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State: New Classification For Prisoners & More Officers.

1840 Views 11 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  GateKeeper
State eyes new classification for prisoners, more officers.
By Amy Lambiaso, State House News Service - March 02, 2005

The state is planning major changes to its corrections system that could mean hundreds of new corrections officers, a new classification system for inmates, and an independent inspector general to oversee operations, Public Safety Secretary Edward Flynn said yesterday.

Flynn said the appointed advisory council formed last year to implement recommendations to the corrections system is prepared to propose sweeping changes this year that focus on improving the ''negative aspects of the internal climate" in prisons and jails in Massachusetts.

''Overwhelmingly, the majority of the recommendations you're going to see movement on," he said in an interview. The council, headed by former attorney general Scott Harshbarger, must submit a report by September.

The Governor's Commission on Corrections Reform highlighted the system's shortcomings, punctuated by the August 2003 murder of defrocked priest John Geoghan, Flynn said. Most significantly, the report recognized staffing shortages and classification problems that resulted in insufficient oversight and procedural flaws.

Flynn said the administration intends to roll out a new classification system for inmates within the next few months. According to the commission's report, Geoghan, a Level 4 prisoner, should not have been transferred to Souza-Baranowski, the Level 6 higher security facility where he was killed. The classification appeals process ''was flawed in its lack of objectivity and thoroughness," the report said.

The recommendations also call for the hiring of an independent inspector general to oversee management of the system and any transfer of inmates, and conduct internal auditing of the facilities. The state is also looking to hire ''a couple hundred" more corrections officers during the next few years.

''Any time anything happens in corrections, people assume it's because of a lack of officers," Flynn said. In actuality, he said, Massachusetts has the second best ratio of staff-to-inmates in the nation, although the total number of officers is less than it was five years ago.

According to a report released Monday by the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston, the state increased its spending on corrections by 23 percent between 1994 and 2003, while the number of inmates declined by 7 percent from 10,644 to 9,886 during that time period. The result has been higher-paid officers and a 1:2 ratio of staff-to-inmates, the report said.

Asked why the state plans to add officers given the staffing ratio, Flynn's spokeswoman, Katie Ford, said that in part, the state needed to fill open positions that are ''critical to the operations at DOC."
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DVET1979";p="58325 said:
Anyway isn't it true that the only reason they are having another Corrections Officer test
this year is because they couldn't get enough qualified applicants last year?
I think you are on target DVET.
From what I gather from some of the State guys here, a lot of
candidates flunk on the urinalysis and also on the PAT.
I also heard on another LE board (unconfirmed), they have less than 400
applicants signed up to take the MA DOC CO Exam in 2 weeks....
If that is at all true, that doesn't lend itself to a wealth of available talent.
(Present company excluded of course...) :wink:
Especially if the State is Looking to Augment the Current Force With Several Hundred Recruits. I smell another exam (bye bye $65.00) in a year or so.
BOSSMAN";p="58370 said:
The DOC has approximately 1500 signed up for the next test... ....The state is going to try and run 2 tests a year to keep interest.
BOSSMAN - if that is the case, and you do happen to fail the PAT on the first go around, can take the next exam, and if you score high enough, start the process all over again? Will your prior failing of the PAT be held against you in the next round of testing?
DVET1979";p="58370 said:
What exactly are the PAT requirments for Corrections Officer's?
DVET - From the DOC List of Policies:
19 ½-29 38 REPS 29 REPS 12:51
30-39 35 REPS 24 REPS 13:36
40-49 29 REPS 18 REPS 14:29
50-50+ 24 REPS 13 REPS 15:26
19 ½-29 32 REPS 23 REPS 15:26
30-39 25 REPS 19 REPS 15:57
40-49 20 REPS 13 REPS 16:58
50-50+ 14 REPS 12 REPS 17:55
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