Draft Minutes from 1/8/21 Meeting

Special Commission on Correctional Funding
Friday, January 8, 2021, 11am-1pm
Meeting held via Zoom. Recording available here.

Representative Day opened the meeting and asked Caitlin Long from his office to call the roll of Commissioners. The following Commissioners were present:

Senator Brownsberger
Michael Widmer
Ben Forman
Representative Whelan
Emi J0y
Sheriff Coppinger
Sheriff Hodgson
James Morton
Commissioner Ed Dolan
Kevin Keefe
Kate Cooke
Gerard Horgan
Sheriff Ashe

The following Commissioners were not present:
Senator Fattman
Tom Preston
Gianni Maffeo
Christina Crowley
Francesca Spina

The Commission approved the minutes by roll call unanimously among those present and voting.

Representative Day asked Anne Landry from Senator Brownsberger’s office to provide an update from NIC. Anne Landry relayed her conversation with Chief Amos from the National Institute of Corrections (“NIC”), who explained that the solicitation would close on January 15th. At this time, NIC had not received any responses, which it did not consider unusual. The solicitation is available on www.usagrants.gov, as well as the Commission website. Ms. Landry included the link to the solicitation in the Zoom chat: http://correctionalfunding.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/21JD02-Staffing-VILT-Curriculum-Dev-and-Pilot-FINAL.pdf.

Representative Day asked Commissioners Ben Forman and Emi Joy to provide an update on the survey they are preparing. Commissioner Forman shared his screen to share the draft of the survey. Commissioners Forman and Joy provided an overview of the survey. Commissioner Joy described the survey as simple but functional. She explained that it is not calling out FTE or staff time, but that it would be helpful to get this information from departments.

Representative Day agreed with the plan to “set the table” with a call with recipients of survey, which he described as important. Senator Brownsberger asked whether this survey would allow the Commissioners to better interpret data they already have access to. Commissioner Joy confirmed that intention. Representative Day expressed the goal of getting an apples-to-apples comparison.

Sheriff Coppinger stated that the fact that sheriffs get a lot of grants should be clear. He suggested the Commissioners work with Carrie Hill, Executive Director to the Massachusetts Sheriffs Association, to finetune the survey and standardize reporting.

Commissioner Morton asked if there is a place that captures travel expenses and use of video conference systems with the Trial Court. Commissioner Joy indicated this survey would not capture that

Carrie Hill indicated in the chat that she would be happy to coordinate with Commissioners Joy and Forman as well as with the CFOs from the individual Sheriffs’ Offices.

Senator Brownsberger asked about the timeline. Commissioner Forman indicated that the next step would be to reach out to Carrie Hill and confirm how to organize meetings with finance folks from different agencies. From there, Commissioner Forman indicated he would hope to set something up with agencies by the end of the month.

Commissioner Cook thanked Commissioners Joy and Forman for their work on moving this forward towards getting an apples-to-apples comparison.

Representative Day invited the Commission to look at the charge and brainstorm who would like to take on what.

Senator Brownsberger suggested the Commission walk through the charge, which he brought up on his screen and shared. The Commission discussed how they were meeting or needed to continue to work to meet the charge. The Senator asked how we were working to evaluate discretionary programming and geographic disparities. Ms. Landry shared that the sheriffs had previously provided us with a list of their program offerings, which she shared in the chat, but the Commission has not analyzed it. The Senator suggested the next step would be to review this; Commissioners Forman and Joy conveyed their willingness to do this and to compare the counties’ programming at least at a high level. The Senator, drawing from a comment in the chat, indicated it would be useful to know how many people each program serves and to put data already received into a framework. Senator Brownsberger suggested an analysis of chapter 69 of the Acts of 2018 is prohibitively difficult for right now and thinks the DCAMM study might discharge part of the Commission’s charge. Representatives Day and Whelan suggested we put the question to the DOC and sheriffs whether the DCAMM presentation would be agreed to by DOC and the sheriffs. Senator Brownsberger thought DCAMM may already be doing that, which Commissioner Joy confirmed. Representative Day asked that the final Commission product include this work by DCAMM. Sheriff Coppinger mentioned in the chat that the updated program lists are due to the EOPSS from sheriffs next week. Senator Brownsberger asked whether revenue sources are within the survey. Commissioner Joy indicated they are not but that they can try to tackle that. Sheriff Hodgson asked that the revenue analysis include immigration revenues coming in. The Senator hoped that the Commissioners’ work in analyzing programming would fulfill the charge to analyze recidivism reduction efforts.

Representative Day asked whether we should create subgroups or create another structure for analysis. He asked Commissioners to plan to have an informed discussion on this topic for the next meeting. Commissioner Cook suggested we wait for more data to come back and then work in subgroups, as Representative Day had proposed.

Senator Brownsberger suggested the Commission plan to meet every 4 weeks or so.

Sheriff Horgan conveyed that he had created a survey he created while working from MSA of impact of chapter 69 on the sheriffs’ department, which he promised to share. The Senator indicated it would be posted on the website.

Senator Brownsberger identified two questions that appeared in a question and answer formatthat he believed relate to our particular analysis: how work programs relate to programming (how are we accounting for that?); and whether the Commission will analyze programming at different security levels at the DOC. The Senator asked if he could leave these thoughts with Commissioners Forman and Joy.

The Commission decided to meet again on February 5 at 1pm.

The Commission adjourned. The Commission discussed keeping the Zoom open to take questions from audience and Representative Day thanked Commissioners Joy and Forman for their work. The Senator indicated he would end the Zoom meeting to avoid the risk of conducting business as a quorum following adjournment and suggested instead scheduling a question-and-answer portion of the meeting on a future agenda.

Meeting Notice and Agenda for 1/8/21 Meeting

Special Commission on Correctional Funding
Friday, January 8, 2021, 11am-1pm
Meeting via Zoom at https://zoom.us/j/91027351912
(Commissioners will receive a separate invitation to attend as panelists.)

  1. Introduction of Commissioners
  2. Approval of Minutes from 12/4/20 Meeting
  3. Update from NIC
  4. Update on Survey from Ben Forman and Emi Joy
  5. Discussion of data in light of charge- call for volunteers
  6. Set next meeting date(s)

Minutes from 12/4/20 Meeting

Special Commission on Correctional Funding
December 4, 2020 11am-1pm
Meeting via ZOOM at https://zoom.us/j/95446360095
(Commissioners received a separate log-in via email to attend as panelists.)

Commissioners Present:

  • Representative Michael Day, Co-chair, Appointed by the Speaker
  • Senator Will Brownsberger, Co-chair, Appointed by the Senate President
  • Representative Timothy R. Whelan, Appointed by the House Minority Leader
  • Emi Joy, EOPSS CFO, Appointed by the Secretary of EOPSS
  • Ben Forman, MassINC, Appointed by the Senate President
  • Thomas Preston, Deputy Commissioner of Administration, Appointed by the Commissioner of the Department of Correction
  • James Morton, Appointed by the Chief Justice of the Trial Court
  • Commissioner of Probation Edward J. Dolan
  • Kevin Keefe, Appointed by the Chair of the Parole Board
  • Christina Crowley, Plymouth County Assistant District Attorney, Appointed by the Massachusetts Bar Association
  • Michael Widmer, Appointed by the Speaker
  • Kate R. Cook, Sugarman Rogers, Appointed by the Boston Bar Association (present for most of the meeting)
  • Jon D’Angelo on behalf of Sheriff Michael J. Ashe, Jr., Appointed by the Governor
  • Gerard Horgan, Esq., Appointed by the Governor (joined approximately at 12pm)

Commissioners Absent:

  • Senator Ryan Fattman, Appointed by the Senate Minority Leader
  • Gianni Maffeo, Appointed by the Secretary of Administration and Finance
  • Francesca Spina, Ph.D., Appointed by the Governor
  • Essex County Sheriff Kevin F. Coppinger, Appointed by the Massachusetts Sheriffs’ Association
  • Bristol County Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson, Appointed by the Massachusetts Sheriffs’ Association

Documents Discussed:

11/06/20 Draft Minutes

NIC Staffing Analysis Cooperative Agreement Document

DCAMM Presentation

Correctional Funding Commission Charge

Senator Brownsberger called the meeting to order shortly after 11am and introduced legislative staff members Anne Landry and Caitlin Long.

Senator Brownsberger inquired as to whether there were any objections to the draft minutes from 11/6/20. No objections were raised and a roll call was taken. With the exception of those absent, the Commission unanimously approved the draft minutes.

Senator Brownsberger introduced and recognized Mike Jackson and Stephen Amos from the National Institute of Corrections to provide an update to the Commission.

Stephen Amos stated that the cooperative agreement was released on December 2nd. The application deadline is January 15th, as they would like to begin the process on March 4th. Stephen Amos stated that they welcome all that would like to pursue this cooperative agreement. And that they will provide the Commission with regular reporting’s and with any questions or changes that may come up along the way.

Senator Brownsberger stated that the document will be made available on the correctional funding website and that the meeting will now move on to the DCAMM presentation.

Commissioner Emi Joy thanked DCAMM for joining as they have been working very hard to go through every fiscal aspect under corrections to come up with what sort of investment decisions should be made. Their presentation is solely an architectural look, but it is a critical building block and something that DCAMM is relied on for. Commissioner Joy introduced Emmanuel Andrade as the project manager at DCAMM, who gave the presentation.

At 11:20 am Senator Brownsberger began the recording of the meeting and stated that the prior action to the meeting was the approval of minutes and an update from NIC.

Emmanuel Andrade presented the Facility Condition Assessment of Correctional Facilities. The presentation is a product of a partnership with the DOC and the county sheriffs’ departments. Mr. Andrade described the first section of the presentation as the Facility Condition Assessment’s (FCA) scope and approach of the project. The second section includes the overall conditions of the correctional portfolio, the third is the review of the repair needs they identified, and the fourth is a quick recap and presentation of some of the current capital investments performed by DCAMM.

After presenting the slide show, Mr. Andrade stated that this is the first time the Commonwealth has done a review of the portfolio; the FCA is limited as it only looks at facility needs and does not look at space needs based on the population or bed count in the correctional portfolio. This only looks at facility needs, building systems and components on the basis of a future investment by the Commonwealth.

Senator Brownsberger thanked Emmanuel Andrade for his excellent presentation and asked if Commissioner Joy wanted to put this into context.

Commissioner Joy put the correctional portfolio in the context of the rest of the Commonwealth, stating that the Commonwealth is limited in the total number of capital dollars it has to invest; EOPSS is often making requests or suggesting prioritizing projects. They prioritize projects based on their value; they ask the question whether it is an investment or a repair that needs to happen right away. There is only a limited amount of dollars and they must look to see where they can direct the monies to have the highest impact. They look at the programmatic goals and match that to what spaces are there and the possibilities of how they can grow and expand to better suit the population.

Senator Brownsberger asked Commissioner Joy what the process is to take it to the next level of facility needs from a policy perspective.

Commissioner Joy stated that there are a couple of paths forward but they haven’t had the full discussion on which path to take yet. One of their past works has been a master plan under DCAMM that has taken the full view of what is the baseline of planned needs and how to prioritize these needs, but how they plug the programmatic needs into it is variable and they have not decided on that yet. The conversations are ongoing and they are really hoping to have a plan soon.

Commissioner Widmer asked Commissioner Joy if they will take into consideration how many people we actually need in prisons.

Commissioner Joy stated this is absolutely something they are looking into and thinking about. They will pull data from other states to look at the trends and to do their best to change and build.

Representative Whelan stated that the prison population in MA is 49th-50th in the nation in the percentage of citizens that we have in our correctional facilities, so the mass incarceration rates that we hear about cited in the news tend to be outside of our state.

Commissioner Widmer stated that this is an important fact but doesn’t change the question whether MA should change its incarceration policy.

Representative Whelan responded that this lies outside of the control of the DOC and something that the Judiciary itself will have to look at. The Judiciary and legislature would have to address, the DOC has no say in this.

Commissioner Widmer noted that he appreciates that, but that it will be something the Commission will need to look at as we are looking at investments over 10 years.

Commissioner Joy stated that there are still important conversations that need to be had and that any good plan should be adaptable to change.

Senator Brownsberger thanked DCAMM for their presentation and asked for an update from Ben Forman.

Representative Day thanked DCAMM as well and wanted to make sure the Commission could post the presentation on the Commission’s website with their permission. Permission was granted by DCAMM.

Commissioner Forman said that he was very briefly able to connect with Commissioner Joy and she had some very helpful suggestions. The goal is to better understand healthcare expenditures, program expenditures, and it would be good to go to each of the agencies with a survey to better understand how they are paying for healthcare expenditures, especially, to break down the difference between behavioral health and general health. When trying to understand healthcare expenditures they had not previously done any of this analysis and it seems like this might be a topic the Commission would like to pursue to identify and understand these expenditures. They also discussed special initiatives and will want to make sure the Commission classifies those expenditures accurately in its analysis. Commissioner Joy suggested they put together a short survey to send to the departments so that the Commission can better understand before starting to classify them into budget object codes.

Commissioner Joy clarified why she was thinking of that approach by explaining that Commissioner Forman has been using a system of putting object codes on a classification of how we pay for things. Each agency receives a budget, which is comprised of accounts, or line items, and the way that we spend money out of these appropriations is through object classes, more specifically object codes. Example, AA is where fulltime staff salaries come from but then there is a sub code in there that includes base pay, overtime, etc. They are letters randomly assigned to values. Commissioner Forman took these letters and organized them into categories in ‘buckets’ to reduce them. There are some discrepancies in how some entities decide to spend money. By just pulling medical contracts we are missing a lot of the costs. In an ideal world we would ask them to show us everywhere their medical spending, but this is often pretty burdensome to do.

Senator Brownsberger stated that for the record Commissioner Horgan joined at approximately 12pm. 

Senator Brownsberger asked Commissioner Joy if the spending levels are available at the facility level.

Commissioner Joy stated that it would show up easier for Sheriffs, but for DOC on site-specific contracts, it may end up being a proportional distribution. Essentially, Commissioner Forman has a bucket model and Commissioner Joy proposes going a step further to make sure the codes are being used appropriately.

Commissioner Preston stated that on the healthcare piece, individuals might want to see a finite cost per facility, which will be almost near impossible because the contracts will be written for the staffing levels for the entire agency, not per facility. This is built to a staffing level and the staffing level is through the agency and they also have to staff per facility as well.

Senator Brownsberger asked if the personnel costs are in a different category and whether they are associated with specific facilities.

Commissioner Preston stated that if it is a medical piece, then the personnel from the medical company are all within the same contract. If it is their own personnel, it will be in object code AA for regular salaries, then will move down to shift differentials, overtime, etc. All of this comes up in personnel HR payouts.

Commissioner Forman stated that in terms of their work they assign personnel codes based on staff titles. It is worth doing as some titles are pretty clear, but that is one of the things that is important to try and undertake.

Commissioner Preston noted that it is important to get it ironed out; that we don’t want to miss anything either while someone else is not spending in that category because it may not balance out correctly. We will need to talk about it further to make sure we are on the right track and have the right goals, the same goes with the programming piece as well.

Commissioner Joy stated that there should be a conversation on what we bucket as programmatic cost. If a particular vendor is brought in then it is clear that it is a program cost, but there might be a particular program that someone can participate in, where we see spending for equipment brought in for that program and is coordinated by program staff. Do we include the program coordinator, staff salary, etc. we need to figure out what each bucket should include.

Senator Brownsberger indicated that the Commission would move on to the next agenda item and go over the charge

Commissioner Widmer highlighted the third paragraph of the charge [The study shall include…(v) expenses on programming for recidivism reduction, including case management, reentry support, behavioral health…] and stated that this part is pretty comprehensive and is a key central piece to the charge, and hopes the Commission doesn’t lose sight of it.

Senator Brownsberger asked how much of this will get done under the analysis that Commissioner Forman and Commissioner Joy are bringing forward.

Commissioner Forman stated that this is exactly why we want to get a better understanding on healthcare and in order to do this we will definitely need some input and collaboration from these agencies.

Commissioner Preston stated they are happy to collaborate and answer the questions asked. If there were a timeframe the Commission would like to receive it by that would get the ball rolling. Commissioner Preston asked Commissioner Forman and Joy if they would like to collaborate after the meeting to figure out what they can come up with in the sense of format and presentation.

Senator Brownsberger stated that there is some work to be done here but can make some reasonable allocations based on the data that we do have and feel we can assemble. Senator Brownsberger asked the Commission for their views regarding the staffing ratio portion of the charge (i) and stated that that data should be readily available and asked if Commissioner Forman has enough information regarding staffing numbers/population to which Commissioner Forman answered yes..  

Senator Brownsberger asked what the commission is thinking for section (iv.)

Commissioner Forman asked if this was used in a previous discussion or in the budget and that he thought we have this information somewhere.

Senator Brownsberger stated that this section may be a little bit unwieldy, but it does require a bit of data collection.

Commissioner Forman suggested that this could be a good starting place for the survey.

Senator Brownsberger motioned back to the charge and emphasized section (v) of paragraph two, analysis of chapter 69 acts of 2018, and stated that this section is potentially larger than it looks, another way of looking at this is, what is solitary confinement and what will it take to really meet these directives. This section may need some further thought. The Senator moved to section (vi) of the same paragraph and stated that it seems like it was done with exception of the communications equipment, which can be expensive. He had noticed that electrical components were included in the review, which may be close enough. Next the Senator referred to section (vii) and asked Commissioner Joy if the Commission had any data including all of the revenue sources for all facilities.

Commissioner Joy stated that they have them for the DOC, but was not sure about the sheriffs; they can write a report regarding this.

Senator Brownsberger asked if any Commissioners had any questions regarding the charge. No questions were raised. Senator Brownsberger suggested Friday, January 8th as the next Commission Meeting date.

Representative Day asked if this would give Commissioner Forman and Joy enough time to go over this and pull together a potential survey.

Commissioner Forman believes they will have significant time.

The Commission agreed to meet again on January 8th, with the plan that Ben Forman and Emi Joy will provide the Commission with a proposed survey.

The Commission voted unanimously among all those present to adjourn.

Notice and Agenda for 12/4/20 Meeting

Special Commission on Correctional Funding 
December 4, 2020 11am-1pm
Meeting via ZOOM at https://zoom.us/j/95446360095
Commissioners will receive a separate log-in via email to attend as panelists.

Meeting Notice and Agenda

Recognition of Commissioners in Attendance

Vote on 11/6/20 Draft Minutes

Update on DCAMM Study

Update from NIC

Data Update (Ben Forman, Sheriffs’ Departments, DOC)

Review of charge — are we covering the bases?

 Setting Next Meeting Date(s)

Minutes from 11/6/20 Meeting

Special Commission on Correctional Funding 
November 6, 2020 11am-1pm
Meeting via ZOOM at https://zoom.us/j/98394939941
(Commissioners received a separate log-in via email to attend as panelists.)

Commissioners Present:

  • Representative Michael Day, Co-chair, Appointed by the Speaker
  • Senator Will Brownsberger, Co-chair, Appointed by the Senate President
  • Michael Widmer, Appointed by the Speaker
  • Ben Forman, MassINC, Appointed by the Senate President
  • Emi Joy, EOPSS CFO, Appointed by the Secretary of EOPSS
  • Essex County Sheriff Kevin F. Coppinger, Appointed by the Massachusetts Sheriffs’ Association
  • Bristol County Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson, Appointed by the Massachusetts Sheriffs’ Association
  • James Morton, Appointed by the Chief Justice of the Trial Court
  • Kevin Keefe, Appointed by the Chair of the Parole Board
  • Christina Crowley, Plymouth County Assistant District Attorney, Appointed by the Massachusetts Bar Association
  • Kate R. Cook, Sugarman Rogers, Appointed by the Boston Bar Association
  • Francesca Spina, Ph.D., Appointed by the Governor
  • Sheriff Michael J. Ashe, Jr., Appointed by the Governor
  • Thomas Preston, Deputy Commissioner of Administration, Appointed by the Commissioner of the Department of Correction

Commissioners Absent:

Documents Discussed:
9/11/20 Draft Minutes
NIC Proposal

Senator Brownsberger began the recording of the meeting.

Representative and Commission Co-Chair Michael Day called the meeting to order and asked the Commissioners to introduce themselves: Senator and Commission Co-Chair William N. Brownsberger, Jim Morton of the Trial Court, Essex County Sheriff Kevin Coppinger, (retired) Hampden County Sheriff Michael Ashe, Mike Widmer (appointed by the Speaker of the House), Kate Cook (appointed by the Boston Bar Association), Christina Crowley (appointed by the Massachusetts Bar Association), Ben Forman (appointed by the Senate President), Kevin Keefe (appointed by the Chair of the Parole Board), CFO Emi Joy of EOPSS, and Professor Francesca Spina (appointed by the Governor).

Chair Day introduced legislative staff members Anne Landry and Caitlin Long, as well as Mike Jackson and Stephen Amos of the National Institute of Correction.

Sheriff Hodgson joined the meeting.

The Commission approved the draft minutes from 9/11/20 by roll call vote; Kate Cook and Francesca Spina abstained but it was otherwise unanimous among all those present.

Stephen Amos introduced NIC’s proposal and Representative Day opened the floor for discussion. Sheriff Coppinger indicated he thought it was a good proposal and was looking forward to getting it done. He currently had no specific questions but may later. Representative Day expressed his appreciation for the proposal’s flexibility and creativity. Kate Cook inquired as to the time frame for the proposal. Representative Day deferred to Stephen Amos, who indicated that they had built flexibility into the proposal but aimed to have the contract “on the streets” in early December, with an eye towards awarding the contract in January. They would plan to validate the data and make it available to the Commission in the form of a report for June 1, 2021.

Ben Forman asked that NIC build into the process the ability for the public to understand the methodology so they can understand the results. Stephen Amos indicated NIC does not have any constraints in their agency regarding information-sharing and would support whatever the Commission wanted to do. Ben Forman asked if NIC could advise the Commission on protocols relative to information-sharing. Stephen Amos indicated that NIC has not done that before. Mike Widmer asked how often it would make sense for the Commission to get reports from NIC regarding the process. Stephen Amos indicated that NIC can already disseminate the curriculum but would not want their actual trainings to be interfered with. Senator Brownsberger suggested monthly updates from NIC for the Commission and to also provide the participating public some visibility.

Stephen Amos indicated that NIC’s next step is its statement of work if the Commission wanted to move forward with a cooperative agreement. In that document, he said, NIC will set out a plan for major milestones and updates. Another option they could pursue would be listening sessions with interested groups/stakeholders. Ultimately, Stephen Amos indicated that how to disseminate information is a decision for the Commission to make.

Sheriff Ashe indicated that monthly updates from the NIC and sheriffs would be key.

Ben Forman suggested that while updates to the Commission may be sufficient, this process may also require meeting with stakeholders and holding listening session. He recalled the CSG process, in which the consultants met with outside stakeholders.

Kate Cook indicated she shared Ben’s concerns.

Senator Brownsberger expressed that transparency is important.

NIC representatives indicated that Commissioners would be welcome to attend the trainings but NIC is reluctant to open up the process to interference.

Representative Day called for a roll call vote and the NIC proposal was adopted unanimously among all those present and voting.

Senator Brownsberger asked NIC if their staffing analysis will look at staffing for programming or medication assisted treatment. Stephen Amos indicated it would not; it would just look at staffing relative to custodial needs/safety and security.

The Chairs indicated that between the numbers we have from A&F and MassInc, the Commission may not need to hire an outside consultant. The Commission discussed having Ben Forman review what has already been done and to identify if we need to do more and/or what gaps we need to fill. Emi Joy indicated that DOC would be willing to meet with Ben Forman. Ben Forman indicated it could be useful contribution of Commission if they were able to achieve uniformity across object codes. The sheriffs indicated they would be willing to work with Ben Forman on data as well.

Representative Day indicated that the ultimate goal is to get to an apples-to-apples comparison and he views this next step as necessary.

Mike Widmer indicated that central to our charge is reviewing programming to help with reintegration, beyond just health care. It is very hard to track this in object codes. He asked what each institution is doing in this area (in the area of education, to take one example). This is a key focus area for the BBA, said Kate Cook.

Senator Brownsberger asked what the status was of DCAMM’s analysis of facilities and whether DCAMM could present to the Commission. Emi Joy indicated that she had followed up on this inquiry since the last Commission meeting and that questions are out to the vendor. There are data issues across institutions. She anticipated that DCAMM could present to the Commission next month.

Tom Preston joined the meeting at 12:04pm.

The Commission agreed to meet again on 12/4, with the plan that Ben Forman would be in touch with DOC and the sheriffs in advance and Emi Joy would work on lining up DCAMM for a presentation.

The Commission voted unanimously among all those present to adjourn.

Notice and Agenda for 11/6/20 Meeting

Special Commission on Correctional Funding 
November 6, 2020 11am-1pm
Meeting via ZOOM at https://zoom.us/j/98394939941
Commissioners will receive a separate log-in via email to attend as panelists.

Meeting Notice and Agenda

Recognition of Commissioners in Attendance

Vote on 9/11/20 Draft Minutes

Review & Discuss NIC Proposal

Vote on NIC Proposal

 Discussion About Additional Commission Tasks

 Setting Next Meeting Date(s)

Minutes from 9/11/20 Meeting

Special Commission on Correctional Funding 
September 11, 2020 1-3pm 
Meeting via ZOOM at https://zoom.us/j/93527313482 

Documents Reviewed, Referenced, or Available at Meeting:
Draft Minutes from 3/6/20
Review of Commission’s Charge
Zoom Chat

Recording of Zoom meeting available.
-Passcode (required): 4DqgS&5g 

Commissioners Present:
Representative Michael Day
Senator Brownsberger
Ben Forman
Representative Timothy Whelan
Thomas Preston
Sheriff Kevin Coppinger
Sheriff Thomas Hodgson
James Morton
Edward Dolan
Kevin Keefe
Christina Crowley (joined at approximately 2:25 pm)
Emi Joy (joined 1:37pm)
Gerard Horgan
Sheriff Michael Ashe (at beginning of meeting)

Commissioners Absent: 
Senator Ryan Fattman
Gianni Maffeo
Michael Widmer
Kate Cook
Francesca Spina

The Commission convened shortly after 1pm through Zoom. Senator Brownsberger asked his Chief Counsel, Anne Landry, to call the roll of Commissioners. All were present but for Sen Fattman, Emi Joy (who later joined the meeting at 1:37pm), Gianni Maffeo, Mike Widmer, Christina Crowley (who later joined the meeting at approximately 2:25pm), Kate Cook, and Francesca Spina.

Representatives from the National Institute of Correction (NIC) introduced themselves: Mike Jackson, Stephen Amos, Glenn Watson, and Scott Richards.

Representative Day raised the question whether the Commission should record its meetings on Zoom. Sheriff Coppinger moved that the Commission record and publish their Zoom meetings and Commissioner Dolan seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous by roll call among all those present. The recording was subsequently turned on.

Senator Brownsberger inquired as to whether there were any objections to the draft minutes. The link to the draft minutes was made available on the website and in the Zoom chat. No objections were raised.

Representative Day provided an legislative update: the deadline for the Commission has been extended until September 1, 2021. He relayed that the plan is to move forward with the NIC process.

Stephen Amos explained how COVID-19 has changed the way in which NIC can provide technical assistance. NIC is committed to providing staffing analysis training to Massachusetts correctional facilities. The challenge has been: how to provide said training in a virtual environment? NIC’s goal is to gain the Commission’s concurrence and will develop an implementation plan, and send to the Commission for approval. They believe they can conduct the staffing analysis training for 4 facilities and send a report from NIC to the Commission by May 1, 2021.

Glenn Watson indicated that traditionally, this staffing analysis implementation would take place in person over the course of 36 hours, NIC having spent some time in facility to get an idea of what it would take to conduct field work. But there was no follow-up or coaching from NIC. In the new virtual model NIC is offering to Massachusetts, coaching will be provided in between periods of instruction. It should take approximately two months from the time of training to submit the draft report.

Stephen Amos and Mike Jackson provided some additional details: contractors would help provide training. For the duration of the contract, these NIC contractors would be made available to other jurisdictions in Massachusetts- to all houses of correction and to DOC facilities. Each team (per facility) will have a dedicated coach and instructor.

Tom Preston inquired whether they were proposing to provide this training to all DOC facilities. Mike Jackson confirmed that they are only looking at 4 facilities to start (3 jails and one DOC facility).

With no federal budget in sight, NIC will be operating on a continuing resolution. There is a slight possibility there will be funding issue, but leadership has committed to moving forward with this effort with the resources we have.

Sheriff Hodgson indicated he was excited about the proposal- that it will “show us our staffing needs” based on staffing best practices and will help the legislature “understand our need” for funding.

Sheriff Coppinger indicated he believed the NIC approach was the right way to go. He agrees with the model of teams working in-house to get data with the availability of NIC coaches to validate the process.

Senator Brownsberger said he would entertain a motion to move forward with the NIC pilot for four facilities with a formal agreement between NIC and the Commission, with NIC to bring written proposal to next meeting of Commission.

Ben Forman asked if this was a self-assessment by the facilities. NIC and several Commissioners agreed it was a self-assessment. Senator Brownsberger indicated it is a starting point. Sheriff Coppinger mentioned having this be a self-assessment is partially a security issue. Sheriff Coppinger and Tom Preston echoed similar concerns.

Emi Joy posed the question whether some of the briefing and training materials could be shared with the public.

Ben Forman said he was thinking more about data-sharing with another consultant as opposed to the public.

Sen Brownsberger suggested the Commission not make a decision today about what in the NIC process is public. He proposed a motion that the Commission endorse the general direction laid out by NIC. The motion was adopted unanimously by roll call among those present (at this point, Emi Joy had joined the meeting, Sheriff Ashe had left the meeting, and Christina Crowley had not yet joined the meeting).

The Commission approved the draft minutes among those present with a roll call vote. It was unanimous among those present (at this point, Emi Joy had joined the meeting, Sheriff Ashe had left the meeting, and Christina Crowley had not yet joined the meeting). 

The Commission reviewed the charge of the Commission. DCAMM is doing an analysis of correctional facilities’ physical assets. Emi Joy will formally request a status update from DCAMM. The Commission is envisioning a possible future presentation by DCAMM to the Commission. The Commission discussed whether they should retain a consultant to conduct quantitative analysis.

NIC was told they could leave the call, with the Commission planning to reconvene some time in mid-October.

Representative Day indicated the sooner the Commission gets moving on a data review, the easier the Commission’s work will be overall. The Commission decided to have the Chairs and Emi Joy touch base with ANF to ascertain what data and analysis are already available. If the Commission is able to pull the data from ANF, they may not need to hire a consultant. The Chairs and Emi Joy will report back to the Commission at the next meeting.

The Commissioners confirmed that meeting on Fridays generally works for people.

The Commissioners unanimously adopted a motion to adjourn by roll call vote (at which point, Sheriff Ashe had left the meeting and Emi Joy and Christina Crowley had joined). Senator Brownsberger offered to keep the Zoom room open to take questions from attendees to answer questions about the free prison phone calls bill he had sponsored, having seen related questions in the Zoom chat.

Notice and Agenda for 9/11/20 Meeting

Special Commission on Correctional Funding 
September 11, 2020 1-3pm 
Meeting via ZOOM at https://zoom.us/j/93527313482 
Commissioners will receive a separate log-in via email to attend as panelists.  

Meeting Notice and Agenda 

I. Review Meeting Format and Recording Policy

II. Recognition of Commissioners in Attendance 

III. Vote on 3/6/20 Draft Minutes 

IV. Legislative Update on Extension of Commission 

V. Update on NIC Process 

VI. Fulfilling Commission’s Charge Outside of NIC Process 

VII. Setting Next Meeting Date(s) 

Minutes from 3-6-20 Meeting

Special Commission on Correctional Funding
State House, Room 428
Boston, MA 02133
March 6, 2020, 11am

Meeting Minutes

Commissioners Present:
William N. Brownsberger, Senate Chair
Michael Day, House Chair
Mike Widmer
Ben Forman
Emi Joy
Thomas Preston
Gianni Maffeo
Sheriff Kevin F. Coppinger
Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson
James Morton
Kevin Keefe
Christina Crowley
Kate R. Cook
Francesca Spina (via remote participation)
Gerard J. Horgan
Sheriff Michael J. Ashe (ret)

Commissioners Absent:
Representative Timothy R. Whelan
Senator Ryan Fattman
Commissioner Edward J. Dolan

Documents Reviewed:

3/6/20 Meeting Agenda

Draft Minutes from 2/14/20 Meeting 

NIC Memorandum

NIC Statement of Work

After convening the meeting, the Commissioners unanimously (among those present) approved a motion to allow Commissioner Francesca Spina to participate remotely.

The Commission approved draft minutes from the 2/14/20 meeting unanimously among all those present.

National Institute of Corrections representatives, Chief Stephen Amos, Mike Jackson, [and Rod Miller?], reviewed the contents of the NIC memorandum and statement of work with the Commissioners.

Sheriff Ashe expressed his interest in having the Commission look at staffing analysis as well as ensuring that correctional facilities are humane environments.

NIC representatives explained that NIC teaches people to do staffing analysis but that NIC does not do it themselves. Instead, they utilize a peer-to-peer learning method where NIC does not “own the numbers.” Sheriffs’ departments would have to build their own capacity for ongoing staffing analysis.

The Commission discussed that a change in the mission of the Commission would require buy-in from sheriffs, DOC/EOPSS, and legislative leadership.

Representative Day indicated that staffing analysis addressed but one part of the Commission’s charge- that it could be a recommendation of the Commission or it could be something the sheriffs’ departments and the Department of Correction could undertake on their own.

The Commission discussed going back to legislative leadership, the Massachusetts Sheriffs Association, and the Commissioners’ appointing authorities to review the charge and reconvene.

NIC representatives described the biggest question that staffing analysis is designed to address as the following: “What is effective inmate supervision?” This can present a challenge. Unions can get involved. In Toledo, they ended up moving away from mandatory minimum staffing.

Ben Forman suggested that the Commission does not have to take this circuitous path, that the Commission should take on its mandate directly. Mike Widmer reflected that the Commission’s mandate is very broad.

Kate Cook explained that the Boston Bar Association is particularly interested in programming.

Sheriff Ashe mentioned that the DOC and the sheriffs do not usually work together but hopes the Commission will issue recommendations for them to work together to maximize correctional dollars.

Mike Widmer explained that the Commission’s mission is both fiscal and programmatic and wondered if staffing analysis looked at not only safety and security but also programming. He expressed a preference for continuing the Commission in the same fashion.

Senator Brownsberger invited public comment. Mary Valerio expressed concerns on behalf of prisoners and Dr. Michelle Fior [?] expressed her view that their should be a competitive bid process for a consultant, rather than utilizing the National Institute of Corrections.

Because there was confusion as to which version of minutes were approve, the Commission voted again unanimously among those present to clarify that the 2-14-20 minutes that they approved were those that appeared on the Commission website.

The Commission planned to meet again on March 20, 2020.