Performance Measures and the DOC

The Massachusetts Department of Correction Performance Measures Division is a team of three lead by Director Diane Silva. Diane along with Gail Simms, Senior Performance Measures Analyst and Ana Rosas, Performance Measures Coordinator studies and analyzes critical prison incidents so as to improve performance and maximize the safety of staff and inmates. The division collects data for standards relating to public safety, institutional safety, substance abuse, mental health services, justice, academic education, health care and fiscal. The data, once validated by the division, is entered into a nation-wide data base developed by the Association of State Correctional Administrators (ASCA). Data is compiled on nearly 200 key indicators that were nationally determined to be useful across correctional agencies and is used to inform staff so that data driven decisions can be made about critical prison operations.

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Recently, the DOC was recognized by ASCA for achieving “Blue” status. The levels of ASCA participation are color coded with blue being the highest level to be achieved. Massachusetts is one of only eleven states to receive this recognition. This accomplishment was noted in the “Corrections Directions” newsletter. In August, 2016, the Commissioner was presented with a plaque commemorating this milestone.

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While the Performance Measures Division staff collects and analyzes the data, many staff contributes data to the division on a timely basis which has led to the agency going “Blue”. Much appreciation goes to the staff listed below:

Gail Simms– Performance Measures Division

Cara Savelli– Formerly Performance Measures Division

Ana Rosas– Performance Measures Division

Gina Papagiorgakis– Research and Planning

Sue McDonald– Research and Planning

Eve Gaeta -Legal Division

Matthew Moniz– Reentry Services Division

Kelly Paquin – Reentry Services Division

Sue Staves– Division of Inmate Education and Training

Marcia Gannon –Division of Inmate Training and Education

Sue Dionne– Internal Affairs Unit

Ana Alves– Division of Human Resources

Mary Beth Lees– Health Services Division

Rina Filtzer– Boston Pre Release Center

Laurie Cormier– Bridgewater State Hospital

Mark Hobart– Lemuel Shattuck Hospital

Michael Dantuono– Massachusetts Alcohol and Substance Abuse Center

Eugene Benevides– Massachusetts Treatment Center

Haydee Pineda– MCI- Cedar Junction

Mark Smith– MCI- Concord

Tracie Mucciarone– MCI-Framingham

Michelle Ciccketti– MCI- Norfolk

Pam Rogers- MCI- Plymouth

Lorna Schwartz– MCI-Shirley

Luis Melendez– North Central Correctional Institution

Thomas Galvin – Northeastern Correctional Center

Michelle Molinari– Old Colony Correctional Center

Judy Bisio– Pondville Correctional Center

Peter Rice– South Middlesex Correctional Center

Lindsey Brewer– Souza Baranowski Correctional Center

Diane Bartlett – Massachusetts Partnership for Correctional Health (MPCH)

Rebecca Hall– Massachusetts Partnership for Correctional Health (MPCH)

Eileen Pereira– Division of Human Resources

Pat Lesperance– Budget Office

B.S.H. Staffers Meet Their Match During P.R.H.C. Wheelchair Football Game

By James Rioux

November 8th, 2016-Canton

“Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do” ~ Coach John Wooden.bshbasketball

Back Row-Left to Right: Tammy Duarte (MTC), Denise Vega, David Duarte,

Daniel Calis, Robert Blood, Allen Clang

Middle Row-Left to Right: Tina Anthony, David Brouillette, Michael Rosano,

Donald Dufresne, Steve Kennedy

Former basketball player and NCAA coach John Wooden holds the record for most consecutive champions won, at an astounding seven.  But, what is most notable about this coach is not his record but his advice.  Wooden coached with overarching positivity and a “can do” mantra that all coaches, and players strive for. The Pappas Rehabilitation School also subscribes to a similar philosophy, and the Department of Correction is honored to play a small role in putting it into practice.   For nearly a decade the Department of Correction has shared a special bond with the children and staff of the Pappas Rehabilitation Hospital for Children (PRHC), formerly the Massachusetts Hospital School.  There is a healthy competition of “can do” on the courts of the campus where patients of the Hospital compete against Department of Correction staff in various sporting events.  From football to basketball, the players have a connection that is rooted in a genuine interest in building meaningful partnerships outside of their community, sharing their love for friendly competition, and most importantly following the “can do” way of living.

PRHC is a pediatric chronic care hospital for children, adolescents, and young adults ages 8-22.  Their mission is to provide medical, rehabilitative, educational, recreational, transitional, and complementary alternative medical services to children and young adults with multiple disabilities, assisting them to achieve their optimal level of independence in all aspects of life.  The games are an integral part of the independence of the children.  It is often said “sports do not build character, they reveal it”.  This can be seen firsthand at PRHC.

Superintendent Daniel Calis who has been volunteering at the school since the games were first established, states that this community outreach initiative has grown into a competitive but friendly rivalry between our two agencies.  Calis states he feels “fortunate to have been given the opportunity to be a part of such an amazing experience.  There is a brotherhood and camaraderie between the players that cannot be described.   It’s a really special thing.” Through the years, Superintendent Calis and his staff have competed in different types of wheelchair sporting events including football, basketball, and hockey.

Brian, 21, who has been a student at the school for many years and is living with Cerebral Palsy (CP), a disorder that affects muscle tone, movement, and motor skills states he looks forward to the competitive matchups with the DOC.  In the wheelchair football game held at the school on Tuesday, November 8th, Brian played on both sides of the ball (offense and defense) making key stops on the court and scoring a touchdown in the 35-35 tie.  Brian, like his classmates, is an excellent example of persistence and overcoming adversity- Brian has the can do attitude.

Brian Devin, PRHC CEO describes the partnership with the DOC as significant in the lives of these children, noting how the kids “light up” when they see members of a correctional agency challenge them on their home court.  Devin can see the impact that sporting events and feeling like a part of team does for his students.  “Every child wants to be part of team, to compete, to be a player at some point.  These games give the kids that chance.” He extends his appreciation to the DOC for playing such a vital role in his students’ lives and for participating in the experiences that reveal their “can do” potential.

If you are a parent or guardian of a disabled child, adolescent, or young adult and are interested in learning more about the services PRHC can provide, Mr. Devin invites you to call him directly at 781-830-8427.  You can also find PRHC on the web at www.mhsf.us.  If you are employed by the DOC and would like to participate at an upcoming PRHC event or would like to learn more information about the PRHC, contact Tina Anthony at 508-279-4511.  If you would like to make a donation to the school checks can be made payable to MHSF at the Pappas Rehabilitation Hospital for Children 3 Randolph St. Canton, MA 02021.  The PRHC also accepts donations of prom clothing for their annual prom.  Donations can be dropped off at the above address.

BSH Companion Program

By James Rioux

Companion

An Inmate Companion provides guidance to a visually impaired patient during NAMI walk

Over the past few years a select group of inmate workers incarcerated at Bridgewater State Hospital (BSH) have volunteered their time to provide companionship and support to civilly committed patients.

The ‘Companion Program’ was first developed by former BSH Deputy Superintendent of Patient Services and current Superintendent of MCI Pondville Pamela MacEachern, based on a compelling need to assist those patients who continued to experience difficulty meeting their individual treatment goals despite receiving increased clinical support.  Treatment goals consist of improving personal hygiene, improving social and communication skills, increasing attendance in therapy, program, recreation, and leisure activities.

Inmate Companions are carefully screened by a multidisciplinary team of professionals which include the Deputy of Patient Services, IPS Team, Unit Psychologist, and Chaplain.  When approved, companions participate in a comprehensive training program where they will learn how to effectively communicate with patients living with mental illness and will learn how to maintain appropriate boundaries.  Inmate Companions also receive weekly supervision and support from clinical and security staff.  Although Inmate Companions do not provide any clinical services or treatment they do play a significant role in providing patients with the skills needed to tolerate and thrive in less secure settings i.e. minimum security housing units, traditional penal facilities, and facilities managed by the Department of Mental Health.

Patients and their Inmate Companions can frequently be seen exercising in the gymnasium, listening to music in the clubhouse, or reading in the library.  Inmate Companions also facilitate smaller groups for patients including: Music, Arts & Crafts, Bingo, and Horticulture.   Of the fourteen inmates who are currently enrolled in the Companion program, ten are serving either 1st or 2nd degree life sentences.  Although there may have been some apprehension in allowing ‘lifers’ to assist patients at BSH in the early going, Denise McDonough, Deputy Superintendent of Patient Services for BSH states, “the Companion Program has provided them opportunities to contribute to the hospital community and community at large in a positive and meaningful way.  For instance, one of the patients who has required maximum security housing placement since his commitment to BSH several years ago due to his assaultive history, is now socializing more with others and participating in off unit recreational and leisure activities without incident.   His progress can only be attributed to the combined efforts of security and clinical staff and to our inmate companions,” McDonough explained.

Since BSH staff has developed individualized de-escalation plans for each patient, re-purposed areas to create therapeutic environments on each unit called Quiet Rooms and Comfort Rooms, and formalized the supportive role of inmates via the Companion Program, BSH has become a safer more stabilizing environment for patients in need of enhanced clinical services and support.

Drugs recovered from cell after suspicious behavior was noted during a visit

On May 24, 2016

MCI-Concord Inner Perimeter Security team conducted a search of an inmate’s  cell after suspicious behavior was noted during his visit the night prior. The search resulted in 205 Suboxone strips being recovered from inside a peanut butter jar.  These types of recoveries are made weekly in our state prisons.  Security staff work diligently to keep our prisons safe.

Huntington’s Disease and Patient Care

by James Rioux, Director of Classification and Treatment

On Wednesday, March 9th a multidisciplinary team of professionals at Bridgewater State Hospital took part in a thoughtful, educational and enlightening discussion about Huntington’s Disease (HD).  Allison Howland, who is employed by Massachusetts Partnership for Correctional Health (MPCH) as a Mental Health professional in one of the maximum security units of the hospital coordinated this discussion to facilitate education and awareness around this often unfamiliar disease.  She invited Jim Pollard, a national expert on HD, and well-known patient advocate to speak. Howland works directly with a patient who is afflicted with HD and mental illness.  She states that she was determined to gain more knowledge of the disease and educate staff on how to better assist her patient and other patients who may develop HD in the future.  Although Howland’s main role is to help patients understand the legal process, educate them about their mental illness, and help them to engage in treatment, she admits that managing someone with HD presents a set of unique challenges which require the support of correctional and medical staff.

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Mr. Pollard educated staff on the cause, symptoms, and stages of Huntington’s Disease.  According to the Huntington’s Disease Society of America, Huntington’s Disease (HD) is a fatal genetic disorder that causes the progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain. It deteriorates a person’s physical and mental abilities during their prime working years and has no cure. HD is known as the quintessential family disease because every child of a parent with HD has a 50/50 chance of carrying the faulty gene. Today, there are approximately 30,000 symptomatic Americans and more than 200,000 at-risk of inheriting the disease. The rate of disease progression and the age at onset vary from person to person. Adult-onset HD, with its disabling, uncontrolled movements, most often begins in middle age. Some individuals develop symptoms of HD when they are very young, even before the age of twenty.

During the discussion, Mr. Pollard played a pivotal role in providing staff with helpful suggestions on how best to interact with HD patients, improve the quality of their life, and allowed staff to participate in exercises that would simulate the struggles someone from HD experiences in order to give them a deeper more intimate understanding of disease’s progression.

Symptoms of Huntington’s Disease include changes in thinking, movement, and mood.  The order and progression of these symptoms are not always the same for all HD patients.  Some of the cognitive limitations include slower thinking, difficulty staying focused, and difficulty organizing information or answers.  Pollard recalls working with a patient named, Tommy who he had met after HD began to affect his speech and thinking.  “One evening he was reminiscing about his family with me.  He told me about his daughter’s childhood. He spoke one sentence at a time with extended pauses before he shared his next thought.  As tactfully as I tried to keep the conversation going, I sensed that Tommy was becoming increasingly exasperated with me.   Unnerving tension began to replace the warmth of his reminiscences.  He told me about his daughter’s first day of school which occurred decades ago. He paused.  I waited for his next thought.  I waited a bit longer but not long enough.  At the moment that he began speaking again, so did I.  As soon as he heard me speak, he stopped.”  Pollard states when he interrupted Tommy his brain essentially hit the ‘reset’ button and prevented him from resuming where he left off in their conversation, a common problem for patients living with HD.  Pollard adds that he still has difficulty waiting through silent pauses in conversations but realizes that listening and patience are your best attributes when caring for someone with HD.

Symptoms of HD are not limited to cognition.  The physical and movement elements of the disease include dystonia or weakness in facial muscles, difficulty changing posture, and impaired balance or depth perception to name a few.  Patients with HD commonly lean or slouch, their head may fall down to their chest, and they may exhibit bursts in movement or in voice.  Although it may be difficult to witness some of these physical movements, Pollard suggests that providers should allow the patient some freedom in determining the type and level of exercise they can tolerate.  Pollard believes that despite HD being a fatal disorder, providers should whenever possible strive to create the least restrictive environment, one that makes the patient feel part of a larger community and improves their overall quality of life.

The third component that is affected by Huntington’s Disease is mood.  HD patients often present with irritability, fatigue, and apathy.  These symptoms are also present in someone who is depressed.  Pollard explains, “They may appear disinterested, angry or resistant and actually be thinking and feeling very differently. It’s challenging for providers, despite our best efforts and wealth of experience, to look beyond their appearance and behavior, to see through this “disguise,” that the cognitive and physical features of HD present in the person”.

Understanding the conditions and challenges of each patient at Bridgewater State Hospital is a key component to positively and proactively managing the care of our community.  The staff at BSH is always learning more about the individual challenges both physical and mental that each individual patient faces on a daily basis.  Knowledge is critical to helping the population of BSH live a safe and well-managed life while at the hospital.  BSH would like to acknowledge Ms. Howland for her recognition of the need to educate not only herself, but the staff and BSH community to better understand HD, and for facilitating this discussion.   The Bridgewater State Hospital community would like to extend their sincere thanks to Mr. Pollard for sharing his experiences and knowledge about Huntington’s Disease and helping the staff more effectively meet the needs of its patient population.  If you would like to learn more about HD visit http://www.hdsa.org.

Victims’ Rights Commemoration: Focus on Domestic Violence

On Thursday, April 7, 2016, Director Sheila Creaton Kelly of the Victim Services Unit (VSU) recently hosted the second annual Victims’ Rights Month Commemoration.   The event was very well attended and is a testament to the DOC’s commitment to protecting the rights of victims and the important work that the VSU does on a daily basis.

Commissioner Carol Higgins O’Brien welcomed the attendees and spoke about the DOC’s zero tolerance policy for domestic violence.  The Commissioner also took the opportunity to ask staff to remember the victims.

The staff at Old Colony Correctional Center (OCCC) in Bridgewater received a special recognition at the event for their work to assist VSU throughout the year.  In addition, OCCC helped to facilitate a victim/offender months ago; this required a great deal of compassion and hard work from many staff.  Superintendent Lisa Mitchell and some of her staff were in attendance to accept the award.

Deputy Commissioner Kathie Chmiel spoke about the importance of having a balance between the deference we show the victims of violent crime and the offender rehabilitation.

Danielle
Danielle Sicard: Keynote Speaker

Assistant Deputy Commissioner Carol Mici recognized the VSU staff for their difficult job and acknowledged the importance of treating each victim as an individual.   Director Kelly echoed the sentiment and remarked that each case the VSU handles is unique and difficult and requires personalization.  Victims are often forced to relive perhaps the most difficult moments of their lives each time an offender is moved or considered for parole.  She read a review from a victim thanking the VSU from the bottom of their heart for taking the time to listen to their concerns.OCCC

The keynote speaker was Danielle Sicard, a survivor of domestic violence.  Ms. Sicard shared her personal experience and how she escaped an emotionally and physically abusive relationship that escalated to an attempt on her life.  Ms. Sicard shared her insight regarding how the violence she endured has permanently impacted her daily life and how it affected her family and relationships.  Ms. Sicard also gave the audience information regarding the myths that surround abusers while educating the attendees about the characteristics often found in abusers.  Her words were riveting and she graciously took time to answer all the attendees’ questions about her ordeal.

The event was truly poignant for all who attended.

A New Dog In Town

Last July “Project Good Dog” began at NCCI Gardner.  It started as a means to help shelter dogs with behavioral issues, become more adoptable. The dogs that enter the program are shelter dogs that have been surrendered by their owners, come from animal control, or were transferred from another shelter.  Kristen English, a Correctional Program Officer C at NCCI Gardner and Project Good Dog coordinator, states the facility can accommodate five dogs at a time and has had a total of 19 dogs that have completed the program since July.

Project Good Dog Collage PNG copy

Dogs are paired and housed with an inmate handler for a 6 – 8 week period during this intensive curriculum. They learn to become house broken, basic obedience, kennel training, socialization, leash training, and a few simple tricks.

The program is organized by the Second Chance Animal Shelter in East Brookfield, Ma. They are a nationally recognized organization that provides innovative programs and services to help animals.

If you would like to adopt a dog or support Project Good Dog please contact:

CPO Kristen English @ NCCI Gardner

Phone: 978-630-6000  x119
Email: kristen.english@massmail.state.ma.us

Or the Second Chance Animal Shelter

Phone: 508-867-5525  Good Dog

Email: info@secondchanceanimals.org

Web: www.secondchanceanimals.org

Drones: A serious threat to prison security

As if prison officials don’t have enough security threats to contend with, now drones have become sophisticated and inexpensive enough to be used to smuggle contraband into prisons. HMP-Featherstone-near-Wolverhampton

What types of contraband can be smuggled via drones?  Well, at HMP Featherstone Prison near Wolverhampton, England a drone was intercepted trying to transport a set of bolt cutters over the wall.  Luckily the drone crashed and dropped the cutters just outside the perimeter and was discovered by an officer.  Last July at the Mansfield Correctional Facility in Ohio, a drone traversed over the wall and dropped a package containing drugs and tobacco into the north recreation yard, which was filled with inmates.  Multiple inmates attempted to retrieve the package sparking a brawl which had to be quelled by officers who deployed pepper spray.  Every inmate leaving the recreation yard had to be strip searched in order to ensure that the contraband items were fully recovered.

In either of those instances, a gun could just have easily been dropped over the wall by a drone.  The security risk posed by a firearm in the possession of inmates in a secure facility would surely have catastrophic potential, not only for the risk to staff, but inmates as well. drone1 This has been identified as such a significant potential threat that the Federal Bureau of Prisons has put out this RFI for Protection from Unmanned Air Vehicles.  Here is a brief synopsis of their request for information, “The Federal Bureau of Prisons (Bureau), Office of Security Technology has created a Request for Information (RFI) to seek information related to a solution regarding protection from unmanned air vehicles. The goal of this RFI is to obtain detailed to collect information to identify and assess the landscape of technologies and systems that can assist in the Bureau’s mission by countering, mitigating and/or interdicting the impact and possible nefarious intent of unmanned aerial systems (UAS).”

As drone technology and capabilities are advanced, some inmates may weigh the risk/reward to opt for a drone to deliver contraband to them vs. a friend or family member who would risk the potential of being caught and doing jail time and barred from visiting them again.  Let’s face it, programming a drone from as much as a mile away to fly guided by GPS and deliver a package seems a lot less risky to the person attempting to smuggle contraband in to prisons vs. carrying it in themselves.

Technology is a great thing for the general public, but for those of us who are worried about security in prisons, we are always on the look out for how technology can be used to defeat existing security measures in a prison setting.

Attleboro Police and DOC Investigators partner to thwart prison drug smuggling

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE by Attleboro Police Department
On Tuesday March 22, 2016, investigators from the Attleboro Police Department and the Massachusetts Department of Corrections concluded an investigation into drug activity with ties to the illegal smuggling of narcotics into state correctional facilities.
Detectives from the Attleboro Police Department and investigators from the Massachusetts Department of Corrections Office of Investigative Services partnered in an investigation which stemmed from information received from the prisons. The investigators learned that a female suspect was coming to Attleboro to pick up a package containing illegal drugs. Investigators also learned that she was going to be taking possession of those drugs in order to smuggle them into one of the state’s correctional facilities.
Investigators were granted a search warrant for the suspect’s vehicle. The vehicle was located and subsequently stopped in the parking lot of the Stop and Shop Supermarket located on Pleasant St. in Attleboro.
A search of the vehicle was conducted, and located within an ice cream container were 20 sublingual suboxone strips, packaged and prepared for delivery and introduction into a correctional facility. Also found were 6 individual packages of suspected marijuana, which was packaged in a manner consistent with being prepared to smuggle into a correctional facility.
Arrested was Jazzmine Sanchez, 26, of the Roslindale section of Boston. She is being charged by the Attleboro Police Department with possession with intent to distribute a Class B substance (suboxone), possession with intent to distribute a Class D substance (marijuana), conspiracy to violate the drug laws, and conspiracy to introduce drugs to a correctional facility.
This investigation was a cooperative effort between investigators from the Attleboro Police Department Detective Division and the Massachusetts Department of C0rrections Office of Investigative Services to interdict narcotics on the street before they were introduced to a state prison, where they would be distributed for profit by inmate accomplices. The approximate value of the suboxone strips in prison is $2000.