Accomplishments in 2009
February 26, 2009
In support of its reentry mission, which was initiated in 2003, the Connecticut Department of Correction has completed a three day symposium entitled, "Reentry in the State of Connecticut- Partners in Progress." The conference's technical assistance and training were provided to the agency by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance, as the result of a national competitive process. The symposium brought together not only DOC leadership and line staff; but also other state stakeholders, such as the Board of Pardons and Paroles, Judicial Branch and the Departments of Labor and Mental Health and Addiction Services; as well as community program providers and urban administrators. The conference was aimed at unifying the reentry vision among all of the partners involved; understanding the critical components of evidence based policy and practice; and developing the next steps toward the full implementation of a Statewide Reentry Strategy.
February 28, 2009
Through the diligent efforts of a manager within the Parole and Community Services Division, a nearly $500,000 annual reduction in savings will be realized in the expense related to offender drug testing. While the agency had been spending more than $8.00 for each testing kit, the manager found a better kit that also had improved cheating detection measures for only $2.50. The initiative contributed to the manager, Eric Ellison, being selected as the agency's 2009 Manager of the Year.
March 1, 2009
As a major security enhancement, the Connecticut Department of Correction has made operational a Cell Phone Detection K-9, one of only a handful of such K-9's in the country. The 22-month old yellow Labrador Retriever, "Rhianna", was donated to the agency by Guiding Eyes for the Blind and was trained internally by DOC K-9 staff. The conveyance of cell phones into correctional institutions is an international security threat, as it allows inmates to engage in continued, illegal behavior by bypassing the monitored and recorded facility telephones.
March 17, 2009
The Connecticut Department of Correction's Management of Information Services Unit prepared for and successfully participated in the statewide computer Disaster Recovery drill. The drill simulated the protection of the agency's crucial computer files in an emergency situation by transferring data currently stored in the agency's mainframe computer to an out-of-state disaster recovery site.
March 17, 2009
Despite an extremely tight time schedule, the Connecticut Department of Correction payroll unit was able to efficiently process retroactive payments for more than 5,000 employees as a result of the awarding of a new contract to the NP-4 bargaining unit, which includes the state's correctional officers. By accomplishing this massive undertaking on time, the State of Connecticut was saved tens of thousands of dollars in potential additional interest payments.
April 9, 2009
In full compliance with the Federal Recovery Act, the Connecticut Department of Correction has created an Internet access capability posting information regarding the status and usage of federal stimulus funds. The tracking of these funds will also be accomplished through the agency's internal Intranet site through a DOC Recovery link for individuals to fill out the federal forms on how the stimulus funds have been used.
May 31, 2009
As part of the agency's ongoing efforts to identifying efficiencies and consolidations in light of the State of Connecticut's current fiscal restrictions, the Department's Management of Information Services Unit has been able to eliminate three computer routers, for a total annual savings of $36,216.
June 1, 2009
Through the use of in house talent, time and expertise, the Connecticut Department of Correction has completed the substantial renovation of the turn of the century North Block, at the Cheshire Correctional Institution. The work, which began in 1990, totaled some $13-million, which is far less that would have been required if an outside contractor had been utilized. The completion of the project now provides nearly 400 additional inmate beds, should they become needed.
June 8, 2009
As a further step in the agency's utilization if its Treatment and Program Assessment Instrument (TPAI), the Management of Information Services Unit has completed the calculations on the TPAI scored for more than 15,000 inmates. These calculated scores are now included in every offender's file.
June 16, 2009
As a means of assisting the State of Connecticut in a time of fiscal distress as well providing an opportunity for offenders to give back to society, the Department of Correction has increased by the number of offenders who are assigned to clean and beautify the State's highways. In association with the Department of Transportation (DOT), approximately 200, minimum security inmates are now assigned to the highway details. Use of the offenders is providing a substantial savings compared to the cost of having DOT staff perform the work.
June 23, 2009
In keeping with its highly successful energy conservation efforts, the Connecticut Department of Correction has had five members of its Facility Management and Engineering Services staff complete and receive a Building Operator Certificate. This nationally recognized accreditation program trains facility engineers in the latest building envelop conservation measures and technologies.
June 30, 2009
In a first of its kind, holistic review of the services and treatment contracted for in the community, the Connecticut Department of Correction has completed a statewide evaluation of residential and non-residential programs and services. These services support the agency's reentry mission, providing offender's who are nearing the end of sentence with community based oversight. The review took into account what services were most needed, such as substance abuse treatment and also the geographic distribution of these programs, which are contracted through non-profit providers. The effort was undertaken in part to ensure that taxpayer dollars were being utilized as effectively and efficiently as possible.
June 30, 2009
Despite the retirements of nearly 450 staff under the state's Retirement Incentive Offering, many of whom were long time, veteran administrators, the Connecticut Department of Correction has seamlessly maintained operations based on extensive succession planning. During the administration of Commissioner Theresa C. Lantz, training academy based instruction was provided to mid-level managers to prepare them for future advancement. This insured that among other positions, seven new wardens could be elevated from the deputy warden ranks.
June 30, 2009
In an ongoing effort to streamline the size of the Connecticut Department of Correction, the agency has closed buildings and housing units at some facilities; reduced the number of deputy wardens by 11; downsized unit management, food services, addiction services, engineering facilities management and has reallocated resources within offender education and addiction services; has increased the usage of video conferencing and has significantly reduced the number of motor vehicles assigned to the agency. Further cost savings are being developed and will be fully utilized.
June 30, 2009
In compliance with direction from Governor M. Jodi Rell to reduce the size of the state motor vehicle fleet, and in keeping with the agency's ongoing efforts to reduce expenditures and seek efficiencies wherever possible, the Connecticut Department of Correction has cut a total of 98 vehicles for an annualized savings of $330,000.
June 30, 2009
In continuing recognition of the fiscal restraints currently facing the State of Connecticut, the Department of Correction has achieved a significant reduction in overtime spending during the course of the past fiscal year. Agency overtime was reduced a total of seven percent during the fiscal year for a savings of some $4-million. The decrease was the result of mandated analysis and restrictions on overtime usage in all areas of the Department.
June 30, 2009
In continuation of its record of safety and security, yearend statistics show significant reductions in both Inmate Assaults and Level 1 Assaults on Staff as compared to the past five year average. Inmate assaults were down by 23 percent in Fiscal Year 08-09 as compared to the average of the past five years. Level 1 Assaults on Staff, the most serious have decreased by 41 percent, when measured against the five year average.
June 30, 2009
Between May and June, the Connecticut Department of Correction Human Resources Unit processed more than 440 retirement requests from employees who had accepted the State's Retirement Incentive Program. The Department experienced the largest number of applications of any state agency, and the rate far outpaced prior retirement initiatives. Even though each application required extensive computation and communication with the requesting employee, the Retirement Incentive Plan's deadlines of June 1st and July 1st were fully met without issue.
June 30, 2009
A review of the agency's GroupWise, e-mail accounts by the Department's Management of Information Services Unit has resulted in a cost savings of nearly $32,000. The review reduced the number of active licenses and converted a number to limited licenses if the account were no longer active but has to be maintained for recording keeping purposes.
July 10, 2009
The Office of Policy and Standards has completed the creation of an electronic data base of the agency's Administrative Directives. The data base contains a historical lineage for each directive as well as any exceptions that have been granted during the life of each directive. The format will insure easier and more complete oversight of the agency's policies particularly for legal purposes.
September 1, 2009
As a means of both enhancing staff training and achieving fiscal efficiencies through the utilization of computer technology, the Connecticut Department of Correction is instituting a Learning Management System (LMS). In association with a dozen state agencies, the LMS will facilitate facility based training for staff, while at the same time providing administrative oversight to track such things as the expiration dates of certifications. The system is expected to significantly reduce the amount of overtime that has been expended for training in the past.
September 1, 2009
A review of the process of storing computerized data on tapes has resulted in a savings of some $12,500 a year. The agency's Management of Information Services Unit determined that the number of tapes utilized could be reduced by more than 200 tapes a year, at a cost of $60 per tape.
September 8, 2009
Through a unique collaboration, select inmates at the Cheshire Correctional Institution are engaged in college level courses through prestigious Wesleyan University. The two year program of eight courses, had a total of 125 inmates apply, 19 of whom were chosen. Currently Wesleyan professors are conducting classes in Sociology and English Composition. The program will be expanded in the spring to include a college preparatory program in which 12 Wesleyan students will tutor 35 inmates to prepare them for the next two year session.
October 1, 2009
A $600,000 Federal Stimulus Grant awarded to the Department of Correction and the Board of Pardons and Paroles, will be utilized to upgrade the Case Notes system. The computerized data base, used to track parolees, will be made web accessible so that it may be utilized by the state's criminal justice partners. The system will also be enhanced to provide greater staff access to reports and information.
October 23, 2009
As part of the agency's progressive approach to the oversight of offenders with significant mental health issues, the department has created the Behavioral Engagement Unit at the Garner Correctional Institution. The unit, with fewer than a dozen cells, is intended to intensively treat the small number of offenders whose degree of mental illness has led to severe behavioral management issues in the agency's maximum security institutions.
November 1, 2009
The Department's Management of Information Systems Unit has developed, tested and deployed a new tracking data based for the Board of Pardons and Paroles (BOPP). The new system will allow BOPP staff to better schedule hearings as well as track pardons applications.
November 2, 2009
Based upon authority reestablished by the Connecticut General Assembly in September 2009, the Department of Correction has begun placing appropriate offenders in the community, under supervision for up to the last 45 days of their incarceration. The Reentry Furlough is a vital component of the agency's reentry mission as it supports the successful reintegration of offenders back into their home communities. Within two months, the Department was able to develop a protocol for the discretionary release mechanism, conduct training sessions and begin the measured and methodical placement of offenders.
November 5, 2009
In keeping with the agency's efforts to operate as efficiently as possible given the state's economic constraints, a new "Return to Work Program" has been initiated in conjunction with the Department's NP-4 labor union. The program enhances the Recuperative Post Program, and is meant to assist employees on Workers' Compensation to return to work in a position that requires minimum physical exertion. The light duty assignments will be offered to an employee for a sixty day period and will serve as a transition to a recuperative assignment or to full duty.
November 9, 2009
The department's Management Information Systems and Research Unit has created a new computerized data base for the State Board of Pardons and Paroles to manage the pardons process. Previously, the Board, which comes under the Department of Correction for administrative purposes, had manually managed the pardons portion of its responsibilities.
November 19, 2009
Building upon the Department of Correction's efforts to reduce costs and enhance public safety through the use of video conferencing, Governor's M. Jodi Rell has announced that an additional $1.7-million in federal funds will aid in increasing usage of the technology. The money will be utilized by the agency and the State Judicial Branch to provide additional equipment at courthouses and correctional facilities across the state. In September 2008 the Department conducted about 150 video conference hearings a month with the state's courts, federal courts, the Board of Pardons and Paroles, the State Claims Commissioner and others. By September 2009, that number had grown to nearly 425. The process saves staff time, travel expenses and enhances public safety because the inmates are not removed from the secure facility.
November 23, 2009
With the support of a $170,000 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Justice Assistance Grant, the agency's Offender Classification and Population Management Unit has begun the process of collecting DNA samples from an estimated 3,500 offenders who have felony convictions or are sex offenders with no felony convictions. The swab samples will be included in a state and national data base of DNA samples. It is anticipated that the project will be completed by June 2010.
November 30, 2009
Based upon the success of its Reentry Model and its ability to effectively and safely manage the inmate population, the Connecticut Department of Correction has been able to announce the closure of one of its correctional facilities. The Webster Correctional Institution in Cheshire, a level two, minimum security adult male facility opened in 1990 will be closed within eight to ten weeks. The decision was made pursuant to a request from Governor M. Jodi Rell to Acting Commissioner Brian K. Murphy, that he consider the feasibility of shuttering a facility. Based on the agency's policy of doing more with less and seeking consolidations and efficiencies where ever possible, two of the facility's four housing units had already been closed. The remaining 220 inmates will be dispersed to other facilities in the agency. A total of 98 correctional staff will be redeployed to other facilities.
December 1, 2009
As part of the overall enhancement of the state's criminal justice system in the wake of the Cheshire tragedy, the Department of Correction, the Board of Pardons and Paroles and the Division of Criminal Justice will now be able to electronically share police reports. The information is critical to decisions made by the Board of Pardons and Paroles.
December 8, 2009
According to the latest review of the country's overall correctional population, conducted by the United States Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Connecticut was one of only 20 states that achieved a decline in its offender population during 2008. According to the report, Connecticut's incarcerated population decreased by 1.3 percent as compared to the year before.
December 17, 2009
The Connecticut Department of Correction has launched an updated Internet site at www.ct.gov/doc in the interests of better informing offender family and friends and enhancing public safety. The redesign seeks to make the site more user friendly and easier to navigate, for example providing a number of often sought features under the heading of Friends and Family Information. The site yearly receives among the highest number of hits of any state web site.
December 30, 2009
The agency's Food Service Unit has chopped nearly $1.2-million from its ongoing yearly budget, as it continues to search for cost savings, while at the same time improving the quality of the meals provided to the offender population. In part the cost savings was achieved by offering inmates a choice of milk or beverage and by utilizing USDA opportunity buys for chicken and beef.
December 31, 2009
As part of the agency's continuing effort to reduce costs, a significant decrease in overtime expenditures have been achieved over the past six months. Statistics compiled for the first six months of FY 09-10 show that overtime has been reduced by $7.8-million as compared to the same time period last year. Departmental managers have been directed to scrutinize all overtime usage within the agency. Additionally, the Department's expenditures in Other Expenses concluded the six month period $9.3-million less than the same period in the prior year.