Clarksburg Citizens and Business Advisory Group
March 20, 2001
Bina Allgood, Mark Bonanno, Sgt. Jim Daly, Robert Green, Nancy Hislop, Steve Howie, Cathy Jewell, Loretta McClintock, Teresa Noone, Tom Odt, Terry Reister, Guy Ruffner, Bruce Sherman, Susan Singer-Bart, Art Wallenstein,
Art introduced Nancy Hislop from the Up-County Regional Center . Since Cathy Matthews is now head of the Up-County Regional Center , Nancy has taken her place as the representative to our community meetings.
CONTACTING THE SCHOOLS
After previously inviting the local schools (Clarksburg Elementary and Rocky Hill Middle Schools) to have a representative attend our community meeting, Art asked that Nancy extend an invitation to the school representatives to attend our meetings. Terry will also try to make contact with the principals of the schools to encourage them to attend. Attending the community meetings would help to ease some of their concerns reference the new jail proximity. Guy can meet with them initially to bring them up to date and give them a tour.
In Sandra’s absence Guy gave the construction report. He reported that construction is 75% complete. They are working on the last three phases, #6, (Northhousing-Female Unit, Segregation Area and the Mental Health Unit), #7 (Warehouse), and #8 (Receiving and Discharge). Rob reported that the last modular unit was set yesterday. Photographs were passed around. Another site visit could be arranged at one of our meetings coming up in the spring.
Loretta presented her plans for a forum which would identify the volunteer areas and needs. The plan would involve meeting with the up-county community to generate citizen involvement, awareness and education. This would hopefully get a broad response to the volunteer issues. Loretta’s pastor has agreed to let the group use the parish hall for a meeting place. She has talked with many county, faith- based community groups and agencies who are anxious to participate in the forum. The idea of the forum would be an evening of presentations by correctional staff, an ex-offender, or the volunteer coordinator. The public would be invited to come to listen, encourage, support or ask questions. The end product of the forum would be to generate a database of volunteers from the up-county area, which would ultimately be a corrections list to draw from. With the new jail becoming very visible the local community, they could see how they could participate and support the project. Art stated that corrections would speak at any church or community group upon request.
Rob spoke of Volunteer Appreciation Month in April. The Department takes this opportunity to invite all its volunteers to a banquet in appreciation of their work. He invited several community members who are anticipating volunteering to attend this banquet. It would be a good opportunity to see what programs are already in place and meet with current volunteers. When the banquet is scheduled an e-mail will be sent out to the CBAG members.
Steve suggested that there is a need for a list of churches and organizations in a five-mile radius. Nancy spoke of having this list (from Park and Planning) and would share it with Loretta as well as bring it to the next meeting. Terry volunteered to write letters if needed.
Alcohol Anonymous AND Narcotics Anonymous Programs
Teresa had questions concerning the current volunteer for AA and NA programs at the jail. Will they be interested in acting as liaison to the up county community to establish local groups? The important element is not only jail-based programs, but also community programs. When an inmate is released from jail he will have a local community program in his area to continue his recovery. Loretta commented that AA and NA regional coordinators would be invited to the forum. We need to make sure these services are available up county. It will be the job of the Volunteer Coordinator to coordinate between the volunteers working at the jail and community programs.
What is the up-date on the Volunteer Coordinator position. The application process is proceeding slowly. We hope to be interviewing soon.
The transportation/visiting survey is still in process. Guy reviewed it recently and reported that it is showing the same percentages for bus riders as the first survey (last summer). Since March 4th there were 1,038 visits. Out of that 105 used the bus, 22 used a taxi, and 911 used their personal vehicle. It has to be completed before a chart could be formulated. The results should be complete by the next meeting. Guy will have a statistical analysis at that time.
Rob presented his idea of Video Visitation. This is technology that would allow visitors to visit with the inmate via video conferencing if, for some reason, the inmate is not at that location. It is hoped that two each would be installed at MCDC and MCCF. Video Visitation could be used if a visitor could not make arrangements to travel to Clarksburg. This is not to replace actual visits at either location.
MCDC’s population is reportedly up to 801. It has not been this high in quite some time. Even though crime is reported to be down the population continues to increase. This could be due to many factors (a toughening of the courts, slowness in moving cases to resolution, or response to DWIs). We do not know why the MCDC count is up. The jail population is affected by weekend sentences. The department is working with the courts to try and move them off of weekend sentences. There will be no weekend sentenced inmates housed at Clarksburg (only at MCDC).
FAITH-BASED SOCIAL SERVICES
There was discussion on the article handed out; “White House Office to Boost Faith-Based Social Services.” The President recently signed two executive orders implementing a new faith-based and community initiative. Steve asked what effect this might have on the local community? The Administration is making this a major element, which is still in the development stage. This would make more faith-based communities eligible for grants. As the President’s initiative reports, the government can’t do it all, there is a need to get the faith-based communities involved.
Terry spoke of female offenders who are mothers being very concerned about their children. He suggested the idea of a camp for the children of these mothers. Art said that there are many inner city programs that already exist, for not only kids who have a parent in jail, but for kids who have a range of difficulties. A needs assessment survey for female offenders is scheduled to be completed by the Health Department in the near future. This would help with the linkage issue in jails today which is important if we are going to be responsive to the local communities. As soon as the survey is published we will see that CBAG members get a copy.
Teresa spoke of a mentor program (discussed at a previous meeting). Doesn’t the county provide a contact for the released inmate to see if they are utilizing needed county programs? Art explained that there are no county programs to do follow-up once the inmate leaves the jail. The mentor program should be a citizen-based/faith-based program where the inmate lives. Many inmates are put on probation, but the probation officer’s caseloads are extremely high. Rob spoke of supervised and unsupervised probation. The difference between the two probations is that they have to report regularly to a probation officer. Art suggested inviting a State Probation Officer who focuses on county releases to address the group at our next meeting. They could answer questions and explain what county probation is like.
NEXT MEETING –APRIL 17, 2001 at 7:00 PM