Minutes from 3/5/21 Meeting

Commissioners Present: 

Commissioners Absent: 

  • Senator Ryan Fattman 
  • Emi Joy 
  • Appointee of the Secretary of Administration and Finance 
  • Francesca Spina 

Representative Day called the meeting to order shortly after 1pm and requested legislative staff member, Caitlin Long, to call the roll.  

Representative Day inquired as to whether there were any objections to the draft minutes from 2/5/21. No objections were raised and a roll call was taken. With the exception of those absent, the Commission unanimously approved the draft minutes. Representative Day recognized Stephen Amos and Mike Jackson from the NIC.  

Stephen Amos introduced Dr. Karen Albert.  Dr. Albert is the President of Practical Solutions for Public Safety, she has over 40 years of experience in the field. 

Dr. Albert explained the goal of her study process, which will result in a staffing analysis document. The four participating agencies are aware of the compressed timeline and are committed to the process. 

No questions were raised to Karen Albert  

Rep. Day recognized Carrie Hill of the Massachusetts Sheriffs Association. 

Carrie Hill presented a PowerPoint that laid out the standards and guidelines for correctional facilities for mental health and substance use disorder.  There are many overlapping state and national standards, as well as program and healthcare guidelines.  Similarly, there are several overlapping standards relating to restrictive housing, serious mental illness, gender identity and further restrictive housing standards.   

Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) standards set forth requirements for MAT programs. A program must have a qualified addiction specialist on staff.  The standards determine when individuals can start a program, how it is performed, and prohibit forced participation.  There are additional reporting requirements.  The Commonwealth’s MAT pilot was reviewed.  The programming  needs to provide behavioral health counseling, and participation must be voluntary.  There are extensive reporting requirements relating to MAT.  We are almost 2 years into the pilot.  There are significant costs but there have been significant impacts on people’s lives.  Denying access to MAT has been challenged as a violation of the Eighth Amendment , a violation of the ADA, and of the Rehabilitation Act.    

Ms. Hill then detailed the mental health and substance use work being done in each Sheriff’s Department.  This concluded the presentation.  

Representative Day thanked Ms. Hill for her work.  He restated that the presentation will be put on the public website. The costs mentioned in the presentation will be included in the work being done by the Sheriffs and Tom Preston.  

Representative Day reviewed the charge: an analysis of what constitutes an appropriate level of funding is a complex one as there are lots of overlapping regulations and standards. The issue of grant funding further complicates this issue.   

Senator Brownsberger: There are a diversity of standards and also a diversity of needs in different counties.  The notion that the commission will be able to say the appropriate spending for mental health and substance abuse is not realistic and we have to articulate that as this particular part of the charge isn’t something that we will be able to do, as there are judgment calls that we cannot make and there is lack of substance for these specific tools.  The question of what can we do that is instructive, is really the question we have before the commission.  

Thomas Preston agreed and thanked Carrie Hill for her presentation. Every facility is following a certain set of guidelines and polices must be implement in each facility. It is hard to say how much funding is appropriate. 

Representative Whelan reflected on Carrie Hill’s presentation through a lens of someone who started their career in corrections several years ago.  Seeing the work in mental health and substance abuse to get those sentenced healthy again versus what used to be available, where a prisoner would be lucky to meet with a counselor once a week.  The facility he started in had 1,100 inmates and the only re-entry program was work-release with 45 slots. Correctional facilities are more humane than they were before, seeing the volume of work now, he is incredibly impressed and reiterated his thanks.   

Sheriff Ashe reflected and echoed Representative Whelan’s comments and thanked Carrie Hill for that fantastic presentation.  We can look back to back the era where each Sheriff was off doing their own thing and there was very little corrections.  He was impressed to see how far the sheriffs have come and to see how much work they do. He acknowledged the work of the co-chairmen want to acknowledge their leadership and the sense of caring and the vision of wanting to acknowledge the two big areas of mental health and substance abuse.   

Senator Brownsberger made a motion that the Commission find that the element of its charge that requires it to determine the appropriate level of spending on mental health and substance abuse disorder services is not an element that it can meet in any precise way, but the commission pursue to an understanding of actual spending on mental health and substance abuse disorder by each branch and each institution and that we ask Carrie Hill and the MSA to come back with a recommended matrix in which we can analyze actual spending for our next meeting.  

Kate Cook offered to second the motion but suggested that the one thing she thought the commission is capable of is looking at is best practices.   It seems like because each facility does not provide the same services, we could look at certain services and say that that is the best practice and ideally that each facility could provide the same service.  

 Senator Brownsberger agreed, we cannot make the finding of actual appropriate funding but we can break it down to go more in depth as each institution is doing.  We may find that we should be spending more on all of these things.    

Gerard Horgan proposed the commission look at this at a national level.  It is important to get a national perspective. If we are looking at the MAT programs happening in MA, lets take a look at costs in staffing and compare it to the other states.   

Senator Brownsberger believes  we will have a hard enough time getting the data for our own state, not to mention trying to get data from other states.  

Gerard Horgan clarified that perhaps NIC could incorporate some national perspective in the report.   

Senator Brownsberger agreed, if the data is available we are happy to see it.   

Tom Preston agreed, if data is there happy to see it, especially to see if MA is actually leading the way.   

Sheriff Coppinger responded to what Kate Cook said: if you look at the programs by county you really need to look at the demographics and geographic as each county is different, some are more affluent than others and some are more rural, eastern communities tend to have more issues with substance abuse compared to western communities.  

Representative Day agreed.  We need to get to a base level to ask who is doing what, and who is not doing it and why not?  

Jim Morton posed a question for the sheriffs: is lack of services in some cases due to lack of vendors, or what the access is to certain vendors in certain counties.    

Sheriff Coppinger commended Commissioner Morton’s question and agreed that the commission has to look at that too.  

Sheriff Hodgson stated that some sheriff’s offices may not have access to programs, or MAT.  Some sheriffs offices may not have a program, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want it.  They may be in the midst of waiting for access to the program or seeing results from other sheriffs offices before implementing it.  

Senator Brownsberger revisited his motion.   

Representative Day said that we will not get to an appropriate level of funding because corrections is too diverse, happy to entertain the motion.   

Senator Brownsberger renewed the motion and Kate Cook seconded the motion.  

Ben Forman explained that on the data side, there has been great help from the sheriffs on how they categorize their medical expenses but if some really expensive care is being done on the hospital side, we are missing theses costs and we want to be sure we get the numbers right.   

Senator Brownsberger believes Commissioner Forman’s comment goes beyond this narrow motion.   

Roll call taken; no objections were heard. Rep. Whelan stepped away and Mike Widmer left the meeting.  

Representative Day thanked Senator Brownsberger for the motion.  He thanked Carrie Hill once again.  As she continues to work to pull the cost matrix together, it will help with Ben Forman and Emi Joy’s work, which is a more objective exercise. 

Senator Brownsberger wanted to make it clear on the record that we have two different matrixes here: the Chapter 69 matrix and now a matrix on actual spending of mental health and substance abuse spending.  Is it fair to review these matrixes at our next meeting?  

Carrie Hill: Yes, the other matrix is completed after meeting with Commissioners Preston and Horgan and the results should be ready by the next meeting they may not be fully completed but enough to review at the next meeting.  

Representative Day looked ahead to the next meeting date, April 9th or April 16th?  

Senator Brownsberger recommended the 9th.   

Representative Day agreed, and scheduled the next meeting for April 9th at 11am.  

The Commission then opened the floor for public testimony.

Meeting Notice and Agenda for 4/9/21 Meeting

Meeting Notice and Agenda for 4/9/21 Meeting 

Special Commission on Correctional Funding 
Friday, April 9, 2021, 11:00AM  
Recording available here.

  1. Introduction of Commissioners  
  2. Approval of Minutes from 3/5/21   
  3. Update from NIC  
  4. Update from Ben Forman and Emi Joy  
  5. Update from Carrie Hill 
  6. Discussion of leadership and charges of Mental Health/ Substance Use Subcommittee  
  7. Discussion of process to complete asset inventory 
  8. Review task matrix  
  9. Set next meeting date(s) 

Public Testimony for 3/5/21 Meeting

Special Commission on Correctional Funding
Friday, March 5, 2021, 1pm until no later than 5pm

You can submit testimony for the meeting of the Special Commission on Correctional Funding in the following ways:

  • You can offer oral testimony during the meeting of the special commission;
  • You can post testimony in the zoom chat, the meeting is being recorded and the contents of the chat will be saved;
  • You can post public testimony as a comment to this post below; or
  • You can email andrew.bettinelli@masenate.gov. If you would like your written testimony to be public and posted below, please indicate that in your email. Otherwise testimony recieved via email will be kept confidential.

Meeting Notice and Agenda for 3/5/21 Meeting

Special Commission on Correctional Funding
Friday, March 5, 2021, 1pm – until no later than 5pm
Meeting held via Zoom. Recording available here.

  1. Introduction of Commissioners 
  2. Approval of Minutes from 2/5/21  
  3. Update from NIC 
  4. Presentation from Executive Director of MA Sheriff’s Association, Carrie Hill 
  5. Set next meeting date(s) 
  6. Public Testimony

Please note, the Commission will accept oral testimony from members of the public on all aspects of the Commission’s work plan. The following principles will guide this portion of the meeting:

  1. Testimony relating to mental health and substance use disorder programs is particularly encouraged. 
  2. The meeting will take place over Zoom and members of the public will be recognized by exercising the “raise hand” function on Zoom and will be recognized in the order in which they raise their hands. 
  3. The meeting will end no later than 5PM.
  4. The chairs reserve the right to limit the amount of time allocated to each person testifying so as to assure that all who have raised their hands at the start of the testimony period can be recognized before 5PM.
  5. The Commission will also accept written testimony from members of the public. 

Minutes from 2/5/21 Meeting

Special Commission on Correctional Funding
Friday, February 5, 2021 1pm-3pm
Meeting via Zoom at https://zoom.us/j/93792122229
(Commissioners will receive a separate invitation to attend as panelists.)

Commissioners Present:

  • Representative Michael Day, Co-chair, Appointed by the Speaker
  • Senator Will Brownsberger, Co-chair, Appointed by the Senate President
  • Emi Joy, EOPSS CFO, Appointed by the Secretary of EOPSS
  • Ben Forman, MassINC, Appointed by the Senate President
  • Thomas Preston, Deputy Commissioner of Administration, Appointed by the Commissioner of the Department of Correction
  • Essex County Sheriff Kevin F. Coppinger, Appointed by the Massachusetts Sheriffs’ Association
  • James Morton, Appointed by the Chief Justice of the Trial Court
  • Commissioner of Probation Edward J. Dolan
  • Michael Widmer, Appointed by the Speaker
  • Sheriff Michael J. Ashe, Jr., Appointed by the Governor
  • Gerard Horgan, Esq., Appointed by the Governor

Commissioners Absent:

  • Senator Ryan Fattman, Appointed by the Senate Minority Leader
  • Representative Timothy R. Whelan, Appointed by the House Minority Leader
  • Gianni Maffeo, Appointed by the Secretary of Administration and Finance
  • Francesca Spina, Ph.D., Appointed by the Governor
  • Kate R. Cook, Sugarman Rogers, Appointed by the Boston Bar Association
  • Christina Crowley, Plymouth County Assistant District Attorney, Appointed by the Massachusetts Bar Association
  • Kevin Keefe, Appointed by the Chair of the Parole Board
  • Bristol County Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson, Appointed by the Massachusetts Sheriffs’ Association

Documents Discussed:

Minutes from 1/8/21

2/5 Commission Task Review

2/5 Commission Presentation (provided by Ben Forman)

Senator Brownsberger called the meeting to order shortly after 1pm and requested legislative staff member, Anne Landry, to call the roll.

Senator Brownsberger thanked the public audience for their interest in this meeting and stated that at the next commission meeting, public input will be accepted and welcomed.

Senator Brownsberger inquired as to whether there were objections to the draft minutes from 1/8/21. No objections were raised and a roll call was taken. With the exception of those absent, the Commission unanimously approved the draft minutes. The Senator then stated that the agenda would be slightly altered in that agenda item 4 will be switched with agenda item 5.

Senator Brownsberger asked Mike Jackson, from the National Institute of Corrections (“NIC”), to provide an update. Mike Jackson informed the Commission that the cooperative agreement closed on January 30th. The NIC made an award to the consulting company Practical Solutions who brought in another subcontractor with correctional and virtual development backgrounds. The NIC is working on an implementation plan and will send it along to the Commission in the next ten days.

Senator Brownsberger then moved on to a discussion of the charge and Commission members’ responsibilities under the charge. He shared a presentation detailing the breakdown of the Commission’s charge.  Senator Brownsberger noted that there is not a clear work plan on ‘actual vs. appropriate spending on mental health and substance use disorder services.’ Senator Brownsberger also stated that as a group, the Commission does not have specific expertise on substance abuse and mental health treatment issues. The Senator opened the floor for discussion on how to best address the substance abuse and mental health mandate in the charge.

Sheriff Coppinger highlighted that roughly 70% of inmates have some form of substance abuse and more than half have mental health disorders. He also stated that there are a lot of valuable resources, specifically under DPH & DMH, and raised the possibility of bringing someone in from the outside. Senator Brownsberger noted that the Commission could consider using monies budgeted to the Commission for this.

Sheriff Ashe suggested that the sheriffs and DOC try to come together and find practices to address some of these issues. Sheriff Coppinger noted that there are certain standards that need to be followed and suggested using Carrie Hill to start some form of this. Carrie Hill noted a 2019 document titled “Jail Based Medication Assisted Promising Practice Guidelines and Resources for the Field” as a starting point for figuring out guidelines.

Senator Brownsberger suggested that Carrie Hill give a presentation and, after discussion, the Commission and Ms. Hill agreed to schedule for the next meeting.

Senator Brownsberger noted as part of his presentation a requirement for ‘an analysis of impacts chapter 69 of the acts of 2018’ and further stated that an inventory already exists including different cost driving elements of those reforms. He also stated the sheriffs completed a 2019 survey on this issue and asked Tom Preston whether the DOC could provide similar metrics when updating the survey.. Commissioner Preston stated that he is meeting with colleagues at the DOC next week and he will circle back on this.

Senator Brownsberger noted the following line of the slide ‘a review of the physical assets, infrastructure, buildings and communication equipment owned by each sheriff’s department and state prison,’ and opened the floor to thoughts from Commission members on how best to go about addressing it.

Representative Day asked Sheriff Coppinger and Sheriff Ashe how easy it is to generate/review the inventory of the assets of their particular departments.

Sheriff Coppinger replied that it was not a monumental task and it would be possible with some discussion as to how to go about it. He raised security concerns regarding specific inventory of communication equipment. Senator Brownsberger asked Tom Preston and Carrie Hill to give a little thought to the inventory issue to discuss in the next meeting.

Senator Brownsberger then moved on to the next line of the slide ‘review of funding sources’ and the ‘expense breakdown: health care, payroll (care and custody), programming for recidivism reduction including all “programs”,’ noting that Commissioners Forman and Joy will have this soon. After finishing the overview of the charge, the Commission moved on to the presentation by Commissioners Forman and Joy without objection.

Ben Forman presented preliminary numbers of population trends, staffing ratios and salary expenditure. He noted drops in population and crime and incarceration rates due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He also noted that because of the oddity caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Commission needs to decide what numbers are most appropriate. Tom Preston noted delays in the court system could be the cause of some changes, to which Ben Forman agreed and suggested using 2019 as a reference year instead of 2020.

Sheriff Coppinger brought up the possibilities of disparities in staffing due to different practices and classifications by Sheriff Department. Ben Forman stated that the best way to overcome that is by looking at the issues through expenditure per inmate, whether its payroll spending on contractual spending.

Ben Forman noted the issue with capturing the prescription medicines that are purchased and whether or not they would be included as they are generally purchased through another state agency. Sheriff Coppinger noted the mandatory requirements that came with the prescription medicine and detailed the multiple avenues from which they can be purchased that can affect the data. Emi Joy noted that some information gets lost and that the survey that was posed will help refine the data.

Senator Brownsberger noted the issues and stated that this is why we are doing the NIC study. He questioned if this will be generated for DOC and within each DOC facility. Emi Joy noted that the discussion has been about DOC as a whole instead of DOC by facility and recommended it stay that way due to the flexibility it allowed and Commissioner Preston agreed. Representative Day stated that the NIC study will provide this on a granular level.

Ben Forman asked what year should we focus on to which Representative Day stated that 2020 is an outlier due to the COVID-19 pandemic and that 2019 would give a better picture. However, a trend line including 2017 and 2018 wouldn’t be possible because of law changes. Ben Forman noted that the years may not make much of a difference because of the data he is reviewing and Emi Joy agreed.

Senator Brownsberger then stated that the Commission should do the analysis for 2019 and include multiple trend lines that take it as far forward as possible. Questions were raised regarding using calendar year 2019 or fiscal year 2019 to which the decision was left to Ben Forman and Emi Joy due to all the caveats and discrepancies caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Commissioners Forman and Joy will provide the Commission with an update on this at the meeting following March 5th.

The Commission voted unanimously among those present to adjourn and agreed to tentatively meet again on March 5th at 1pm. This meeting will include public input and the review of mental health and substance abuse criteria.    

Meeting Notice and Agenda for 2/5/21 Meeting

   Special Commission on Correctional Funding
Friday, February 5, 2021 1pm-3pm
Meeting via Zoom at https://zoom.us/j/93792122229.
(Commissioners will receive a separate invitation to attend as panelists.)

  1. Introduction of Commissioners
  2. Approval of Minutes from 1/8/21 Meeting
  3. Update from NIC
  4. Update from Commissioners Ben Forman and Emi Joy
  5. Discussion of charge and Commission members’ responsibilities relative to completion of charge
  6. Set next meeting date(s)

Minutes from 1/8/21 Meeting

Special Commission on Correctional Funding
Friday, January 8, 2021, 11am-1pm
Meeting held via Zoom. Recording available here.

Representative Day opened the meeting and asked Caitlin Long from his office to call the roll of Commissioners. The following Commissioners were present:

Senator Brownsberger
Michael Widmer
Ben Forman
Representative Whelan
Emi Joy
Sheriff Coppinger
Sheriff Hodgson
James Morton
Commissioner Ed Dolan
Kevin Keefe
Kate Cooke
Gerard Horgan
Sheriff Ashe

The following Commissioners were not present:
Senator Fattman
Tom Preston
Gianni Maffeo
Christina Crowley
Francesca Spina

The Commission approved the minutes by roll call unanimously among those present and voting.

Representative Day asked Anne Landry from Senator Brownsberger’s office to provide an update from NIC. Anne Landry relayed her conversation with Chief Amos from the National Institute of Corrections (“NIC”), who explained that the solicitation would close on January 15th. At this time, NIC had not received any responses, which it did not consider unusual. The solicitation is available on www.usagrants.gov, as well as the Commission website. Ms. Landry included the link to the solicitation in the Zoom chat: http://correctionalfunding.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/21JD02-Staffing-VILT-Curriculum-Dev-and-Pilot-FINAL.pdf.

Representative Day asked Commissioners Ben Forman and Emi Joy to provide an update on the survey they are preparing. Commissioner Forman shared his screen to share the draft of the survey. Commissioners Forman and Joy provided an overview of the survey. Commissioner Joy described the survey as simple but functional. She explained that it is not calling out FTE or staff time, but that it would be helpful to get this information from departments.

Representative Day agreed with the plan to “set the table” with a call with recipients of survey, which he described as important. Senator Brownsberger asked whether this survey would allow the Commissioners to better interpret data they already have access to. Commissioner Joy confirmed that intention. Representative Day expressed the goal of getting an apples-to-apples comparison.

Sheriff Coppinger stated that the fact that sheriffs get a lot of grants should be clear. He suggested the Commissioners work with Carrie Hill, Executive Director to the Massachusetts Sheriffs Association, to finetune the survey and standardize reporting.

Commissioner Morton asked if there is a place that captures travel expenses and use of video conference systems with the Trial Court. Commissioner Joy indicated this survey would not capture that

Carrie Hill indicated in the chat that she would be happy to coordinate with Commissioners Joy and Forman as well as with the CFOs from the individual Sheriffs’ Offices.

Senator Brownsberger asked about the timeline. Commissioner Forman indicated that the next step would be to reach out to Carrie Hill and confirm how to organize meetings with finance folks from different agencies. From there, Commissioner Forman indicated he would hope to set something up with agencies by the end of the month.

Commissioner Cook thanked Commissioners Joy and Forman for their work on moving this forward towards getting an apples-to-apples comparison.

Representative Day invited the Commission to look at the charge and brainstorm who would like to take on what.

Senator Brownsberger suggested the Commission walk through the charge, which he brought up on his screen and shared. The Commission discussed how they were meeting or needed to continue to work to meet the charge. The Senator asked how we were working to evaluate discretionary programming and geographic disparities. Ms. Landry shared that the sheriffs had previously provided us with a list of their program offerings, which she shared in the chat, but the Commission has not analyzed it. The Senator suggested the next step would be to review this; Commissioners Forman and Joy conveyed their willingness to do this and to compare the counties’ programming at least at a high level. The Senator, drawing from a comment in the chat, indicated it would be useful to know how many people each program serves and to put data already received into a framework. Senator Brownsberger suggested an analysis of chapter 69 of the Acts of 2018 is prohibitively difficult for right now and thinks the DCAMM study might discharge part of the Commission’s charge. Representatives Day and Whelan suggested we put the question to the DOC and sheriffs whether the DCAMM presentation would be agreed to by DOC and the sheriffs. Senator Brownsberger thought DCAMM may already be doing that, which Commissioner Joy confirmed. Representative Day asked that the final Commission product include this work by DCAMM. Sheriff Coppinger mentioned in the chat that the updated program lists are due to the EOPSS from sheriffs next week. Senator Brownsberger asked whether revenue sources are within the survey. Commissioner Joy indicated they are not but that they can try to tackle that. Sheriff Hodgson asked that the revenue analysis include immigration revenues coming in. The Senator hoped that the Commissioners’ work in analyzing programming would fulfill the charge to analyze recidivism reduction efforts.

Representative Day asked whether we should create subgroups or create another structure for analysis. He asked Commissioners to plan to have an informed discussion on this topic for the next meeting. Commissioner Cook suggested we wait for more data to come back and then work in subgroups, as Representative Day had proposed.

Senator Brownsberger suggested the Commission plan to meet every 4 weeks or so.

Sheriff Horgan conveyed that he had created a survey he created while working from MSA of impact of chapter 69 on the sheriffs’ department, which he promised to share. The Senator indicated it would be posted on the website.

Senator Brownsberger identified two questions that appeared in a question and answer formatthat he believed relate to our particular analysis: how work programs relate to programming (how are we accounting for that?); and whether the Commission will analyze programming at different security levels at the DOC. The Senator asked if he could leave these thoughts with Commissioners Forman and Joy.

The Commission decided to meet again on February 5 at 1pm.

The Commission adjourned. The Commission discussed keeping the Zoom open to take questions from audience and Representative Day thanked Commissioners Joy and Forman for their work. The Senator indicated he would end the Zoom meeting to avoid the risk of conducting business as a quorum following adjournment and suggested instead scheduling a question-and-answer portion of the meeting on a future agenda.

Meeting Notice and Agenda for 1/8/21 Meeting

Special Commission on Correctional Funding
Friday, January 8, 2021, 11am-1pm
Meeting via Zoom at https://zoom.us/j/91027351912
(Commissioners will receive a separate invitation to attend as panelists.)

  1. Introduction of Commissioners
  2. Approval of Minutes from 12/4/20 Meeting
  3. Update from NIC
  4. Update on Survey from Ben Forman and Emi Joy
  5. Discussion of data in light of charge- call for volunteers
  6. Set next meeting date(s)

Minutes from 12/4/20 Meeting

Special Commission on Correctional Funding
December 4, 2020 11am-1pm
Meeting via ZOOM at https://zoom.us/j/95446360095
(Commissioners received a separate log-in via email to attend as panelists.)

Commissioners Present:

  • Representative Michael Day, Co-chair, Appointed by the Speaker
  • Senator Will Brownsberger, Co-chair, Appointed by the Senate President
  • Representative Timothy R. Whelan, Appointed by the House Minority Leader
  • Emi Joy, EOPSS CFO, Appointed by the Secretary of EOPSS
  • Ben Forman, MassINC, Appointed by the Senate President
  • Thomas Preston, Deputy Commissioner of Administration, Appointed by the Commissioner of the Department of Correction
  • James Morton, Appointed by the Chief Justice of the Trial Court
  • Commissioner of Probation Edward J. Dolan
  • Kevin Keefe, Appointed by the Chair of the Parole Board
  • Christina Crowley, Plymouth County Assistant District Attorney, Appointed by the Massachusetts Bar Association
  • Michael Widmer, Appointed by the Speaker
  • Kate R. Cook, Sugarman Rogers, Appointed by the Boston Bar Association (present for most of the meeting)
  • Jon D’Angelo on behalf of Sheriff Michael J. Ashe, Jr., Appointed by the Governor
  • Gerard Horgan, Esq., Appointed by the Governor (joined approximately at 12pm)

Commissioners Absent:

  • Senator Ryan Fattman, Appointed by the Senate Minority Leader
  • Gianni Maffeo, Appointed by the Secretary of Administration and Finance
  • Francesca Spina, Ph.D., Appointed by the Governor
  • Essex County Sheriff Kevin F. Coppinger, Appointed by the Massachusetts Sheriffs’ Association
  • Bristol County Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson, Appointed by the Massachusetts Sheriffs’ Association

Documents Discussed:

11/06/20 Draft Minutes

NIC Staffing Analysis Cooperative Agreement Document

DCAMM Presentation

Correctional Funding Commission Charge

Senator Brownsberger called the meeting to order shortly after 11am and introduced legislative staff members Anne Landry and Caitlin Long.

Senator Brownsberger inquired as to whether there were any objections to the draft minutes from 11/6/20. No objections were raised and a roll call was taken. With the exception of those absent, the Commission unanimously approved the draft minutes.

Senator Brownsberger introduced and recognized Mike Jackson and Stephen Amos from the National Institute of Corrections to provide an update to the Commission.

Stephen Amos stated that the cooperative agreement was released on December 2nd. The application deadline is January 15th, as they would like to begin the process on March 4th. Stephen Amos stated that they welcome all that would like to pursue this cooperative agreement. And that they will provide the Commission with regular reporting’s and with any questions or changes that may come up along the way.

Senator Brownsberger stated that the document will be made available on the correctional funding website and that the meeting will now move on to the DCAMM presentation.

Commissioner Emi Joy thanked DCAMM for joining as they have been working very hard to go through every fiscal aspect under corrections to come up with what sort of investment decisions should be made. Their presentation is solely an architectural look, but it is a critical building block and something that DCAMM is relied on for. Commissioner Joy introduced Emmanuel Andrade as the project manager at DCAMM, who gave the presentation.

At 11:20 am Senator Brownsberger began the recording of the meeting and stated that the prior action to the meeting was the approval of minutes and an update from NIC.

Emmanuel Andrade presented the Facility Condition Assessment of Correctional Facilities. The presentation is a product of a partnership with the DOC and the county sheriffs’ departments. Mr. Andrade described the first section of the presentation as the Facility Condition Assessment’s (FCA) scope and approach of the project. The second section includes the overall conditions of the correctional portfolio, the third is the review of the repair needs they identified, and the fourth is a quick recap and presentation of some of the current capital investments performed by DCAMM.

After presenting the slide show, Mr. Andrade stated that this is the first time the Commonwealth has done a review of the portfolio; the FCA is limited as it only looks at facility needs and does not look at space needs based on the population or bed count in the correctional portfolio. This only looks at facility needs, building systems and components on the basis of a future investment by the Commonwealth.

Senator Brownsberger thanked Emmanuel Andrade for his excellent presentation and asked if Commissioner Joy wanted to put this into context.

Commissioner Joy put the correctional portfolio in the context of the rest of the Commonwealth, stating that the Commonwealth is limited in the total number of capital dollars it has to invest; EOPSS is often making requests or suggesting prioritizing projects. They prioritize projects based on their value; they ask the question whether it is an investment or a repair that needs to happen right away. There is only a limited amount of dollars and they must look to see where they can direct the monies to have the highest impact. They look at the programmatic goals and match that to what spaces are there and the possibilities of how they can grow and expand to better suit the population.

Senator Brownsberger asked Commissioner Joy what the process is to take it to the next level of facility needs from a policy perspective.

Commissioner Joy stated that there are a couple of paths forward but they haven’t had the full discussion on which path to take yet. One of their past works has been a master plan under DCAMM that has taken the full view of what is the baseline of planned needs and how to prioritize these needs, but how they plug the programmatic needs into it is variable and they have not decided on that yet. The conversations are ongoing and they are really hoping to have a plan soon.

Commissioner Widmer asked Commissioner Joy if they will take into consideration how many people we actually need in prisons.

Commissioner Joy stated this is absolutely something they are looking into and thinking about. They will pull data from other states to look at the trends and to do their best to change and build.

Representative Whelan stated that the prison population in MA is 49th-50th in the nation in the percentage of citizens that we have in our correctional facilities, so the mass incarceration rates that we hear about cited in the news tend to be outside of our state.

Commissioner Widmer stated that this is an important fact but doesn’t change the question whether MA should change its incarceration policy.

Representative Whelan responded that this lies outside of the control of the DOC and something that the Judiciary itself will have to look at. The Judiciary and legislature would have to address, the DOC has no say in this.

Commissioner Widmer noted that he appreciates that, but that it will be something the Commission will need to look at as we are looking at investments over 10 years.

Commissioner Joy stated that there are still important conversations that need to be had and that any good plan should be adaptable to change.

Senator Brownsberger thanked DCAMM for their presentation and asked for an update from Ben Forman.

Representative Day thanked DCAMM as well and wanted to make sure the Commission could post the presentation on the Commission’s website with their permission. Permission was granted by DCAMM.

Commissioner Forman said that he was very briefly able to connect with Commissioner Joy and she had some very helpful suggestions. The goal is to better understand healthcare expenditures, program expenditures, and it would be good to go to each of the agencies with a survey to better understand how they are paying for healthcare expenditures, especially, to break down the difference between behavioral health and general health. When trying to understand healthcare expenditures they had not previously done any of this analysis and it seems like this might be a topic the Commission would like to pursue to identify and understand these expenditures. They also discussed special initiatives and will want to make sure the Commission classifies those expenditures accurately in its analysis. Commissioner Joy suggested they put together a short survey to send to the departments so that the Commission can better understand before starting to classify them into budget object codes.

Commissioner Joy clarified why she was thinking of that approach by explaining that Commissioner Forman has been using a system of putting object codes on a classification of how we pay for things. Each agency receives a budget, which is comprised of accounts, or line items, and the way that we spend money out of these appropriations is through object classes, more specifically object codes. Example, AA is where fulltime staff salaries come from but then there is a sub code in there that includes base pay, overtime, etc. They are letters randomly assigned to values. Commissioner Forman took these letters and organized them into categories in ‘buckets’ to reduce them. There are some discrepancies in how some entities decide to spend money. By just pulling medical contracts we are missing a lot of the costs. In an ideal world we would ask them to show us everywhere their medical spending, but this is often pretty burdensome to do.

Senator Brownsberger stated that for the record Commissioner Horgan joined at approximately 12pm. 

Senator Brownsberger asked Commissioner Joy if the spending levels are available at the facility level.

Commissioner Joy stated that it would show up easier for Sheriffs, but for DOC on site-specific contracts, it may end up being a proportional distribution. Essentially, Commissioner Forman has a bucket model and Commissioner Joy proposes going a step further to make sure the codes are being used appropriately.

Commissioner Preston stated that on the healthcare piece, individuals might want to see a finite cost per facility, which will be almost near impossible because the contracts will be written for the staffing levels for the entire agency, not per facility. This is built to a staffing level and the staffing level is through the agency and they also have to staff per facility as well.

Senator Brownsberger asked if the personnel costs are in a different category and whether they are associated with specific facilities.

Commissioner Preston stated that if it is a medical piece, then the personnel from the medical company are all within the same contract. If it is their own personnel, it will be in object code AA for regular salaries, then will move down to shift differentials, overtime, etc. All of this comes up in personnel HR payouts.

Commissioner Forman stated that in terms of their work they assign personnel codes based on staff titles. It is worth doing as some titles are pretty clear, but that is one of the things that is important to try and undertake.

Commissioner Preston noted that it is important to get it ironed out; that we don’t want to miss anything either while someone else is not spending in that category because it may not balance out correctly. We will need to talk about it further to make sure we are on the right track and have the right goals, the same goes with the programming piece as well.

Commissioner Joy stated that there should be a conversation on what we bucket as programmatic cost. If a particular vendor is brought in then it is clear that it is a program cost, but there might be a particular program that someone can participate in, where we see spending for equipment brought in for that program and is coordinated by program staff. Do we include the program coordinator, staff salary, etc. we need to figure out what each bucket should include.

Senator Brownsberger indicated that the Commission would move on to the next agenda item and go over the charge

Commissioner Widmer highlighted the third paragraph of the charge [The study shall include…(v) expenses on programming for recidivism reduction, including case management, reentry support, behavioral health…] and stated that this part is pretty comprehensive and is a key central piece to the charge, and hopes the Commission doesn’t lose sight of it.

Senator Brownsberger asked how much of this will get done under the analysis that Commissioner Forman and Commissioner Joy are bringing forward.

Commissioner Forman stated that this is exactly why we want to get a better understanding on healthcare and in order to do this we will definitely need some input and collaboration from these agencies.

Commissioner Preston stated they are happy to collaborate and answer the questions asked. If there were a timeframe the Commission would like to receive it by that would get the ball rolling. Commissioner Preston asked Commissioner Forman and Joy if they would like to collaborate after the meeting to figure out what they can come up with in the sense of format and presentation.

Senator Brownsberger stated that there is some work to be done here but can make some reasonable allocations based on the data that we do have and feel we can assemble. Senator Brownsberger asked the Commission for their views regarding the staffing ratio portion of the charge (i) and stated that that data should be readily available and asked if Commissioner Forman has enough information regarding staffing numbers/population to which Commissioner Forman answered yes..  

Senator Brownsberger asked what the commission is thinking for section (iv.)

Commissioner Forman asked if this was used in a previous discussion or in the budget and that he thought we have this information somewhere.

Senator Brownsberger stated that this section may be a little bit unwieldy, but it does require a bit of data collection.

Commissioner Forman suggested that this could be a good starting place for the survey.

Senator Brownsberger motioned back to the charge and emphasized section (v) of paragraph two, analysis of chapter 69 acts of 2018, and stated that this section is potentially larger than it looks, another way of looking at this is, what is solitary confinement and what will it take to really meet these directives. This section may need some further thought. The Senator moved to section (vi) of the same paragraph and stated that it seems like it was done with exception of the communications equipment, which can be expensive. He had noticed that electrical components were included in the review, which may be close enough. Next the Senator referred to section (vii) and asked Commissioner Joy if the Commission had any data including all of the revenue sources for all facilities.

Commissioner Joy stated that they have them for the DOC, but was not sure about the sheriffs; they can write a report regarding this.

Senator Brownsberger asked if any Commissioners had any questions regarding the charge. No questions were raised. Senator Brownsberger suggested Friday, January 8th as the next Commission Meeting date.

Representative Day asked if this would give Commissioner Forman and Joy enough time to go over this and pull together a potential survey.

Commissioner Forman believes they will have significant time.

The Commission agreed to meet again on January 8th, with the plan that Ben Forman and Emi Joy will provide the Commission with a proposed survey.

The Commission voted unanimously among all those present to adjourn.

Notice and Agenda for 12/4/20 Meeting

Special Commission on Correctional Funding 
December 4, 2020 11am-1pm
Meeting via ZOOM at https://zoom.us/j/95446360095
Commissioners will receive a separate log-in via email to attend as panelists.

Meeting Notice and Agenda

Recognition of Commissioners in Attendance

Vote on 11/6/20 Draft Minutes

Update on DCAMM Study

Update from NIC

Data Update (Ben Forman, Sheriffs’ Departments, DOC)

Review of charge — are we covering the bases?

 Setting Next Meeting Date(s)