Minutes from 7/19/21 Meeting

Special Commission on Correctional Funding
Monday, July 19, 2021 at 10 AM
(virtual meeting)

Commissioner Present:

  • Chairman Day
  • Chairman Brownsberger
  • Ben Forman
  • Representative Timothy Whelan
  • Emi Joy
  • James Cowdell
  • Kevin Coppinger
  • James Morton
  • Edward Dolan
  • Kevin Keefe
  • Gerard Horgan
  • Michael Ashe
  • Michael Widmer

Commissioners Absent:

  • Senator Ryan Fattman
  • Thomas Preston
  • Thomas Hodgson
  • Christina Crowley
  • Kate Cook
  • Francesca Spina

Chair Brownsberger called the meeting to order. Chair Day moved to accept minutes circulated for June 25, 2021 meeting, and motion was seconded by Commissioner Horgan. Roll call taken. Unanimously approved by members present. 

Chair Brownsberger confirmed drafts of the pilot reports on staffing ratios and employee costs were submitted by the Department of Corrections (DOC), Hamden County, Essex County and Bristol County. Commissioner Coppinger asked for a short window of time so facilities could review their reports for accuracy and security concerns. Commissioner Coppinger and Chair Brownsberger proposed August 1st as a due date for final reports. At that point in time, the reports will be posted publicly on the Commission’s website. Commission members agreed.

Commissioners Joy and Forman provided an update on the staffing ratio and employee costs analysis. They have created an Excel matrix compiling data points relative to their charge. Commissioners Joy and Forman will use information already provided by the Comptroller’s Office to fill in as much data as possible. They will reach out to facilities’ CFOs to review the matrix for missing data and any commentary that may be useful. The Commission is expecting completion and distribution by July 23rd. The Commission will review said matrix at the next meeting.  

Carrie Hill provided an update on data collection for spending on mental health and substance use disorder. The matrix is being analyzed by the subcommittee with help from professional researchers.

Chair Brownsberger asked for an update on the review of discretionary programming. Carrie Hill shared the subcommittee had agreed to break down discretionary spending into three areas: community-based reinvestments, training and professional development and strategic partner collaborations. Commissioner Coppinger provided examples of the kinds of spending that would be attributed to each area. Sheriffs and CFOs will provide programming estimates broken down by area.  Carrie Hill will complete additional inventory.

Chair Brownsberger asked for an update on asset inventory. Carrie Hill, speaking for Commissioner Preston, shared the sheriffs’ offices and DOC are collecting all necessary information. Carrie Hill expects the report to be completed by early August.

The Commission also expects the review of funding sources and expense breakdowns to be completed by early August.

The Substance Use, Mental Health, and Discretionary Spending Subcommittee then provided an update. Commissioner Dolan reported that the subcommittee has received a large amount of data from the Substance Use and Mental Health Matrix and is in the process of organizing and refining it. The subcommittee will continue to process the data as it comes in so they can engage the sheriffs in well-engaged dialogue when the time comes.  

Chair Brownsberger encouraged Commissioners continue their work outside of meetings. Chair Brownsberger proposed the Commission next meet on Monday, August 9th, 2021, at 10AM. Commission members agreed.

Chair Brownsberger entertained a motion to adjourn the meeting. Chair Day so moved, motion was seconded, and it was unanimously approved.

The Commission will next meet on Monday, August 9, 2021, at 10AM.