Clarksburg Citizens and Business Advisory Group
Monthly Meeting

July 17,  2001 

Bina Allgood, Elisabeth Fetting, Robert Green, Vonda Henley, Steve Howie, Suzy Malagari, Loretta McClintock, Phyllis Morrougiello, Teresa Noone, Bill Novak, Brian Roynstad, Guy Ruffner, Dale Ryan, Brent Simmons, Susan Singer-Bart, Art Wallenstein, John Williams

Construction Report
Bill Novak was introduced as the new Project Manager for MCCF.  Construction is proceeding as scheduled.  Crews are currently working on finishing up interior partition work in the North Housing area.  They are setting up additional masonry crews to complete the exterior cladding in the West Housing Unit (the cladding on the main building is complete).  All the security systems have to be installed.  The final landscaping is also being completed.  The last of the paving will be finished soon.

Loretta asked the question if there would be an area for the volunteers to store their belongings.  It is encouraged that the volunteers keep personal items in their vehicle.  The new Program Manager Volunteer Coordinator (PMVC) will inform volunteers about all departmental procedures.

Program Volunteer Coordinator 
Vonda Henley, the new Program Manager Volunteer Coordinator was introduced.  She has been with the department approximately 8 and a half years, and has a training background.  She is looking forward to meeting with anyone who would like to discuss his or her ideas in programming.  Vonda's new office will be at the Transition house sometime in September.  She is also available to speak to various groups or organizations.

Site Visit
A planned CBAG group site tour is planned for November.  November 13, 2001 was the date suggested at our last meeting (second Tuesday in November due to Thanksgiving).  If there is a scheduling problem the members could contact Guy Ruffner for a tour.

Transition Report
From an operational prospective, construction and the Transition Team are on schedule.  Procurement issues are well under way to ensure all furnishings, equipment and supplies are received on time.  Rob requested input from the community concerning available warehouse space in Clarksburg .  Critical items could be delivered and stored locally well in advance in preparation for installation into the new building.  Dale suggested the old Clarksburg Post Office.  Rob will contact the postmaster (Dan Albert) concerning the availability of this building.

Staffing/recruitment is going very well.  Over half of the staff have been trained in Direct Supervision (the eighth training session is starting next week).  Direct Supervision is a new concept where the officer actually operates inside the housing pod and is not shielded by bars, glass or a control center.

Guy reported that Policy and Procedures are continuing to be written and reviewed.  The Team has researched and had demonstrations from many vendors of identification systems (e.g., an Iris Scan I.D. system).  The Team is also busy with giving tours daily to current staff.  Several of the local television stations have been to the construction site for video, as well as interviews about MCCF.  Guy provided current photographs of the construction site for the members.

Simulated Incarceration
Doug Duncan has approved a simulated incarceration for citizens to sleep overnight at the new facility (January 2002) before the inmates are transported.  There will be a new position added September 1 to the Transition Team to coordinate all the planning for this event.  Since the simulated incarceration is in January, Art stated that shuttle buses could transport people from Rockville .  It is anticipated that there will be approximately 250 citizens staying overnight in single cells.  No youth will be allowed to participate.

MCDC Re-Use Plan  
Art gave an update on the MCDC Re-Use Plan.  There have been several public discussions and presentations in the Rockville community.  The Rockville community is very clear about having no inmate releases in Clarksburg.  Policy will remain the same (releases will continue from MCDC) Doug Duncan will decide how he will prioritize the MCDC Re-Use project in competition with other capital projects such as the school system.  Once decided it will take approximately three years to complete.  Our commitment to the Rockville community is that MCDC will not be expanded; the core will stay the same, not to exceed 200 inmates average daily population.  The high-rise will be torn down and the modular will remain.  The Rockville citizens group (to be established in the near future) is being encouraged to actively participate in this project and is now receiving the CBAG minutes, etc.

Community Involvement
Steve shared information about the upcoming 250th Anniversary of Clarksburg.  Anyone who would like to become involved in this project is welcome.  The Department of Correction is actively looking for things to become involved in in the Clarksburg community.

Daily Average Population
Art spoke of the department's increased inmate population (more individuals in home detention, pre-trial supervision, work release, and the detention center).  This is due to the courts having toughened up by increasing the length of stay, not due to an increase in crime.

Mental Health
The county is trying to confront the increasing mental health population with the Behavioral Health Initiative (mental health, substance abuse, and co-occurring disorders).  The Crisis Intervention Unit at the Police Department is on its way to getting started.  Joan Logan is head of this unit and doing a great job.  Dr. Pete Luongo of Health and Human Resources is head of the Behavioral Health Initiative.  The county's resources/agencies (police, crisis center, mobile crisis unit, jail assessment unit, jail medical, and re-entry) meet regularly.  Art suggested that Dr. Luongo and/or Joan Logan could be scheduled to speak to this group in the fall.

Teresa asked the question what the age group is of juveniles incarcerated at MCDC.  Art stated that in the adult correctional system in Maryland we hold no juveniles except those who are mandated to be handled as adults (in the eyes of the law).  Rob stated that juveniles are inmates under the age of 18.  They are involved in the MRT (Moral Recognition Therapy) program while they are at MCDC.

Women's Needs Assessment
Loretta asked for some background on the Health and Human Services meeting (July 23, 2001, from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., at the EOB Auditorium) which members were recently invited to.  HHS will present the results of the needs assessment report for women offenders.  The report will be handed out at that time.  This is the beginning of program development based on real data.  The hope is that from this report ideas will be formed that could be funded for additional programs for our women offenders.

As discussed last month, Loretta noted that the public forum is scheduled for November 8 (the time will be announced).  Art has been asked to be on the forum.  It would be an opportunity to have public discussion on the new philosophy about bringing the community/neighborhood into the jail.  Vonda would be asked to be on the forum as a way to identify specific programs that volunteers can help with, both in and out of the jail.  An ex-offender, Kimberly Haven will be on the forum also.  She is anxious to give her thoughts on how important it is to have volunteer groups come into the jail.

Dale asked if there would be signage on Rt. 270 identifying that MCCF is at the Clarksburg exit.  Well make some connections with the Transportation Department and try to have an answer by our next meeting.  Are there requirements for this?  Steve will check history for a possible answer.

Information Hotline
Art encouraged all the members to call or email one of the Transition Team, Vonda, Rob, or himself with any question or issue he or she might have, especially now that the facility is getting close to completion.  We could put the question out to everyone through email.