and staff found that she had gone to the home of a former acquaintance in violation of a protective order.  Staff responded to the home of the victim and found the escapee who then attempted self-harm.  Resident was hospitalized.

10:00pm

4/27/08

Two residents fought briefly on Unit III and staff immediately intervened and used minimal force to restrain/subdue the fighting residents.  The residents sustained bloody lips but refused medical treatment. 

12:50pm

6/11/08

Resident Joseph Randolph escaped from PRC while he was being cuffed by staff for transport back to detention.  Resident Randolph was immediately placed on escape status.  No injuries incurred.

8:00pm

7/8/2008

Female visitor engaged in a verbal altercation with a program resident that led to her flinging a beverage at him, and striking him with her hands after staff directed her to leave.  The program resident's father was also involved. Staff interrupted the altercation and the visitor fled the PRC.  No injuries occurred. Police called but resident refused to file complaint.

7:00pm

9/20/2008

Power fluctuation burned out a motor in the PRC basement.  Staff set-off fire alarms due to the smoke and evacuated building.  Police, Fire and Rescue, and General Services responded. Building re-occupied soon after Fire Rescue declared it safe to reentry building.  GS has subsequently placed power protectors on these devices.

 

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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