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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

For 6/18/07 Task Force Meeting to Study MD Prison Violence

An Executive Summary of Suggested Ideas & Factors for Task Force Deliberations
- Larry D. Kump, Maryland Classified Employees Association (MCEA)

* Providing Safe & Secure Environment for both Inmates & Staff. (Also, see June 8th, 2008 suggestions from Ward Clem; May, 2007 memos about off duty incidents; and June, 2008 email about treatment of employees)
* Require "Secure Confinement" wards at all hospitals providing services to inmates. (Murder of Officer Jeffrey Wroten)
*Line staff ratio to inmates.
*Lack of additional staffing for increased prison treatment programming (For Example: Roxbury Correctional Institution has been without an Addictions Counselor for many years - there only is a contractual monitor for AA & NA inmate self-help groups)
* More performance based job accountability & protection for Division of Correction (DOC) "Employees-at-Will" (Wardens, et al), including "Whistle-Blower" protections (HB 766, 2007 Regular Session) and "Bill of Rights" for all DOC employees.
* Impose "K.I.S.S." (Keep It Simple, Seriously) standards on all policies and directives.
* Counterproductivity of current ban of tobacco products (Distraction from dangerous contraband issues)
* Counterproductivity of current policy requiring inmate uniforms. (Makes it more difficult to identify inmate troublemakers during prison group activities)
* Security problems from current policy of allowing inmate "physical contact" visits at higher security levels. (Increased contraband problems)
* DOC "Outsourcing". (DOC accountability/hands-on expertise vs. Contractor profits/understanding)
* Employee Safety/Morale/Support Issues.(Including "Made in Egypt" yellow uniform shirts w/out pockets, Employee Personal Privacy Restrictions-DCD#110-33), Internal Investigation practices, etc.)
* "Jet Blue" Better Model of Employee Relations (Source information: "Blues Clues", Spring/Summer 2004 issue of "Best Life", page 57.)
* Statistics from Central Payroll Bureau on Prison Employee Union Membership.(see "Pie Chart" graphics from Central Payroll Bureau on statewide union membership)
* Staffing Levels, Salaries, and Causes of Employee Turnover Rates. ($3,000? recruitment bonus given to Social Workers vs. $500? recruitment bonus given to Correctional Officers)
* Need for employees' statutory right to grieve any workplace justice issue, with a "Binding Arbitration" last step option. (Cost of Arbitration split between employer and employee or employee organization - cheaper than court appeals)
* Need to continue to Expand "Home Detention" Program.
* Parole System & Procedures and DOC/Parole Conflicts.
*"Double Jeopardy" of inmate violation possibilities of both "mandatory release" (release on earned time credits) and probation. Consider elimination of "mandatory release" supervision of inmates, and only use court imposed probation supervision.
* Standardize Inmate Diminution (Time Credits).
* Correctional Officers Retirement System & Participants.

Personal Note: For an eerily parallel perspective of what it's like to work in a prison environment, see the opening scene from the old movie, "Joe & the Volcano" ( starring Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, and Lloyd Bridges).


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