Our next focus is programs. Rob will see that the flow of communication is kept open with our Volunteer Coordinator. There will be a Volunteer Orientation this weekend (49 people are scheduled to attend). We’re trying to fill the void of the part-time Library Assistant with volunteers. This is more difficult sometimes than recruiting for faith based and substance abuse volunteers. We’ve expanded our AA meetings to 28 meetings a month. Loretta asked for the breakdown of male and female participants in NA and AA. Rob’s figures did not break it down into male and female. Is the Spanish AA program up and running? He will try to get these figures by our next meeting.
Steve asked if the volunteers coming this weekend for orientation were local community members. Rob stated that there was quite a few local volunteers, but did not have their exact community locations. In our initial volunteer orientations approximately 70% were continuing at MCCF who were volunteers at MCDC (previously volunteering). We are trying to bring as much service to the pods as possible, as well as providing recreation and leisure time. How do we get enough volunteers and enough services to be able to continue to put volunteers into the pods to deliver programs? This is being done very well in six of the general population pods, but in the medium-max population pods it is not as successful. We are trying to do what the inmates want, but are listening to the volunteers as to how they feel about going into this environment. Should the groups be broken down into smaller groups? Should there be additional staff support? Out of an average daily population of 621 inmates there are approximately 500 inmates in some type of program. There is so much happening that inmates are having trouble choosing which programs will be most beneficial to them.
The Inmate Council is up and running. The Inmate Council is a group of inmates from each of the living areas who vote on issues that they want to fund. The Inmate Council has limited control over the commissary funds and it takes two signatures to approve the dispensing of inmate money (money that is made from the sale of commissary items). The money is utilized to benefit all inmates. They meet monthly, have by-laws and keep very detailed minutes. A few things that they voted on this year were to fund two additional Life Skills classes, books for the MRT program, cable TV, the volunteer banquet, and Christmas gifts for the children of inmates. With the Inmate Council as it is set up, the inmates do have some responsibility and input into their living environment.
Steve asked when the County budget would be approved. Rob stated that the County Council has to vote on the budget by June 21.
KINGSLEY WILDERNESS SCHOOL
They have received occupancy and expect to begin teaching with next year’s school term in August. They have not moved in as yet.