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Pre-Release and Reentry Services
Community Advisory Committee Meeting Minutes

Advisory Date
Administrative Conference Room, MDCD
Warden William L. Smith ~ (240) 777-9962
MCDC Warden Office


Committee Members and Guests Attendance:

Hardy Bennett, Health and Human Services-AMH; Amy Bransford, P&P Supervisor; Patricia Braun, PRRS Unit Manager, Eric Brenner, Maryland State Governor's Grants Office; Community Ministry of Montgomery County; Tom DeGonia, Private Attorney; Ivan Downing, PRRS Resident Supervisor; Shawn Flower, Choice Research Association; Denise Gill, MC Police; Melissa George, Welcome Home Program; Louise Inman, Matrix Knowledge Group; Chris Johnson, PRRS Unit III Manager, John Jones, Community Member; Susan Kirk, Bethesda Cares; Stefan LoBuglio, PRRS Division Chief; John Lavigne, Public Defenders Office; Mary Mulholland, Silver Spring Interfaith Housing Coalition; Ellen McAdams, Interfaith Works; Susan McFeaters, J.B. S. International, Inc.; Ashley McSwain, Silver Spring Interfaith Housing Coalition; Kate O'Sullivan, Independent Consultant and MC Work Force Investment Board Youth Counselor Member; Hillel Raskas, PRRS Work Release Coordinator; Diane Scott-Jones, Community Member; Ada Laura Stein, Matrix Knowledge Group; and Teresa Still, PRRS Assessment Services Manager


Stefan LoBuglio welcome the group


  1.  Welcome and Introductions 
  2. PRRS Chief's Report
  3. American Correctional Association (ACA) Accreditation - Teresa Still
  4.  Respect Open Doors - Chris Johnson and Ivan Downing
  5. Strathmore Hall - Hillel Raskas
  6. Final Meeting for 2008:  Thursday, December 18th at 7:30 A.M.
  7. Adjournment

Agenda Item No. 1 - Welcome and Introductions  Chairperson John Lavigne called the meeting to order at 7:40 A.M.  The Committee members, community members, and PRRS staff  introduced themselves.

Agenda Item No. 2 - PRRS Division Chief's Report :  PRRS Division Chief Stefan LoBuglio provided a report of PRRS activities since the last CAB meeting and highlighted the following:

  • American Correctional Association Re-Accreditation Audit - PRRS underwent its comprehensive triennial audit on October 27 & 28 and the auditors indicated that they will recommend that PRRS receive accreditation with a noteworthy finding of 100% compliance with all applicable standards (see more below).   Chief LoBuglio credited the great teamwork of PRRS staff and the assistance provided by the County's General Services to ready the Pre-Release Center for the inspection.   He cited the superb leadership of Section Manager Teresa Still who shepherded the program through the audit.
  • Respect Open Doors PRRS staff members launched a remarkable campaign to improve the climate and culture of the program by fostering greater respect and encouragement.  Developed as part of a Labor/Management partnership to better equip staff to de-escalate incidents at PRRS, this campaign is ongoing and involves activities and training for staff and residents (see more below).
  • Grand Jury Report:  The Division Chief presented the latest Grand Jury Report on the results of their recent visits to all three of the county correctional facilities MCDC, MCCF, and PRSS.  Their report was complimentary of the DOCR and recommended continued efforts to improve reentry programming within the facilities.
  • White Flint Area:  Two Washington Post articles were provided that detailed the significant residential and commercial development in the White Flint area surrounding the Pre-Release Center.  Thousands of housing units, hotels, movie theaters, grocery stores, and more are planned for this area, and PRRS is conducting significant community outreach to ensure that it is seen as a good neighbor and significant attribute for the area.
  • Medical Services:  PRRS improved psychiatric services for program participants in response to the increasing prevalence and seriousness of mental health disorders in our client population.  Specifically, it increased the number of onsite psychiatric hours from three to eight per week and hired a community-trained psychiatrist.  Dr. Gus Weiland has over 40 years of service and is a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, one of the most prestigious honors in the field. He also is a County employee who works for HHS on days when he is not at the PRRS, and has assisted us in improving the transition of clients with mental health needs from our program to the community.
  • Welcome Home Program:  Melissa George, the new Welcome Home Coordinator was introduced to the Community Advisory Board.   Melissa was an Intern at PRC in 2001 and is now the new Welcome Home Coordinator.  Prior, she was working with court-involved youth and their families.  She is off to a great start in continuing the huge success of this program.
  • Personnel:  PRRS has expended great effort since August to fill all remaining vacancies among its line correctional staff members - called Resident Supervisors.  Over 300 applications have been received and reviewed.  Due to the high eligibility standards, less than 25 individuals have been offered interviews, and several individuals are being considered for final hire.  Our newest Resident Supervisor is Mr. Hung Pham who brings Vietnamese language skills to the program.   

Agenda Item No. 3 - ACA Accreditation: Assessment Services Manager Teresa Still explained that the American Correctional Association (ACA) triennial audits are strictly voluntary and occur every three years.  Of the thousand of adult residential facilities in the Country, only 274 are accredited and PRRS has maintained its accreditation since 1983. There are 244 standards to pass of which 35 are mandatory.  These standards cover a wide array of correctional practices from food services to the treatment and care of residents.  Each standard has its own file that must contain verification that the program complied with standards during all three years since the last audit.  In terms of process, the audit starts with an opening meeting involving senior managers, a complete inspection of the building, and interviews with staff members and residents.  The audit concluded with an afternoon closing meeting involving dozens of staff members, and the auditors shared their preliminary findings that they would recommend the re-accreditation of PRRS and found the program in 100% compliance.   The two auditors were retired Wardens from South Carolina and Florida with 61 years of correctional experience between them and were effusive in their praise for the program.    Passing the audit with 100 percent was a huge accomplishment which belongs to all PRRS staff members and our supporting colleagues in General services that helped us prepare the building for the audit. 

Agenda Item No. 4 - Respect Open Doors:   Unit Manager Chris Johnson and Resident Supervisor Ivan Downing presented the "Respect Opens Doors" campaign and explained its genesis and implementation.  They traced its conception to a Labor Management Relations Committee meeting in May in 2007 in which staff discussed the increasing challenges of maintaining decorum and order at PRRS given changes in the needs and backgrounds of its clients.  In subsequent meetings, a De-Escalation Working Committee was formed and a range of activities to address culture and climate issues were planned and incorporated under the rubric of the Respect Opens Doors Campaign.  These activities included full-day staff training and  activities for residents to raise awareness about the importance of giving and receiving respect in all aspects of our lives.  The campaign's kick-off started with informational meetings on August 14 involving all staff on all shifts accompanied by light refreshments, and a poster contest conducted for Residents.  Beginning the following Monday, staff brought together residents of all units for a morning meeting in the cafeteria where a large banner was unfurled and the new logo of the campaign presented.  Further, line staff and managers served cake and ice cream at lunch and dinner time for the residents under the banner and announced the winners of the poster contest.  Throughout the week, each Unit provided a set curriculum for the 8am morning meetings that provided residents with different perspective on how to manage stressful situations, and the benefits of demonstrating respect with family members, employers, friends, and residents (as well as program staff).  The logo for Respect Opens Doors was developed with input from residents and this campaign continues with  posters and different activities.      

Agenda Item No. 5 -Strathmore Hall  Work Release Coordinator Hillel Raskas provided an overview of efforts by Strathmore Hall to support the reentry work of PRRS by making available at free or reduced cost tickets to cultural events for residents with their family members.  In addition, Strathmore has indicated its willingness to consider residents for future employment within their operations.   CAB member Eric Brenner was instrumental in making this connection between these two institutions.    

Other Items Discussed:

  • Susan Kirk announced Bethesda Cares'20th Anniversary of wonderful services to the community
  • The Believe, Succeed, and Achieve Program will have its second event in November.

Agenda Item No. 6 - Final Meeting for 2008

  • Thursday, December 18th at 7:30 A.M.

Agenda Item No. 7 - Adjournment :  The meeting adjourned at 9:10 A.M. 



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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