Accomplishments in 2003
January 22, 2003
An expansion of the MacDougall/Walker Correctional Institution was completed significantly ahead of schedule and below budget. The five new housing units will accommodate 600 additional inmates in 300 high security cells all within the original perimeter fence of the facility. While $35.9 - million was allotted for the project total cost amounted to $29.5 - million. Additionally, the project was finished several months before the anticipated spring 2003 completion date due to the efficiency of the design/build approach. More than 350 members of the public attended an open house to view the expansion.
January 24, 2003
On January 24th, thirteen trained inmate volunteers graduated from the York Correctional Institution's Prison Hospice Program. The program, the second in Connecticut's correctional system, will provide palliative care to inmate patients who are either chronically or terminally ill. The original program was introduced to the DOC at the MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution in Suffield almost two years ago and has since served 11 male offenders with hospice and palliative care. Training and support for the program come from the National Prison Hospice Association and local hospice agencies throughout CT.
January 28, 2003
An agency initiation aimed at enhancing professionalism through the accreditation of all staff, has seen its first results. The American Correctional Association (ACA) informed Commissioner John J. Armstrong that 14 Correction Officers have received their provisional certification status as Certified Correctional Professionals. With satisfactory completion of their one-year probationary period the certification will be complete.
The Certification Program, itself, is designed to advance the overall knowledge level of practitioners in the corrections field, helping to ensure that they are aware of the most current, innovative, and effective approaches. Further, it promotes the capabilities of corrections professionals to the public by certifying their adherence to the ACA Code of Ethics. The Certification Program also enhances the public image of correction personnel and, thereby, aids in the recruitment of new, talented staff members.
January 30, 2003
The Department of Correction has completed an agency wide computer based hostage photograph index of agency employees. In the past the hostage photograph system consisted primarily of paper copies maintained by facility in a binder format. The new system utilizes the computer stored digital photographs that were taken of each employee for use on their agency identification card. The new photographs can be accessed only by authorized personnel through the agency's computer network. It is expected retrieval of the photographs, especially in critical emergency situations will be greatly enhanced.
March 17, 2003
Theresa C. Lantz, a 27-year correctional veteran, has been nominated by Governor John G. Rowland as the sixth Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Correction. Commissioner Lantz is a 12-year veteran of the District of Columbia correctional system where she began as a correction officer. She has served with Connecticut Department of Correction since 1989 as head of Training and Staff Development and most recently as Deputy Commissioner of Support Services. Commissioner Lantz is the first female Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Correction and one of only about a half dozen state female correctional administrators in the country.
March 24, 2003
In an effort to further the streamline functioning of the agency and achieve cost savings Commissioner Theresa Lantz named her managerial team from the ranks of Department veterans. The appointments reduce the number of Deputy Commissioners from four to two. Lead Warden Brian Murphy of the MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution, a 21-year veteran of the agency was named Deputy Commissioner of Operations, and Fiscal Services Director Carol Salsbury who has been with state government since 1970 was appointed as Deputy Commissioner of Administration. Warden Dennis Jones of the Willard-Cybulski Correctional Institution, with the agency for 19-years was placed in charged of the Security Division and Warden Mary Johnson an 18-year veteran was named Director of Programs and Treatment.
April 1, 2003
The Department's new Director of Equal Opportunity Assurance, Robert Jackson, who came to the agency with extensive private sector Affirmative Action experience, initiated the concept of Diversity Councils. These Councils are to be established in each correctional facility with a membership to be made up of a cross section of the agency staff. The Councils will foster open communication and provide employees with a means of participation in addressing Diversity issues. It is anticipated the Councils will assist in identifying strategies and tactics that can cultivate a work environment where cultural diversity is accepted and valued, while raising staff consciousness, respect and appreciation for differences such as heritage and values, as well as the uniqueness of each individual.
April 9, 2003
Operation Correction Cares is launched to acknowledge the agency's collective desire to support the more than 70 staff who have been called to military service and their families. The multi-level effort consists of Department issued patriotic pins, authorized by Commissioner Lantz for display on the agency uniform, support posters in the facilities and individual recognition from the Commissioner by way of a personal card sent to each staff member who is serving in defense of our country. In addition the agency newsletter is publicizing the activities of staff on military duty while correctional institutions are developing fund raising efforts to provide support for the troops and their loved ones.
April 14, 2003
Phase One of the top to bottom review and reorganization of the agency undertaken by Commissioner Theresa C. Lantz and her new Division Heads took effect on this date. The shift in the reporting structure is aimed at streamlining the Department, improving efficiency, and better delineating chain of command responsibilities. Among the shifts in unit reporting was the placement of the Community Enforcement and Special Operations Unit under the Operations Division while the Human Resources Unit and Training and Staff Development Unit was moved under the Administration Division. The reorganization also places the Affirmative Action Unit as a direct report to Commissioner Lantz.
April 25, 2003
Phase two of the reorganization of the Department, involving the management structure of the Operations Division was announced to the agency. To achieve greater efficiency, the chain of command was streamlined by reducing the layer of mid-level of management from the previous structure of six Lead Wardens who oversaw the Department's 18-facilities to two District Administrators. Warden Mark Strange, a 22-year veteran of the agency has been assigned by Commissioner Theresa Lantz to the South District comprised of Bridgeport CC, Cheshire CI, Corrigan-Radgowski, CC, Garner CI, Manson YI, New Haven CC, Webster CI and York CI. Commissioner Lantz appointed Warden Remi Acosta, a 21-year veteran as North District Administrator overseeing Bergin CI, Brooklyn CI, Enfield CI, Hartford CC, MacDougall-Walker CI, Northern CI, Osborn CI, Robinson CI and Willard-Cybulski CI. Both Strange and Acosta will report to Operations Division Deputy Commissioner Brian Murphy.
May 14, 2003
After lengthy and detailed negotiations and the intensive personal involvement of Commissioner Theresa C. Lantz, a Federal District Court Judge approved a Stipulated Agreement which addresses allegations of sexual harassment within the Department of Correction. Under the four-year agreement, the agency will hire a consultant through the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women to provide an independent review of all sexual harassment and retaliation investigations and related Department policies. In addition, an Advisory Committee will be established to provide employees with a forum to express their views regarding sexual harassment concerns. Outside experts and advisors in the field of sexual harassment will make up a Working Group which will assist in the review of existing policies and in the development of recommendations to correct sexual harassment issues. The Department's sexual harassment Administrative Directive has been further strengthened. In a news conference with the parties involved in the Agreement, Commissioner Lantz made clear the agency's zero tolerance stance on the issue stating, "misconduct of this nature cannot and will not be tolerated."
June 20, 2003
Three Connecticut Department of Correction staff were honored at the United State's Attorney's Sixth Annual Awards Ceremony, for their contributions to law enforcement in the State of Connecticut. Captain Jon Warren of the Community Enforcement Unit was recognized for his involvement in the Proj-ect Safe Neighborhoods initiative. Lt. Noel Richards of the Security Division was praised for the crucial role he played in a kidnapping case. Captain Ray Eltrich received the prestigious U.S. Attorney's Award for Exceptional Contri-butions to Law Enforcement which recognized his considerable assistance over the course of a 33-year correctional career.
June 30, 2003
Through sound fiscal management, improved efficiency at all levels of the agency and adherence to a departmental mandate of secure and responsible stewardship of state funds, the Connecticut Department of Correction was able to return $9,333,754 to the State's General Fund at the conclusion of fiscal year 2002-2003. The magnitude of these savings was achieved despite record increases in the offender population, and staff reductions due to early retirements and military call-ups. The Department is especially proud of its prudent fiscal management at a time when state government overall is bat-tling ever tightening budgetary constraints.
August 1, 2003
Commissioner Theresa C. Lantz announces publicly that the Connecticut Department of Correction intends to consolidate its mental health services for the offender population at the Garner Correctional Institutional in Newtown. This consolidation is intended to not only improve the delivery of services now divided up among a number of facilities, but also to provide the neces-sary standard of care in a fiscally prudent manner. The effort will be un-dertaken with the assistance and through the expertise of the University of Connecticut Correctional Manage Health Care, which provides health and mental health services to the offender population.
August 7, 2003
Through an intensive water conservation effort involving the five correctional institutions located within the towns of Enfield and Somers, the Department of Correction achieved a 35% reduction in the total sewage outflow from those facilities. Infiltration of storm run off, which had been included in sewage treatment processing was identified and substantially reduced. Pota-ble water usage within those facilities was also mitigated through a systemic review which examined among other items, laundry, inmate showers and sanitary water usage. It is anticipated the benefits of this effort will be replicated at the agency's other facilities.
September 29, 2003
Under the guidance of Commissioner Theresa C. Lantz, the Connecticut Department of Correction adopted a new Mission Statement and for the first time defined its Vision. Additionally, a Code of Ethics to guide staff conduct both on and off duty was also established. The new Mission Statement reads, "The Connecticut Department of Correction shall protect the public, protect staff and provide safe, secure and humane supervision of offenders with opportunities that support successful community reintegration". The last phrase reflects the Commissioner's stated priority of reinforcing and improving the agency's release mechanisms. The Mission Statement, Vision and Code of Ethics are all contained it the Department's Administrative Directive 1.1.
October 2, 2003
In proactive accordance with the new federal Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003, Commissioner Theresa Lantz notified all staff, of the agency's zero tolerance policy regarding any occurrence of sexual assault within our institutions. The Act requires the national compilation of statistics regarding the crime of rape within correctional institutions. A federal commission will then make recommendations as to how the frequency of the crime can be reduced and prevented. In marking the Department's full compliance with the Act and in reinforcing staff cognizance of the issue, Commissioner Lantz called prison rape, "a terrible act that causes severe physical and psychological efforts for those who are attacked".
October 27, 2003
Through the tireless efforts of the agency's fiscal and human resources staff, the Connecticut Department of Correction has fully implemented the CORE-CT computer based management system. This standardized and streamlined system unites all state agencies under one mechanism for the oversight of all fiscal and human resource functions. The Department's payroll, purchasing, and hiring, among other crucial operations, are all now conducted under this advanced business process. The agency has received praise for its ability to adapt to the CORE-CT program.
November 24, 3003
Governor John G. Rowland named Department of Correction Commissioner Theresa C. Lantz to the state's first Faith-Based Initiatives Council. The Council, made up of religious leaders and state commissioners and established as a result of the Governor's Executive Order No. 31, is charged with identifying new opportunities for collaborative social services efforts between faith-based and government organizations. Commissioner Lantz has detailed the extensive partnership with faith-based organizations that the Department of Correction already utilizes, including a number of halfway house providers and the agency's extensive number of religious volunteers.
December 1, 2003
In compliance with a format that will be utilized by all state agencies, the Connecticut Department of Correction became one of the first departments to debut its new and improved website. Several new features including multiple tool bars which make navigating the site and finding the desired information extremely easy. Directions to all facilities, the agency's Vision and Ethics, and the newly consolidated Board of Parole are all available with a quick click. The address of the website has been changed from www.doc.state.ct.us to www.ct.gov/doc.
December 23, 2003
The Department has undertaken a comprehensive review of the degrees of discipline typically imposed for violations of employee conduct standards in an effort to standardize the sanctions that should be utilized. The resulting matrix covers offenses that would result in discipline ranging from a verbal counseling up to and including dismissal. The effect will insure consistency in the disciplinary process and will educate staff as to the potential penalties for violations of behavioral expectations.