LIBRARY ADVISORY COMMITTEE
Bill Campbell, chairman of the Library Advisory Committee, was invited to speak to the MCCFCAG to discuss what the Library Advisory Committee is doing for the department.
Each library in the County has an Advisory Committee (people from the service area). Since the inmates can not serve, the DOCR committee is made up of citizens from the entire County. Corrections and the Library Department have a Memorandum of Understanding. The committee is working to get this revised.
The budget for the DOCR Library used to be totally under the Library Department. In 1992 the County Council decided that the staffing should be under the Department of Corrections and all other aspects would fall under the Library Department. The staffing at this time is only one fulltime Librarian. The Library Advisory Committee believes this is inappropriate. A survey was conducted of the various correctional facilities in the area on the number of paid Librarians per bed. MCCF has the lowest ratio. A second Librarian is needed at MCCF.
The MCCF Librarian has to perform all the typical librarian duties, plus training inmate workers, be concerned with custody and security issues, and the Law Library.
The Library Advisory Committee has met with the County Council and attended the meeting of the Public Safety Committee. They have agreed to put an additional staff person for the MCCF Library on the "wish list."
After reviewing the County budget, Mr. Campbell saw that the inmate coinless telephone system has a commission. It was figured that a Librarian (Library Associate with a college degree) would cost, with benefits, under $60,000.00. With the serious budget situation, it was suggested that this additional person for the Library be paid for using the inmate coinless telephone commission.
The council will vote on the final budget sometime in May. Mr. Campbell encouraged the MCCFCAG members to write to their council members in favor of an additional staff person for the MCCF Library, using the inmate coinless telephone commission.
VOLUNTEERISM AT THE LIBRARY
Rob stated that the MCCF Library is in need of volunteers. One scenario he suggested was for the churches in the area to adopt the Library for one day a week. Volunteers would do anything from sorting books to running a reading group. Volunteers are just part of the solution in the help that is needed at the MCCF Library.
Pastor Warner asked if there was any statistics that link library staff to success in re-entry. There was nothing that Mr. Campbell was aware of. He will speak to Joan Deacon, MCCF Librarian, to see if she has any information.
Pastor Warner spoke of a group called Action in Montgomery. This is a group of social organizers, churches, etc. that act on social justice issues, making the County accountable. He will make some calls to see if this group could be of some help with the Library additional staff.
There are three major organizations of standards in corrections; National Commission on Correctional Health Care, the American Correctional Association and the Maryland Commission on Standards. Two months ago we passed at 100% the National Commission on Correctional Health Care. We were eight months in full operation. Three weeks ago we were reviewed by the American Correctional Association, the foremost accreditation group for corrections in the country. They reviewed every detail of how we do business. We passed with 100% of the mandatory standards and 98% of the non-mandatory standards. We were 10 months in full operation. We will be reviewed by the Maryland Commission on Standards in June.
Rob passed out the first Volunteer Newsletter, as well as, a copy of the invitation letter that went to all MCCF volunteers inviting them to the National Volunteer Appreciation Week reception/dedication. In past years, MCCF had a Volunteer Appreciation Banquet. Because of the high cost of this banquet, it was decided that a volunteer will be named quarterly as the "Shining Star." A plaque will be put on the wall of the MCCF lobby along with the recipient's picture. The reception was held April 28th in the lobby to give thanks to all our volunteers for all that they do.
The first Quarterly Volunteer Forum was held April 1. This is the new group established for all MCCF volunteers to meet to share resources with one another.
NATIONAL CORRECTIONAL EMPLOYEES WEEK
In May there will be the annual awards ceremony for Correctional Employees Week to honor all the hard working people who work in corrections. It will be held at the Public Service Training Academy. When Mr. Wallenstein announces the date for the awards ceremony, Rob will send invitations to the MCCFCAG participating members to attend as guests to join in congratulating the honored correctional staff. (Event rescheduled for July 14, 2004).
MCCF has been gathering our first year population trends statistics. We will look at what's going on in our population and what our needs are. All the management staff are reviewing every single element of our operation. There has been a slow rising trend in the ADP (average daily population). The issues contributing to this rise will be studied. After reviewing all the population data, the report with our conclusions will be shared with the community group when completed.
The MCCF Model Learning Center Manager has reported that when she is testing inmates for the ESOL program it has been determined that there are a number of Latino/Hispanic inmates that we are trying to teach English who are illiterate in their native language. It is very hard to learn a new language when there are difficulties with their native language. She would like to revert some of the ESOL efforts towards teaching Latino/Hispanic inmates reading and writing in their native language.
Rob asked for volunteers to teach reading and writing literacy classes. Materials will be purchased based on the ESOL program. Agnes Saenz stated that she has seen better success when teaching Spanish and English together. She will share the materials that the Community Ministries has used and make some calls for volunteers. Pastor Warner will speak to other United Methodist Hispanic churches to see if anyone would like to volunteer as well.
MCCF will be concentrating on getting more services for our veteran population. There are veterans being released that are not getting their medical entitlements (health care, mental health care, medication).
MCCF has lost no security, counseling, mental health, or education staff. The County Council has been very supportive of our mission and goals. They commended us on our community networking and how we are staying involved with our stakeholders. We are committed to 100 beds for federal inmates to make our revenue requirement. We will continue to keep the community group informed during the budget process. (Budget update from Mr. Wallenstein).
Corrections came out of the State legislation almost completely unscathed. We did not lose any money that the State gives to local prisoner populations. Although the Crownsville State Mental Hospital will be closing, the State has assured us that there will be sufficient mental health beds.
MENTAL HEALTH ASSOCIATION
Antoinette Kelley passed out material on Advocacy Priorities concerning MHA and what they are doing.
Vicky Dorworth reported that she has met with the Montgomery College faculty and has made a recommendation. Hopefully, at our next meeting she will have some articulation on whether Montgomery College can give credit for some basic and in-service training.
Rob reminded the group that we have a "job shop" at MCCF. Trained inmate workers in the job shop can do small jobs for a lot less expense or for non-profit organizations. If anyone needs envelops stuffed, printing, mail binding, CD copying, etc, please call him.
Attendance has increased at the last few meetings for this community group. We would still like to have attendees from Boyds Civic Association, Montgomery County Public Schools, and NAACP. Hopefully we can get a quorum to vote on the group's by-laws at our next meeting.