Minutes from 6/11/21 Meeting

Special Commission on Correctional Funding
Friday, June 11, 2021 at 1 PM
(virtual meeting)

Chair Day welcomed members and provided brief opening remarks

Roll Call Taken

Commission Members Present:

  • Chair Brownsberger
  • Chair Michael Day
  • Emi Joy
  • Kevin Keefe
  • Timothy Whelan
  • James Cowdell
  • Christina Crowley
  • Edward Dolan
  • Thomas Preston
  • Michael Widmer
  • Kevin Coppinger
  • Michael Ashe
  • James Morton
  • Ben Forman
  • Kate Cook

Commission Members Absent:

  • Ryan Fattman
  • Thomas Hodgson
  • Gerard Horgan
  • Francesca Spina

Chair Day called the meeting to order. Commissioner Widmer moved to accept minutes circulated for April 30, 2021. Commissioner Ashe seconded. Roll call taken. Commissioners Whelan and Crowley abstained because they were not present at the previous meeting. Remaining members present voted yes.

Commissioner Forman made a statement and apology regarding comments he made to the press about the Commission. Commissioners Coppinger and Ashe made brief statements in response. Chairs Day and Brownsberger reminded members to refrain from making comments regarding commission work which has not been fully analyzed, discussed, and decided by the full commission.  

The National Institute of Corrections (NIC) presented on the pilot training program utilized by Sheriff’s offices of Worcester, Bristol, Essex, and Hampden Counties. Stephen Amos and Dr. Karen Albert stated that this methodology will allow correctional facilities to thoroughly review the yearly progress of their programs and overall facility functionality.

Staff from each facility presented. The offices noted that staffing needs are based on multiple factors including: philosophy and mission; facility layout; and number and composition of inmate population. Presenters also noted statutory mandates, budget constraints, and high staff attrition rates as contributing to increased staff vacancies and increased overtime usage at their facilities. Bristol County estimated it would take nearly six months to conduct a full analysis of their facility using the NIC methodology.

Chairs Day and Brownsberger expressed their desire to see a full staffing analysis for every facility in the Commonwealth, but noted that it is not necessary to meet the charge of the Commission. Chair Brownsberger sought greater insight into each participating facility’s analysis. For the next meeting, Chairs Day and Brownsberger requested that the reports be finalized along with a comparison of staffing costs among the participating facilities.

Chair Day then asked for updates on the outstanding work of the Commission.

He requested that the Substance Use, Mental Health, and Discretionary Programming Subcommittee present at the next meeting. The Subcommittee agreed and noted that it was awaiting the Substance Use and Mental Health matrix from Carrie Hill. Ms. Hill advised that this matrix should be completed by June 21, 2021.

She also advised that she met with the CFOs and believes the staffing ratio matrix is complete. Commissioners Joy and Forman advised that they are continuing their analysis based on feedback from the sheriffs and will be able to provide an update at the next meeting.

Chair Day reminded members that the next meeting will be on Friday, June 25, 2021 at 11AM.  Chair Day proposed a motion to adjourn the meeting, and it was unanimously approved. The meeting adjourned.