PRRS Chief's Report

February 19, 2009 to May 21, 2009


  • MCCS Audit (April 1-3): The Maryland Commission on Correctional Standards conducted their triennial audit of PRRS and found the program in compliance with 74 of 76 state standards. PRRS will have six months to demonstrate that it has addressed the two medical standards in which the auditors found deficiencies. They involve maintaining accurate records of the distribution of syringes and certain controlled medications. The Division already has introduced new practices that remediate the deficiencies by requiring each of the four living units to issue a daily report which confirms the accuracy of the medication and syringe inventories. The auditors were complimentary of the Division's preparation for the audit, the professionalism of the staff, the cleanliness of the building, and its rapid response to issues that came up during the audit. They noted that none of the residents that they interviewed had any complaints about the program and instead spoke appreciatively of the staff and the services that they were receiving. Division Chief Stefan LoBuglio and Assessment Manager Teresa Still will attend the MCCS meeting on May 28 at which the auditors' findings will be officially presented to the MCCS board. A representative of the audit team will visit PRRS in October to confirm that the newly introduced PRRS practices are sufficient to bring the Division into compliance with the two medical standards.
  • New Co-Chairs for Community Advisory Committee (May 21): Dr. Diane Scott-Jones and Mr. Thomas M. DeGonia, II Esq. accepted Co-Chair positions of the CAC at the behest of a selection subcommittee. To ensure future continuity of CAC leadership, Diane will serve a two-year renewable term and Tom will serve a one-year renewable term. Tom DeGonia is currently a legal associate with the Venable LLP and came to know PRRS well during his eight-year tenure with the State Attorney's Office. Diane is a Development Psychologist in private practice with a distinguished scholarly background. She was a tenured professor at Boston College (2000-2007), Temple University (1991-2001), and the University of Illinois (1987-1992). She has been an active participant in our Community Advisory Committee meetings for over a year. With their appointments, PRRS also recognizes the tremendous nine years of service of former Chair John Lavigne who has indicated that he will continue to serve on the CAC.
  • FY10 Budget Reduction Plans: PRRS will lose four positions as a result of the County-wide reduction plan. Two of the positions are supervisory positions, called Community Release Coordinators, and play an important role in many aspects of our operation from work release, disciplinary processes, and interfacing with outside agencies. The employees currently occupying these positions will have opportunities to continue to work for the Department in other Divisions if they so choose. The other two positions were vacant and included an Office Service Coordinator and a Public Safety Intern. The duties of all of these positions will be reassigned as best as possible to remaining staff members. In addition to the position cuts, PRRS also will reduce overtime in FY10 by $222,000.
  • Manhattan Institute Research Report (May 19): Dr. Anne Piehl of Rutgers University was the author of a favorable report on PRRS that was released nationally by the Institute's Center for Civic Innovation. Titled "Preparing Prisoners for Employment: The Power of Small Rewards," Dr. Piehl describes how the structure and operating practices of PRRS are well aligned with evidenced-based practices, and that the program proves cost effective and benefits public safety. Several newspapers including the Washington Post and the Baltimore Sun wrote favorable articles about the report and PRRS.
  • DOCR Annual Awards Program (May 7): County Executive Isiah Leggett, President of the County Council Phil Andrews, and MCGEO President Gino Renne provided opening remarks at this festive event which recognizes the exceptional achievements of DOCR staff in each of the five divisions. The keynote speech was delivered by the Executive Director of the American Jail Association Gwen Smith-CIngley. PRRS staff awardees were: Screener Tina Michaels who received the Division Employee of the Year Award for her many contributions to the program in 2008; Resident Supervisors Andrea Baker and Goldsborough Sterling who received an Outstanding Performance Award for the development of the Believe Achieve Succeed and Excel Program that brings back successful ex-PRRS residents to speak with current residents; Resident Supervisor Carmen Polanco who received an Outstanding Performance Award for revamping the facility's key, lock, and control systems; Lisa Huang who received an Outstanding Performance award as a volunteer in PRC's Career Resource Center; and MCCF Deputy Warden Harry Vaughn and Department of General Services Director Louis Baker who received appreciation awards for assisting PRRS through the ACA audit in October 2008.
  • Strategic Planning (May 6): PRRS kicked off a 5-month strategic planning process that aims to define a vision for the program 3-5 years in the future. Facilitated by a Core Planning Committee of 16 staff members from all levels of the organization and assisted by Organizational Consultant Brenda Jones, the process involves researching and assessing the program's current strengths, interviewing stakeholders, and examining best practices in community corrections. In early July, PRRS will hold an all-hands staff meeting over several days to review a rough draft of a strategic plan. For the rest of the summer, the Core Planning Committee will work to finalize the plan and present a revised plan to staff in September. PRRS seeks to involve CAC members in this planning process.

Program Development:

  • Recidivism Analysis (Ongoing): Justice & Security Strategies released preliminary data on the DOCR recidivism study that they are conducting for the Governor's Office on Crime Control and Prevention. Based on a sample of nearly 600 sentenced individuals released from all Montgomery County correctional facilities in 2003/4, the study reports that 6.5% were arrested for serious charges within one year of release, and 16.1% within three years. However, when looking at all arrests including minor charges, the rates rise significantly to 40.5 % and 65.2% for the comparable time periods. These statistics are comparable to national rates. Also, the data does validate the study's comprehensive methodology which uses local, state, and federal criminal justice data to compute recidivism. The complete study should be complete by the end of June.
  • Labor Manager Relations Committee (May 20): PRRS Senior Managers and Union stewards met for their quarterly meeting to discuss a full agenda of items that aim to improve working conditions and relationships at PRRS.
  • PRC Going Green (May 18th): In conjunction with the green initiatives being proposed at the state, county, and local levels, PRRS introduced an enhanced recycling program that creates a friendly competition between the Pre-Release Center's four units to see who can achieve the highest recycling rates. The winning unit will be rewarded on June 21 with a special meal.
  • Welcome Home (April 30, May 16, 17): Father Michael Bryant and Welcome Home Coordinator Melissa George continue to recruit and train mentors for clients at PRRS. One mentor recently played a critical role in helping find housing for her mentee, and prevented her from falling into homelessness. Overall, mentors for the Welcome Home Reentry Program have spent nearly 860 combined volunteer hours supporting and encouraging their mentees in the months of January, February and March. The program also continues to grow and develop strong relationships with other community and faith-based groups. On April 1, Melissa attended the Interfaith Community Against Domestic Violence's Annual Conference whose keynote speaker was Glenn Ivey, State's Attorney for Prince George's County, MD. Also, Welcome Home will present a workshop on its reentry program for the 2nd Annual Social Concerns Ministry Conference scheduled for June 13th.
  • Wreath Laying Ceremony (May 2): DOCR staff members including several from PRRS participated in the ceremony at the National law Enforcement Memorial in Washington, D.C. This event honors all Corrections staff members who have fallen in the past year (5 in 2008) and remembers all correctional employees who have fallen in Virginia, Washington, DC and Maryland in recorded history.
  • CRIMS Sessions (April/May): The DOCR has contracted with SYSCON to develop and implement a new IT system called CRIMS that will interface with other criminal justice agencies. During the weeks of April and May, PRRS senior staff participated in meetings run by SYSCON staff to review the scope of services and PRRS business practices. CRIMS will be phased into DOCR operations in late 2009/2010.
  • Career Resource Center (May): PRRS has more than doubled the hours that the career resource center is open weekly through the creative use of volunteers and the continued commitment of our Work Release Coordinators. The Center, which won a NACO Achievement Award in 2008, continues to provide vital services to PRRS clients searching for employment. With the downturn in the economy, the value of the Center has increased, and this prompted the effort to significantly increase its hours of operation.
  • Howard University Student Documentary Project (May): Student Zon Dumas filmed interviews with several African-American residents about their views on education attainment in general and for themselves. Her larger purpose was to discern why and when individuals make the decision to either complete or drop-out of high school and to pursue higher education. All the residents participated voluntarily and signed consent forms, and Case Manager Don Meyer oversaw the project. PRRS will receive a copy of the documentary.
  • Federal Judiciary and U.S. Probation Visits (April 28 & 29): PRRS hosted visits from Senior Education Attorney Mark Sherman and U.S. Probation Officers for the Eastern District of Virginia Carolyn Nulf and Sherylle Gant to discuss how PRRS might assist them advance their agencies' reentry efforts. They were specifically interested in the screening and work release processes. PRRS has worked with these agencies and their clients for years, and the visits will lead to closer relationships in the future.
  • CSAFE (April 24): CSAFE Coordinator Mary Kendall from Tacoma Park/International Corridor and private contractor Jennifer Gauthier met with PRRS staff to discuss a new program that they have developed and funded that provides job assistance and support for individuals post-release. PRRS Case Managers were given the program information and will make referrals of PRRS clients.
  • American University's Justice Program (April 15): Fifteen students visited PRRS and received an overview of the program and a discussion of national policy on corrections. This program offers students from around the country a chance to spend a semester in Washington to visit notable criminal justice agencies such as the FBI and Supreme Court. The class is organized by Dr. Beatrix Siman Zakhari, and PRRS has participated annually.
  • Exit Interviews (March 25): Case Manager Kendra Jochum developed a new protocol for conducting exit interviews on soon-to-be released clients at PRRS. She worked in coordination with Unit Managers and Case Managers to develop new forms and procedures that will ensure that PRRS captures valuable information about what staff and services were most helpful during their time on the program. This is one example of new quality control measures to ensure that PRRS services remain effective.
  • Winning Fathers Program Review (March 25): State officials conducted a thorough review of this program that provides parenting skills and supportive family support to PRRS clients and their partners. HHS' Ed Powell and Nathaniel Parker have developed this program from the outset, and it is on track for exceeding its enrollment goals.
  • International Community Correction Association Policy Conference (March 23): PRRS staff participated in several work sessions at this conference held in Washington D.C. related to electronic monitoring and coordinating federal, state, and local reentry efforts.
  • First Annual Meeting on Research on the Economics of Ricky Behaviors (March 20): Division Chief Stefan LoBuglio gave the luncheon talk at this event sponsored by George State University's Andrew Young School of Public Policy and a European funded think tank called DIW DC. Researchers from around the world presented research on topics that explored how individuals' decisions to engage in risky behaviors whether it relates to criminal activity or to employment might be better understood through an economic evaluative lens.
  • Maryland State Division of Correction Meeting (March 12): PRRS hosted a visit from Assistant Commissioner Paul O'Flaherty who is in charge of programs and case management services for the state prison system. The purpose of the meeting was to renegotiate the interagency agreement that contracts PRRS to provide reentry services for up to ten individuals leaving the state prisons system yearly. PRRS was looking for an increase in the per diem rate that had last been negotiated in 2005, and was also looking to include home confinement services in the agreement. Other agenda items included improved procedures to release state inmates on a timely basis, and expediting the transfer for monies for the individual who is transferred to PRRS from the state. In follow-up correspondence, the state explained that the challenging budget situation prevents them from agreeing to significant changes in the current agreement.
  • Federal Bureau of Prison (March 11): FBOP's Community Correction Manager William Cimino and Contract Oversight Specialist Thomas L. Albright visited PRRS and Tom, who has taken over Bill's auditing responsibilities, was introduced to the program and senior staff. He will conduct a full monitoring inspection on July 15th and 16th.
  • Interagency Work Release Coordination Meeting (February 27): DOCR Director Arthur Wallenstein convened a meeting of representatives at the Pre-Release Center for agencies involved in employment assistance for court-involved individuals. Represented agencies included the Division of Workforce Services from the Department of Economic Develop-ment, Drug Court, Outpatient Addiction Services (OAS), State of Maryland Division of Parole and Probation, Montgomery Works, Welcome Home, and MCCF Reentry staff.

Facility Issues

  • Fire Alarm System: The Department of General Services has arranged for contractor EAI to update the Pre-Release Center's fire alarm system with the latest technology in fire sensing and noise and auditory notification. This $174K project began in March and is expected to be completed by the end of summer.
  • Back-up Generator: The Department of General Services is working with DOCR to replace the Pre-Release Center's back-up generator system which failed repeatedly in 2008. Currently, PRRS has a temporary generator attached to the building. The estimated cost of this project is $178K.


  • Case Manager Sylvia Hernandez earned her Masters in Social Work from the University of Maryland, Baltimore Campus, in December 2008 and graduated on May 15th.
  • Principal Administrative Aid Janet Grier graduated from Coppin State University with her Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice & Law Enforcement on May 7th, 2009. She received the highest GPA (4.0) in her major of all the graduating seniors.
  • Resident Supervisor Carlos Mellott graduated from the Offender Workforce Development Specialist Training (OWDS) on April 30th. Carlos and five other classmates wrote a new program called "Seeds to Success - C Core Values Through Community Gardening"  that has been proposed for the PRRS.
  • Work Release Coordinators Angela Talley and Hillel Raskas participated in a DACUM (Developing A Curriculum) process via an internet conference sponsored by the National Institute of Corrections as part of an initiative to train Employment Retention Specialists. Patricia Taylor, former PRC Work Release Coordinator and now a Correctional Program Specialist with NIC, was the organizer of the conference.
  • Resident Supervisor Carmen Polanco attended the Third Annual MARGIN Gang Training conference held in Annapolis. Topics covered new gang trends in VA, MD and DC.
  • Case Manager Nichole Davis graduated May 9 with a Master's Degree in Counseling at the University of the District of Columbia.
  • Unit Manager Stephanie Hall received her Doctorate in Organizational Leadership from the University of Phoenix in September 2008.

RRS Interns:

  • Gary Ku is graduating from the University of Maryland College Park with a bachelor's degree. He is going to continue to work on Unit IV through the summer.
  • Kelie Darbouze is also graduating from the University of Maryland and is headed to the University of Pittsburgh to pursue a graduate degree in social work.
  • Kayi Somado-Hemazro is graduating from the University of Maryland University College and will be continuing her PRRS internship through the summer.
  • Sherri Crowe is graduating from Towson University. Sherri will be an Agent in the Rockville office of Probation and Parole.
  • Brad Evans is graduating from Vincennes University in Indiana. Brad is being married in June and will be resuming his PRRS internship after his honeymoon.

Escapes/Court Hearings:

  • PRRS incurred its first and only escape of 2009 on February 15th when Escapee Erik Howard failed to return to PRC by 11:00 P.M. He returned voluntarily the next morning at 7:00am and was immediately returned to custody. He faces a first degree felony charge of escape.
  • Escapee Joseph Randolph represented himself in a jury trial on March 11, 2009, for his escape on June 11, 2008. PRRS vigorously supported his prosecution and recommended a sentence of seven years. Judge Rubin sentenced Mr. Randolph to eight years in the Maryland Division of Correction (DOC).
  • Terrell Eisbey was sentenced by Judge Louise G. Scrivener on April16th to three years in the State Division of Correction for first degree escape. Mr. Eisbey escaped on October 30, 2008 and was apprehended on November 5, 2008.

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