I would like to take a moment to thank all employees for their greatness in being public servants for the great state of Oklahoma and to share my appreciation for jobs well done. Also, thanks for all who were able to attend and/or worked at the awards ceremony. It was sold out and we are working on expanding capacity for next year’s event. Several other state agency and associations’ executive staff have attended our event and are unanimous in stating we have the best awards process and ceremony. The American Correctional Association Executive Director, Jim Gondles, attended our awards and stated that he has had the opportunity to attend awards in most every state and by far we were the best. He plans to attend next year also.
As director I continuously receive inquiries from other agencies and correctional systems on how Oklahoma continues to do so much with minimum resources. We maintain one of the lowest per diem rates of incarceration while having one of the lowest recidivism rates. Normally these two items do not correspond. More recently we were nationally recognized for efforts in the areas of employee retention, recruitment and innovations such as tuition assistance, savings bond for staff who recruit, employee health gold standards and many more.
As many of you are aware, employee compensation is our number one priority for the next legislative session. This includes attempting to secure funding above the current funded rate of 81% full time employees (FTE). We need to continue our progress in recruitment and retention and stay salary competitive with contiguous states and the private sector. There has been some confusion on what is meant when we requested a five percent performance pay for qualified employees. Qualified employees mean any full time employee who has meets or exceeds standard on a current employee evaluation. Therefore this proposal affects all employees. This does not require new legislation but does require funding. I encourage all employees to contact their legislators in support of this proposal. There is new leadership in committees and in other key roles this year so it is imperative that your voice be heard.
By the time you read this, we probably will have completed our fourth Annual Reentry Conference which will be held December 8-10. This conference is becoming so popular that we have had to expand attendance. Some of the nation’s most recognized correctional practitioners and researches will once again be presenting. The most important thing to remember is that reentry is not a program. It is a part of our culture that includes not only application of best practices but modeling behavior, securing resources and collaborating with other stakeholders with common goals related to assisting productive law abiding lives.
Congratulations to Dr. Laura Pitman on her appointment as the first deputy director of female operations. A few other states have female offender coordinators but none have one that is also operational over female facilities. This position will be responsible for all at facility female offenders to include those in community corrections and contract halfway houses. If Oklahoma is ever going to be other than number one in the incarceration rate of females per capita…in fact we are twice the national average…then we must have a centralized focus on gender specific reentry and treatment issues and coordinated efforts on prevention.
My office has received numerous inquiries concerning the Oklahoma Public Employees Association (OPEA) suing several of our correctional officers and requesting through the open records act, time sheets and emails to and from staff in reference to the Oklahoma Corrections Professionals Association. I encourage anyone that has questions to contact these associations for clarification. As director I am supportive of all professional associations that staff become members of as membership is indicative of one’s efforts to enhance their chosen profession. Since we are such a diverse organization, our staff have many options that range from the Oklahoma Psychological Associations to the Fraternal Order of Police.
I hope everyone has an opportunity to take time away from their busy schedules to spend quality time with family and friends this holiday season… wishing you and your families a safe and happy holiday season.
Council on Law Enforcement Education & Training - October 16, 2008
The Correctional Training Academy in Wilburton hosted a graduation ceremony on October 16, 2008 for Correctional Officer Cadet Class W090808. The 56 cadets in this class successfully completed the required 240 hours of pre-service instruction. Twenty different facilities ranging in security level from maximum security to community security had students in W090808.
The staff of the Correctional Training Academy in Wilburton would like to commend the Class of W090808 on a job well done and wish them the best of luck in their careers with the Department of Corrections.
April L. Broadstone
Joseph Harp Correctional Center
James R. Parker
James Crabtree Correctional Center
Joseph Harp Correctional Center
Christopher S. Jackson
Union City Community Corrections Center
Tracy J. Ford
Mabel Bassett Correctional Center
James E. Hosford
Howard McLeod Correctional Center
2008 Division Outstanding Employee of the Year
Chester L. Mason, Correctional Health Services, Administrator III, Oklahoma State Penitentiary.
Chester Mason has been the Correctional Health Services Administrator III at OSP since May 13, 2004. He has over twenty years of correctional experience including correctional officer, correctional counselor, senior case manager, and warden’s assistant. During his tenure as warden’s assistant he was given the opportunity to learn the job duties of every department at OSP, and was detailed to the position of unit manager at OSP from July 2001 until July 2002.
Chester has an Associates Degree in Criminal Justice from Eastern Oklahoma State College and a Bachelors of Science Degree in Criminal Justice from Southeastern Oklahoma State University. Chester is involved in many activities and organizations within the department, which include OCA and ACA member, ACA audit committee member, OSP Rodeo committee member, Rodeo Team Coordinator, and chairman of the OSP Employee Fund since 1994.
Chester is committed to serving in the community, and is currently the school board president for Crowder Public Schools. He is also a Troop Committee Chairman, and the Assistant Scoutmaster for Boy Scouts of America Troop 441. Chester and his wife Kim are the proud parents of one son, Tyler Mason, who recently was appointed an Eagle Scout.
Deidra McCloud, Probation and Parole Officer II, Community Corrections.
Probation and Parole Officer II Deidra McCloud began her career with the Department of Corrections as a probation and parole officer on May 15, 2006. Officer McCloud brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Department of Corrections due to her previous experience working for the Oklahoma Criminal Justice Resource Center. In her previous job, she coordinated the collection of criminal sentencing data for the State of Oklahoma and assisted in managing various research related grants. Furthermore, Officer McCloud worked as a researcher and assistant site coordinator for the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring (ADAM) program which was supported by the National Institute of Justice. The program collected data about drug using, drug and alcohol dependency and treatment, and drug market participation among recently booked arrestees. Officer McCloud also worked as a volunteer and employee for the YWCA as a Rape Crisis Advocate.
As a probation and parole officer, Officer McCloud has an excellent understanding of Evidence Based Practices and is able to appropriately utilize this type of supervision with her offenders. She has a compassionate heart and a genuine interest in each of her offender’s successful completion of supervision. Officer McCloud enjoys being a part of the Diversion Program, which is a specialized program for offenders who are chronic technical violators. In this capacity, Officer McCloud takes pride in assisting each offender in developing and setting long-term goals regarding changes in their behavior in order to make them more productive members of society.
Due to Officer McCloud’s passion working as a member of the Diversion Program, she has provided presentations regarding the Diversion Program to upper management staff and the Board of Corrections, and was interviewed for a segment on a local television station in regard to the program.
Not only does Officer McCloud enjoy working with offenders, she also enjoys the relationships that she has developed between many of her co-workers and sincerely appreciates the guidance and support provided by her supervisor. In regard to Officer McCloud’s future plans, she intends to continue her work with Diversion offenders and has hopes of working in a management capacity for the department. She, would also like to be involved in the re-entry process for offenders once they are released back into the community in order to secure a successful transition. Officer McCloud is truly deserving of her selection as Employee of the Year for the Division of Community Corrections.
Alice Parker, Information Systems Operating System Specialist IV, Administrative Services.
Alice Parker is retiring from the Department of Corrections after 21 years with the agency (28 years as a state employee). Alice began her career with the state as a registered medical technologist at University Hospital. While at the hospital she purchased her first computer and quickly realized she had an affinity towards computers and everything related to information systems. Alice went back to college and got her second bachelor’s degree – a computer science degree.
Alice moved on to the Corporation Commission as a programmer/analyst and later transferred to the DOC to work on the new payroll system. Alice’s motivation for moving was the DOC plan to move to personal computers (PCs). Alice never thought that she would finish her career with the state at DOC. The opportunities to do a variety of jobs within Information Technology (IT) kept her here. She has worked on developing applications, supporting the use of PCs, development of the computer network, support of servers, and training many DOC personnel. The direct interaction with DOC personnel is an element of the job that Alice has always enjoyed.
Alice looks forward to retirement. She has her cats, over 1,000 movies on DVD, new digital camera, bird watching, and a love of her home and neighborhood. We are also certain that Alice will keep “up-to-date” on the latest technology in computers, applications, and video systems.
We are going to miss Alice. She has been a mainstay within IT. She blends an in-depth knowledge of technology with people skills. The major advances in IT at DOC could not have been made without her. Enjoy your retirement Alice and the best of luck in the future.
Community Sentencing Specialist,
Community Sentencing - Stillwater.
Ms. Miller is the Local Administrator for the Kay, Noble, Osage, Payne and Logan county planning councils. She collaborates with local officials regarding the day to day operations and sentencing practices of the councils, provides fiscal oversight and monitors contracted providers. In the past two years the number of offenders receiving a community sentence in her assigned councils has increased significantly. Ms. Miller engaged in a very effective marketing campaign in order to establish community sentencing as a viable alternative to incarceration. Her success is especially significant in the face of direct competition from other diversionary sentencing programs. Every non-violent offender who is able to remain in the community represents a cost savings in tax dollars of approximately $17,000.
Even though she has dealt with serious health issues, Ms. Miller not only met all of her job responsibilities but also excelled in expanding the population in her assigned councils. She is an asset to community sentencing, the agency and her community. She embodies the agency values of professionalism, rehabilitation, integrity, diversity and excellence.
Ms. Miller is a member of the Mount Zion Baptist Church, Stillwater, where her husband is the pastor. She serves as a youth leader for the church and as a youth counselor for Kid’s Across America (KAA) Summer Camp. Ms. Miller is also a member of NABCJ and ACA/OCA.
Lora Roper, Case Manager, Lexington Assessment and Reception Center.
Lora Roper works as a case manager at the Rex Thompson Minimum Unit located at Lexington Assessment and Reception Center (LARC). Ms. Roper started at Lexington in April of 2006 as a food service specialist, and promoted to case manager after seven months. As a case manager she oversees a case load of approximately 62 offenders. In addition to her assigned case manager duties, she is actively involved with LARC’s re-entry program.
Ms. Roper was assigned to chair a re-entry committee for LCC after attending the 3rd Annual Re-Entry Conference. She has spent many hours collecting data and making contacts with other DOC employees and outside agencies.
Ms. Roper’s favorite part of her job is working with re-entry. She enjoys working with the public and has established connections and programs that will help the Department of Corrections mission for re-entry that in the long run will help offenders transition back into society as productive citizens and help the agency in reducing recidivism rates.
In addition to being a dedicated employee, Ms. Roper’s main focus is that of being a wife, mother, and grandmother. She and her husband John have six children between them, and four grandchildren, two of which they are raising. Ms. Roper says “working for DOC is a family thing,” Her husband John works for Population Management, one daughter works at LARC as an officer, and one son works at JHCC.
When not at work She enjoys spending time with family, and spending time outdoors. Ms. Roper loves to camp, fish, bike, and when it’s too cold to be outdoors, she enjoys sewing. She is a member of the Madill First Baptist Church.
2008 Division Professional Excellence Award.
Sarita Simon, Librarian Technician III, Bill Johnson Correctional Center.
Sarita Simon goes about her duties as a librarian at Bill Johnson Correctional Center without drawing much attention to herself. Daily she encourages the trainees incarcerated there to read, be creative and responsible. Words of thanks are her reward. On November 6, Sarita will be honored at a statewide Department of Corrections banquet for her actions outside the scope of her job-related duties. She has been named the Professional Excellence Recipient from the Treatment and Rehabilitative Division of the DOC.
“I really hoped nobody would find out about it,” Sarita said when asked about the incident leading up to the award. Soon after the May 3 tornado wiped out the Kansas town of Greensburg, Sarita and her sister, Lynnette, took a load of things gathered by Washington Early Childhood Center to Bucklin, Kansas, where her sister Mary Jane Constantin owns a grocery store.“People were just swarming into the store because of the tornado,” Sarita said.
While stocking shelves, Sarita heard one of the employees calling her name. When she turned the corner at the end of an aisle to see why she was being summoned, she discovered an elderly lady lying on the floor. “She just stopped breathing and went down,” Sarita said. Her CPR training, which is an annual requirement for her job, suddenly kicked in. Not thinking of any adverse consequences to her own health, Sarita began giving mouth-to-mouth resusciatation. Mary Jane, who was on the other side calling 911, performed chest compressions.After awhile, Mary Jane said, “Oh my gosh I feel a heartbeat.” Soon the woman let out a deep breath and said, “Oh my.”
“We take training every year for that,” Sarita said. “I told myself ‘OK be calm.’ I breathed in. It was just exactly like it did on the dummy. The chest would rise with each breath.”
During a staff meeting a few days later, Sarita shared her experience with her co-workers. Her supervisor, Greg Paris, wrote up the story and submitted it for an award. Mary Jane, her partner in the rescue, will attend the banquet with her.
A few weeks ago when Sarita returned to Bucklin for the townwide garage sale, she met the elderly lady again. Sarita found a couple of items at the lady’s garage sale she wanted. “Aren’t you the one who saved my life?” the woman asked. Sarita admitted to that role. The reply she received from the woman shocked her. “I think you’re indebted to me the rest of my life,” the woman said. Laughing, Sarita told her she thought she had that backward. Regardless, the woman insisted she be paid the 75 cents for the items. Sarita handed over the cash, laughing inwardly at the entire scenario. To her peers and those who witnessed her quick actions, Sarita is a heroine. A one time heroine, she hopes.“I do not want to ever do it again.” Sarita said adamantly.
By: Helen Barrett, Reprinted with permission from the Alva Review Courier.
Leona Williams, Human Resources Management Specialist IV, Jim E. Hamilton CC.
In 1976 Leona transferred to the Ouachita Correctional Center, now the Jim E. Hamilton Correctional Center, (JEHCC) and has remained here for the past 32 years, serving in various positions, first as switchboard operator for the then Vo-Tech. In March of 1977, she transferred to the Department of Corrections in the business office, and later that same year, she transferred to the facility classification unit.
While at JEHCC, Leona has promoted from switchboard operator to Account Clerk III, to personnel assistant, to personnel officer and to her present position as Human Resources Management Specialist IV. During her tenure at JEHCC, Leona twice has been named facility Employee of the Year and Employee of the Month.
In the community, Leona has served on various boards and committees. She served on the LeFlore School Board for fifteen years, fourteen of them as president. She served for three years on the Advisory Board at the Kiamichi Area Vo-Tech for the Business and Office Class. She presently serves as vice-president of the Democrat Precinct Caucus. Leona is of the Baptist faith and is active in her church where she has served as Training Union teacher and Sunday School teacher.
Leona Williams is a very dedicated employee who is always willing to help out wherever she is needed. Her professionalism and willingness to assist in all situations is well recognized throughout the department. Leona has devoted over thirty years of service to the Department of Corrections and it’s employees.
Angie Pigeon, Case Manager Supervisor, Muskogee CCC.
Angie Pigeon began working for the Department of Corrections on November 1, 1981, as a Clerk/Typist I in Muskogee at District I Probation and Parole. Several promotions followed which include law library supervisor at Eddie Warrior Correctional Center in March 1989, case manager at Jess Dunn Correctional Center in March 1998, correctional records officer at JDCC in February 1998. In March of 2000, she was promoted to case manager supervisor at MCCC which is her current position to date. Angie stated that when she began working for DOC, she knew nothing about corrections but once she started working she knew that she had found a very interesting career.
What Angie likes about her job is assisting the offenders in returning to the community and hopefully being successful. She has the mindset that if the offender is not successful then she has not been successful. Angie also stated that she likes that no two days are ever the same. She just really likes working for DOC. She has always been proud that she works for DOC and the many opportunities that she has had throughout the years to learn and grow both personally and professionally.
2008 volunteer of the year, Steve Bradshaw.
Dick Conner Correctional Center (DCCC) was without a chaplain from April 2007 until May 2008. But thanks to the tireless efforts of long-time volunteer Steve Bradshaw, the facility’s religious programs continued without a hitch.
During that time, Steve took over all the administrative duties of the position to include preparing monthly and quarterly reports, handling death notifications and funeral trips, coordinating and supervising special events by various faith groups and monitoring the facility’s large religious volunteer program. Steve impressed staff and offenders alike with his ability to treat all faith groups with dignity, respect and compassion, although their beliefs may differ from his own.
While filling the duties of a full-time staff vacancy, Steve continued to maintain his schedule with Prison Discipleship Ministries which included regular visits to county jails in northeast Oklahoma. At DCCC he continued to teach a character building class, a marriage prep class and sponsor an offender choir.
Men like Steve Bradshaw are indeed rare. He has been a volunteer at DCCC since 1982, driving to Hominy from Tulsa three or four times a week, sometimes in vehicles that needed some divine assistance just to make it that far. He drove cars with no air conditioning on hot summer days and sometimes on cold winter days his windows wouldn’t roll up. He suffered a great personal tragedy in 2006 with the loss of both his sons within a few months of each other, but continued to come to the facility with a smile on his face and an eagerness to help staff and offenders in any way he could. Steve is a special person that certainly merits special recognition by the facility and the agency he has devoted so many hours to during his lifetime.
2008 Medals of Valor.
Maria E. “Lisa” Steele, Correctional Security Officer III, Lawton CCC.
Corporal Maria E. “Lisa” Steele began her career with Lawton Community Corrections Center in January 2007. She is a dedicated officer who enjoys her job. She especially likes the challenges and rewards of her job that occur on a daily basis.
Corporal Steele is a single mom with three children and one of them still living at home. Her oldest daughter, Amy, resides at Travis Air Force Base in California with her husband, Dean, and their two children, Jamie and Austin. Her son, Lucas, lives in Lawton and her youngest daughter, Autumn, lives at home with her. Some of Corporal Steele’s hobbies include needlepoint and going to the gym three times a week. During the months of April through October, she works at the Lawton Speedway. She is an avid race car fan and enjoys watching her son Lucas race his car.
On January 29, 2008, Corporal Steele was in the process of transporting inmates to their work assignments. Upon approaching an intersection she noticed a vacant house on fire. While on her cell phone calling emergency services, she observed a man exit the house and attempt to start another fire. She informed the dispatcher that a suspect was at the scene and in the process of starting another fire. After ending her call, she approached the suspect and ordered him to stop. The suspect attempted to leave the scene at which time She placed the suspect in handcuffs and held him until the Lawton Police Department arrived. The suspect was later charged with arson.
Eric McAffrey began his career with the Department of Corrections on December 17, 2001, as a Probation and Parole Officer I in Bartlesville where he worked for four years until transfering to Miami in 2005. Eric is currently a Team Supervisor in the Northeast District supervising the Miami and Jay sub-offices. He currently holds certifications as a CLEET firearms instructor, Monadnock Baton / PR-24 instructor, CPR/First Aid/AED instructor, Sex Offender Assessment instructor and Oklahoma Self-Defense Act Instructor.
Some of the aspects he enjoys about working within the Department of Corrections are the same today as when he entered the field. Eric stated while attending college in 1996, he read a book written by Lt. Colonel Dave Grossman. In that book, Lt. Grossman spoke about the breakdown of people in society. He defined society into three classes, “Sheep, Wolves and Sheepdogs.” He described how the vast majority of society is not inclined to break the law or hurt one another except by accident or under extreme provocation. They are the sheep.
Then there are the wolves. The wolves feed on society without mercy, violate society’s laws at will and do harm to others. There are evil men in this world, capable of evil deeds. The moment you forget this or pretend it is not so, you become a sheep. There is no safety in denial. Then there are sheepdogs. Those who live to protect the flock, defend the sheep and confront the wolf. These are the individuals who readily place themselves in harms way, those who run in while the others flee and walk out unscathed. He is able to survive and thrive in an environment that destroys 98 percent of the population. After reading this book Eric decided to enter the Criminal Justice field and pursue a career in corrections and remains in it today.
On March 13, 2008, Eric McAffrey was traveling from Miami to Stillwater to assist with training. While on the Will Rogers Turnpike he observed a pick-up truck swerve and veer off the roadway. A person was thrown from the vehicle and lay on the side of the road. Officer McAffrey risked his life by stopping on a very busy highway and rendering CPR and first aid for approximately one hour until emergency medical personnel responded to the scene.
Todd Darden, Correctional Security Officer IV at William S. Key CC, Thomas Koen, Correctional Security Officer II at William S. Key CC, and Theodore Moore, Correctional Security Officer IV at William S. Key CC.
On August 6, 2007, Sergeant Darden, Sergeant Moore, and Corporal Koen had completed their shift and were on their way home when they observed a two vehicle accident. One of the vehicles was on its side and on fire. Sgt. Moore responded toward that vehicle, Sgt. Darden responded to the other vehicle and Cpl. Koen contacted emergency services. Upon arriving at the first vehicle, Sgt. Darden discovered that the occupant was already dead. He went to assist Sgt. Moore who, with the help of two other passing motorists, had removed one victim from the burning vehicle. Cpl. Koen joined them and together removed the second victim from the vehicle just moments before the vehicle was totally engulfed in flames. The actions of these officers placed all of them at great risk; however, their quick actions resulted in saving two lives.
Offender Phone System
On December 17, 2007, the Department of Corrections (DOC) cut over to a new offender phone system. Prior to this date, DOC had two system providers for the offender phone system. This resulted in different billing rates and system operations. In addition, the system equipment was old, and in some cases, did not work.
The DOC decided to award a contract to Global Tel Link (GTL) for the support and operation of the offender phone system. GTL agreed to replace/repair the system and bring it up to current standards.
Improved capabilities provided by the system include:
•Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD) at all sites
•Centralized offender account and payment information the information is associated with the offender and each site does not have to set up the account when an offender moves
–Single entry of offender data when processed into the system
–Consistent and standard service to the inmate regardless of DOC site
•Improved monitoring and control
–Ability to access phone recordings from any authorized workstation
–Internal Affairs does not have to go to a site to review recorded phone calls
–Software controlled monitoring instead of mechanical/manual
Another significant change was the introduction of one rate for all calls. Offenders are charged $3.60 for a fifteen minute call to anywhere in the United States. Two of the main reasons for going to the new rate are:
•The rates in the old system were inconsistent; even on local calls. This inconsistency was confusing and presented an issue for the DOC, the offender and offender families.
•The old system placed a financial burden on offenders and their families. The new rate structure benefits the majority of the offenders and families.
Since the implementation of the new system, we have seen an almost 25% increase in the number of calls placed by the offenders. The new system is meeting our expectations and providing the offenders and their families an affordable service.
Department of Corrections 2009 Proposed
1. Eliminate requirement that employees utilized in operation of facility canteens be state employees.
2. Amend statute to allow staff at facilities to eat a meal at no cost.
3. Clarify notification process directing the department to complete reports for Judicial Reviews of sentences.
4. Amend Community Sentencing Act: Expand eligibility criteria to include high LSI score and eliminate automatic exclusion of 85% offenses.
5. Amend inmate lawsuit language to restrict offender from asking District Court to vacate or
modify its decision. Directs that appeal of the decision of the District Court shall be directed to the appropriate Appellate Court.
6. Enact legislation to provide process for offenders to seek or maintain occupational licensure.
7. Amend Sex Offender Registration Act to remove prohibition against registered sex offenders residing together.
8. Amend Title 74, Section 590 adding a penalty to a business organization that hires a state officer or employee who exercised discretionary or decision making authority in awarding a privatization contract to that business organization.
9.A. Require private prison contractors to provide construction plans and staffing patterns to the DOC for approval prior to commencement of construction on existing and new proposed facilities.
9.B. Establish penalty clause for private prison operator’s failure to comply with ODOC inmate security classification.
9.C. Amend private prison statute to allow DOC director to fine private prisons we do not contract with for failure to follow monitoring requirements (current statute only allows director to seek an injunction to cease operations).
10. Repeal statute that allows North Fork Correctional Facility in Sayre to house inmates not allowed in other private facilities (sex offenders, escapees, riot history).
Combating Meth Addiction
I am excited about a bold new initiative taking aim at methamphetamine addiction in Oklahoma. Meth has destroyed the lives of many Oklahomans, and the Crystal Darkness campaign, co-chaired by First Lady Kim Henry and Burbridge Foundation President Wes Lane, opens up a new front in the war against meth addiction.
Since Oklahoma enacted landmark legislation regulating the sale of pseudoephederine, the number of meth labs in our state has plummeted. But many Oklahomans—including many of our young people—remain addicted to this insidious drug.
The Crystal Darkness initiative aims to attack the scourge of meth by preventing new users from taking up the habit. Prevention is not only more cost-effective than treatment or prison, it also spares Oklahoma families from the very real pain of addiction. Additionally, the program will encourage those already suffering from meth addiction to seek treatment.
The first phase of the program is a 30-minute documentary that will air on television stations across Oklahoma at 6:30 p.m. on January 13 of next year. On that night and in the following days, call centers statewide will be available for Oklahomans seeking help for themselves or loved ones.
Phase two of the Crystal Darkness campaign will take the fight to schools, parents and community groups with drug awareness education and training. The more Oklahomans know about the dangers of meth and the signs of addiction, the harder it will be for the drug to affect more lives.
The Crystal Darkness campaign has partners around the state, including the Office of the State Attorney General, the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, the Oklahoma Department of Education, the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and a host of others that have come together to make this campaign possible.
Meth destroys lives and families, and it is a very real threat to the health of our state. Working together in communities across Oklahoma, we can take action and save our children and neighbors from the devastating effects of methamphetamine.
For more information about the campaign and how you can get involved, visit www.crystaldarknessoklahoma.org.
Meth Documentary to Air on Oklahoma Television. On Tuesday January 13, 2009, all Oklahoma television stations will “roadblock” from 6:30 – 7:00 pm for the airing of the Oklahoma version of the documentary about methamphetamines, “Crystal Darkness.”
The purpose of the documentary is to raise public awareness of the dangers of methamphetamines and the serious nature of the problem in the State of Oklahoma. There will also be opportunities for people to call in with questions regarding meth or needing resources to help with overcoming the addiction.
A number of offenders within DOC were interviewed for this documentary as well as Dr. Vicki Harless, ODOC Chief Dental Officer. “Meth mouth” is one of the most obvious signs of methamphetamine use. The correctional dentists see this problem every day. Some offenders have reported the first use of meth in their pre-teen years.
Offender Banking -
Yes, It’s Really Coming Your Way.
Many of you are aware of the fragile state of our current trust fund, canteen and restitution accounting systems. These three legacy systems were designed for a different era (pre-internet) and served department needs well when facilities were more independent and department resources (staff, money and equipment) under less fiscal strain. Unfortunately, these accounting systems have reached the end of their technology life-cycle and are currently functioning on life support and must be replaced.
A replacement effort began in earnest almost three years ago with Finance and Accounting seeking field input into what types of systems were available in the market and the likely cost of a system replacement. Several site visits were conducted and other state correctional departments contacted to glean market and technology knowledge.
A legislative initiative was pursued to exempt the potential acquisition from the Central Purchasing Act since it was felt that the department could better evaluate its own system needs. Funding resources were identified and a combined central office/field team was created to develop a consolidated “Statement of Need” which eventually resulted in the department issuing a “Request for Quote” on December 12, 2006.
Four potential vendors responded with product and cost proposals. These four proposals were evaluated by a bid evaluation team consisting of field user, central office, information technology, and outside stakeholder agency staff (State Treasurer and Office of State Finance). All these entities, it was felt, would have a vested interest in the eventual technology solution.
The selected vendor, Advance Technologies Group, signed a contract with the department on September 6, 2007, and immediately began working with Oklahoma Department of Corrections subject matter experts (SME’s) on an extensive analysis of department trust, canteen and restitution business practices and needs. From this detailed analysis an implementation plan and technology scope document was developed and signed in April 2008.
Software development is complex and evolutionary in that it must be extensively evaluated to ensure it meets the intended need. In June 2008, Advance Technologies Group delivered its “beta” Offender Banking System (OBS) software package to the department for review and evaluation. An initial evaluation group was identified and reviewed the package. This initial review resulted in three significant change orders addressing a multitude of issues and several legislative changes that had occurred since the scope document was signed. An updated version of the OBS software was delivered in August 2008. A second team was identified to continue the software evaluation process. This team identified other system issues that needed additional work. The vendor is now making these changes so that a “production version” of the system will be ready for use when actual “Train the Trainers” training begins in November.
An accounting system is more than just software – it is also policy.
A policy review team was created in late September 2008, to examine critical
issues where current policies internally conflict: do not address existing
business practices: and/or needs to be re-examined in light of enhanced OBS
capabilities. This team is now looking at numerous issues so that a new consolidated
Offender Banking Policy will be ready in time to support the new system at
The OBS is a major technology leap forward. It utilizes a centralized inventory management system that allows each facility to control and better manage its own canteen inventory selection based on standardized retail industry unit price code (UPC) information, better purchase order and encumbrance management, and facility unique vendor utilization. Pricing for offender purchases will be uniform across all department managed canteens but not necessarily items stocked. Detailed information on offender purchases will be available in the system. Facilities will no longer transfer trust funds when an offender moves from one public facility to another. When an offender shows up at a different public facility his/her trust account will be immediately available for use.
Offender obligations, once recorded in the system, will be retained in the system until the obligation is satisfied – even if the offender is released from department custody and later re-enters department custody. Offenders with significant trust fund draw account balances (greater than $100) will be allowed to transfer these balances, under specific guidelines, to an interest bearing savings account. This new account will be separate from their mandatory savings account thereby eliminating the need for an external bank account with department staff as co-signers on that external account.
Probation and parole officers will be able to log into the system and issue an offender receipt for fee and restitution collections with the system identifying all obligations owed and any approved fee waivers. Restitution accounting staff will be able to quickly match field collections with their recorded collections and obligations.
As you can see, it is a complex and very comprehensive system that will significantly enhance department operations and security. Initial rollout of the OBS for female facilities is planned for early February 2009, with male facilities to follow two to three months later. Yes, it’s really going to happen – believe it!
Central Transportation Unit -
Mid-Size Prisoner Transport Vehicle.
You may have noticed a new and different looking Central Transportation Unit vehicle coming in to your facility lately. If not, you will soon. It is called a Mid-Size Prisoner Transport Vehicle (MPT), and it is the newest addition to the CTU vehicle fleet.
When CTU was formed, there were two basic vehicles that were utilized, the 40 passenger bus and the 13 passenger van. In the mid 90’s, it was determined that there was a need for a mid-size vehicle which could be used when there were too many offenders for a van and not enough to fill a bus. In 1997, a more economical vehicle was added to the fleet and was called a mini-bus.
CTU began utilizing the mini-bus which served their needs and saved a lot of wear and tear on the buses. The mini-bus was a van chassis that had been modified with a fiberglass and steel compartment added to the back which held 20 offenders and property. It later became apparent that the demand being placed on the mini-bus was more than the vehicle was originally designed for and problems began to arise, from lack of power, to not being able to handle the weight load that was being placed on it. In the past few years the mini-bus has become unreliable and has broken down on numerous occasions while on route which has created safety and security concerns.
When the CTU mechanic began research for a different type of vehicle that would meet the ever increasing demands of CTU, he discovered that there were not many options for that particular size vehicle that could be utilized for prisoner transport. After a long search, he found a company in Florida that produced a vehicle for large cities such as Chicago. These vehicles were equipped with a similar design for use by police departments which he thought might be able to be modified to meet CTU’s needs.
The mechanic contacted the company and together, with input from CTU staff, designed what is currently called an MPT. The MPT is a Chevrolet C5500 chassis with a Duramax 6.0 diesel engine and an Allison transmission. It is rated at 19000 lbs. capacity, which is adequate to manage the large loads of 20 offenders, property, staff and security equipment that are required for the daily demands of CTU transport. CTU expects to receive 400,000 miles of service from these chassis.
The offender compartment is an all aluminum construction which will not corrode and is designed to be easily cleaned and sanitized. It is heated for winter and air-conditioned for summer and has ample space for offender seating and property. The compartment is also designed to be removed when the chassis has reached its life expectancy and placed on a new chassis. This is where the real cost savings will be realized with this vehicle. CTU plans on a single compartment lasting the life of three chassis. A custom control panel was installed in the cab of the vehicle which will allow staff to monitor the offenders’ actions via closed circuit camera system which is recorded on a DVR. There is also an intercom system to allow communication between staff and offenders.
CTU is very excited to have received three MPT’s in October 2008, and has plans on purchasing two more next year. These new MPT’s will be stationed at CTU sites throughout the state. The addition of these new vehicles will add to the safety of staff and offenders while in transit and will enable CTU to safely and effectively meet the mission of the Department of Corrections.
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Cognitive Behavioral Tactics for Brief Behavioral
A Re-Defined Tool for Effecting Behavioral Change.
The Division of Community Corrections partnered with the Oklahoma Correctional Association in sponsoring an intensive workshop on the use of cognitive behavioral tools as brief interventions with offenders. This workshop included participation from probation and parole officers, community corrections case managers, and community sentencing local administrators. The workshop was presented by William “Bill” D. Burrell. Mr. Burrell is an independent corrections management consultant specializing in community corrections, evidence-based practices, performance measurement, leadership development, public management and organizational change. He was a member of the faculty in the Department of Criminal Justice at Temple University in Philadelphia and served for nineteen years as chief of adult probation services for the New Jersey state court system. Mr. Burrell is chairman of the Editorial Committee for Perspectives, the journal of the American Probation and Parole Association (APPA) and also serves as a member of APPA’s Board of Directors. He currently serves as a member of the editorial board of Community Corrections Report and writes a bimonthly column on management issues.
As one of the pivotal components of evidence based practices, the use of cognitive interventions has been demonstrated to significantly impact long-term behavioral change in offenders and to enhance the offender’s problem solving skills. These techniques are used to challenge the (distorted) thinking processes of offenders. Many offenders think in terms that fail to consider the impact of their behavior, not only in reference to their victim(s), but also to their families and themselves. While the best alternative to impact these thinking errors is referral to and participation in a cognitive behavioral treatment program, this is not always possible for those offenders residing in our communities. The availability of these programs in some parts of the state is rather dismal, thus resulting in a missed opportunity to intervene with services that can lead to long-term behavioral change.
Supervision by a probation and parole officer is considered a primary intervention for holding offenders accountable for their behavior, and to ensure compliance with court-ordered mandates. Officers utilize many tools in providing offender supervision. The assessment process, involvement of the offender’s pro-social companions, cooperative relationships with treatment providers, and the ability to award behavioral incentives as well as to impose sanctions are all tools within the officer’s scope for use. This workshop reviewed the use of interventions that challenge offender’s criminal-oriented thoughts and behaviors.
Core correctional practices, those processes and actions we use in supervision, align with the principles of evidence based supervision and include effective use of authority, role modeling and reinforcement, concrete problem-solving, active use of community resources, and the relationship quality with the offender.
In this environment where the correctional staff’s role is identified as being change agents, Burrell identified the primary duties of probation and parole officers (and all correctional professionals) as that of motivating the offender toward pro-social changes, recognizing and confronting criminal thinking, reinforcing positive pro-social statements and behavior, understanding and reinforcing treatment being provided by others, and assisting the offender with correcting problem-causing thinking patterns.
By: Kenny Holloway, Administrator,
Probation and Parole
Oklahoma Correctional Industries
Training Conference October 1-3, 2008.
Staff feedback has been highly positive regarding the recent Training Conference. The location was quiet and accommodating. The cookouts were fun as well as the food being really good. Most comments received centered around the benefits of staff being able to talk with each other and get to know the new folks. It is always surprising to me to see how many new folks attend that were not on the OCI staff when the last OCI Conference was held.
Congratulations to the OCI award recipients. Bob Tomlinson, OCI Employee of the Year; Gary Alexander, OCI Manufacturing Division Employee of the Year; Jim Brown, OCI Technology Division Employee of the Year; and Raelene Edwards, OCI Administration Employee of the Year. All of these folks typify the qualities of leaders within the OCI organization. The very attractive awards they were presented were manufactured by the Acrylic Division of the Dale Rogers Center in Oklahoma City. This organization is a new vendor partner with OCI.
Speaking of leaders, Mr. Colbert reviewed the handouts returned whereby the staff identified which leadership qualities were representative of the seven traits of a leader. Those traits are: “Integrity,” “Maturity,” “Intelligence,” “Ability to Energize,” “Edge,” “Ability to Execute,” and “Passion.”
Each of these “Traits” were discussed at length during the training and the “Qualities of a Leader” were discussed and associated with the “Trait” they represented. The good thing is Mr. Colbert found that, with few exceptions, our staff believes that each “Quality of a Leader” is representative of each of the “Traits” of a leader.
The thrust of the “Leadership” training was for all to understand that to be a leader one must be consistent in both the traits and qualities of leadership. Every person can assume a leadership role regardless of their position in the organization. There is a significant difference in leadership and management. One manages places, time, things and money. One LEADS PEOPLE.
From the feedback, the training was appropriate and beneficial. We have learned that given the diverse locations of our facilities we will plan to end future training conferences at noon the last day. That will allow adequate time for all to return home during the business day. We also believe that more classes/training should be held with the entire group involved when space allows, as opposed to splitting into two or three groups. This will provide more opportunity for interaction with the entire OCI Team.
According to the newest golfer on the OCI team, Mr. Adam Lowery, and the most experienced golfer, Mr. Dean Harback, we picked the location with the ‘toughest’ golf course in Oklahoma. There was a significant difference in their scores.
The Oklahoma Pride training was certainly appropriate from the perspectives of “Quality Customer Service,” the “Importance of Customer Perception” and the “Importance of Every Member’s Commitment to High Quality Customer Service.” Mr. Colbert told the training leader after the conference he appreciated their bringing their presentation to OCI, and that what they covered is basically what our staff lives every day and probably the primary reason OCI maintains a 98% plus customer satisfaction rating month to month throughout the year.
Mr. Colbert discussed the importance of the “Core Values of OCI” with the group during the Leadership Training and the importance of every staff member and workers commitment to those values. He discussed the importance, in today’s economy and the future economy, of the value: “We drive quality, cost and speed for a competitive advantage.” Even though the Oklahoma economy seems to be holding up well, two problems exist for OCI. During a national economic downturn, the leadership in states that are maintaining a good economy begin to slow down their spending. This is a natural thing to do and Oklahoma’s leaders understand that Oklahoma’s economy is historically counter-cyclical to the national economy. That means at some point, the impact of the national economy will have a more significant impact on our state and we must be ready. We have seen a downward trend in sales over the past 17 months and that trend is continuing today. So all of us, as leaders of OCI, must drive our costs downward, increase our speed of manufacturing and delivery, and maintain the high quality of our products and services to combat slowing sales and the resulting drop in revenues. Several state correctional industry operations around the nation are experiencing severe revenue shortfalls with some reducing their workforce drastically. Oklahoma Correctional Industries is committed to move forward into this economically challenging period, managing our business in such a way as to maintain our position as a national leader in the correctional industry sector. Mr. Colbert made it clear he is proud of OCI and its staff and workforce. He also is appreciative of the work they do and their commitment to the “Core Values.”
Mr. Jerry Campbell, administrator of Arkansas Correctional Industries and a 30 year veteran of the Arkansas Department of Corrections, brought his “Games Inmates Play” training to the conference. The following is a note Mr. Colbert received from Mr. Campbell after the conference.
I arrived in Pine Bluff just in time to get in the saddle for weekend duty. While I was driving home I spent a lot of time thinking about the time I spent with you and the employees of OCI. I cannot think of a single person I met that did not impress me in some manner. I get the feeling that the morale of the entire organization is outstanding. I fully understand the pride you have in the people of OCI. I really want to thank you for inviting me to attend the meetings.
Jerry Campbell , Administrator/Arkansas
Oklahoma Participates in National Research
In January, 2007, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections was invited to participate in the National Institute of Justice’s Multi-site Evaluation of the Effects of Reduced Caseload and Related Supervision Strategies on Recidivism for Medium and High-Risk Probationers. This national study is examining supervision outcomes where the principles of Evidence Based Practices have been implemented in supervision and the caseload size has been controlled.
For many years, the somewhat rhetorical question of what is the “ideal” caseload size for probation and parole officers has been asked. While there have been studies on this topic, many were centered on intensive supervision programs (ISP), and the data indicated that with smaller caseloads, offender failure rates increased. In these studies, the supervision staff had additional time to monitor offenders, which basically drove up technical violations and eventually resulted in increased offender failures.
The caseload size question continues to be a critical concern for the profession. With many jurisdictions implementing evidence based supervision (EBS) officers spend significant time in meaningful interactions with offenders in order to facilitate long-term behavioral change. The focus with EBS is centered on the intervention and support activities surrounding offender contacts. Offender contacts are no longer conducted for the purpose of meeting some arbitrary number established as a standard.
Central District Community Corrections was selected as the Oklahoma study site and officers were chosen randomly to participate in either a study group or control group. The officers in the study group have been limited to a caseload size of no more than fifty moderate and high risk offenders while the control group continued to receive random assignments of moderate and high risk offenders. In order to accommodate data collections needs, the Research and Evaluation Unit worked with district staff in the development of new system screens to facilitate the collection of targeted study data.
Recently, Michael Kane and Megan Howe, Research Associates with the Crime and Justice Institute, conducted a site visit at Central District Community Corrections. Mr. Kane and Ms. Howe met with officers who are participating in the study project to identify areas of concern relating to the study. Meetings were also held with the management team of team supervisors and assistant district supervisors. Kane and Howe reported to Deputy Director Reginald Hines that the study was progressing well and subsequent to the management meetings, they were impressed with the progress made to date and of the commitment of the staff to the project.
The study will conclude at the end of February, 2009. At that time, offenders remaining in the study will be evaluated on outcome factors relevant to the study. This information will be considered in conjunction with exit data of all offenders who completed supervision during the study period. It is anticipated that the results will support controlled caseload sizes in order to fully realize the benefits of applying the principles of evidence based practices.
Nationally, there is great interest in the results of this study. While two additional sites have participated in the study, Oklahoma is the only site able to provide data with active caseload assignment and supervision activities. A preliminary report on the progress of the study will be presented during the American Probation and Parole Association’s 2009 Winter Training Institute in February, 2009.
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