Georgia Prison & Jail – Visitation, Phones, Packages & MailTopics / Information relating to the Georgia Department of Corrections and local & county Jail visitation, phone calls, mail, inmate care packages, etc.
I posted October's minutes that I took in another post and many people found them helpful. Because of the work I do with advocacy for inmates and their families, I believe it is important for us to be informed. The notes hidden on the website are almost impossible to get through reading. These are the highlights of the issues. I hope you find them helpful.
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Georgia Department of Corrections Board Meeting November 6, 2008 Atlanta, GA
November 18th Sheriff’s Association meeting December 4th GDC Board Meeting December 9th Biennial Institute for Legislators January 6th GDC Board meeting January 12th Georgia General Assembly starts
Commissioner James Donald
Current jail backlog is 3206 (sheriffs say its 4346)
Update on triple bunking as of 11/3/08:
216 beds installed at Wilcox State Prison
216 beds installed at Calhoun State Prison
200 beds installed at Washington State Prison
216 beds installed at Dooly State Prison
103 beds installed at Scott State Prison
36 beds installed at Northwest PDC
36 beds installed at Central PDC
36 beds installed at Colwell PDC
Beds will also be installed at Smith Transitional Center, Phillips Transitional Center, Helms Transitional Center, Arrendale Transitional Center.
Pelham Pre-release Center (160 beds) is closed. Staff is going to Autry State Prison.
Milan Pre-Release Center (200 beds) is closed. Staff going to Telfair State Prison.
Homerville State Prison (260 beds) is closed. Staff going to Valdosta State Prison
Fast-track beds are being opened at Dooly State Prison, Macon State Prison and Smith State Prison.
On privatization: A request for proposals to private partners for an addition to an existing prison has already been issued. A second request for proposals will be issued on November 15, 2008 to private partners to build a brand new prison (1500 beds) on same grounds as Baldwin State Prison in Milledgeville .
A request for proposals has been issued for help with electronic medical records.
On escape from Hays State Prison: “Human error and complicity” are to be blamed. GDC needs “mature, reliable people in the system.”
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Georgia Department of Corrections Board Meeting
October 2, 2008 Atlanta, GA
Commissioner James Donald
Budget cut required closures and realignments continue:
Rivers State Prison is closed
W Davis PDC is closed.
Terrell PDC is closed
Long Pre Release Center realignment will be completed 10-3-08
Wayne State Prison Closure is pending
Homerville State Prison closure is pending March, 2009.
Dooly Fast Track beds have 234 out of 256 Probationers there.
Creation of new beds throughout the system continues:
Beds Cumulative Total Status
Triple Bunking 216 216 Loading
Baldwin SP 270 486 Loading
Georgia SP 360 846 Loading
Macon SP Fast Track 256 1102 11/01/08
Dooley SP Fast Track 256 1358 11/01/08
Smith SP Fast Track 256 1614 12/01/08
Hays SP Fast Track 256 1870 04/09
Coastal SP Fast Track 256 2126 04/09
Valdosta SP Fast Track 256 2382 05/09 Ware SP Fast Track 256 2638 06/09
Totals 2638 2638
The GDC continues to look at possibilities of outsourcing some of its services (did not go into detail, just listed):
Private Prison RFP is going out on 10-15-08
Food Service Pilot Projects 3/1/09
Maintenance Pilots 2/1/09
Training Academy outsourced to Technical College system: 7/1/09
Mark Guzzi, Interim Legal Director
GDC legislative Agenda for 2008 has been sent to the Governor’s office and includes:
Allowing for Transitional Center placement for people convicted of Seven Deadly crimes in the last year of incarceration: because these folks are serving mandatory minimum sentences, they go straight from state prisons to release. Allowing them to be part of a Transitional Center program would help re-entry. (THIS IS A GOOD THING )
Probation Options Management Extension and Revision: this extends the sunset provision for Day Reporting Centers. (WE SHOULD KEEP OUR EYES OPEN ON THIS ONE )
Inmate Prescriptions Co-Payment: would allow for GDC to charge people in prison a co-payment (amount not specified) for medication for non-chronic illnesses. (THIS IS A BAD THING )
Require hospitals and outside healthcare provides to charge GDC no more than the Medicaid rate for services: (WE SHOULD KEEP OUR EYES OPEN ON THIS ONE )
Removing Licensing Restrictions for people convicted of felonies: right now, people receiving training in GDC to be barbers, cosmetologists, nurses, etc face obstacles with licensure when coming out of prison because of felony convictions. This would remove those obstacles. (THIS IS A GOOD THING )
Imposition of Fees on Day Reporting Center Probationers: currently, DRC attendees are not carges, this would start charging them for drug testing, electronic monitoring. (This is a BAD thing )
(ALL OF THESE ARE JUST MY )
Judge Tom Salter suggests they look at expanding medical reprieve abilities. Commissioner Donald says they have drafted legislation to this effect and want the Board members to help. Becky E***s, Budget Director of GDC says that the top 200 sickest people in prison alone cost the GDC $30 million.
Other Comments from Board Members:
Sheriff Roger Garrison comments that jail backlog is exacerbated when counties agree to assist with Immigration and Citizenship Enforcement (ICE)- he has always refused to do it for this reason.
Chairman Wayne Dasher comments that the legislature made a mistake when changing the definition of a life sentence to 30 years. This was too big a jump and there is no incentive for people with life sentences to behave well in prison.
Former Senator Jim Whitehead talks about the importance of them conveying concerns to legislators and mentions that he never would have known how dire the situation was for sex offenders in nursing homes being forced to move.
Next Board meeting will be on November 6th in Atlanta. Commissioners are encouraged to tune in via computer and forfeit their per diem to save money
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I have to come to an online board to get my news about the very place I work. How awful is that!? Doesn't surprise me one bit though.
You know that when they closed Pelham PRC that no one there knew until THAT day!? I happened to notice it the day before on the transfer list. I called my warden and he said he was standing there with the Superintendant from there and he hadn't said anything about them closing. Well come to find out it was because he didn't even know! Talk about a moral killer and working in fear!!!
This tripple bunking thing has got to stop too. You wanna talk about a riot?! There is no way I would sleep on the bottom of one of those things!! Its horrible!!! Around here guys beg for bottom bunks, but I am sure they ask for top bunks there. I don't think there's even room for someone to sit up on them. horrible
You'll be happy to know that everyone down on this lower end of the totem pole complained enough that nothing was happening to the big shots in ATL with all the cuts, so now they are starting to restructure them and do away with departments. Sucks, but at least its fair.
Thank you for posting those minutes. I really do appreciate it!!!!
I in no way answer for or on behalf of the GDC. I am here to give general information only.
Hopefullly I can help those on the outside, understand what's happening on our side as well as their loved one's side!
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Commissioner James Donald will be leaving the Georgia Department of Corrections after serving as Commissioner for five years. He will be going on to the Board of Pardons and Paroles. At the Governor’s recommendation and the GDC Board’s unanimous vote at the January 6, 2009 meeting, Brian Owens will be replacing James Donald as Commissioner for the GDC. Both James Donald and Brian Owens will be sworn in to their new positions on Thursday, January 8, 2009.
II. Screven County Deputy Warden
The Board voted unanimously to appoint Steve Scroggins as the Deputy Warden of Screven County Prison.
III. Commissioner’s Report
Metro State Prison Women’s Choir
Commissioner Donald showed a clip from the Channel 2 News about the women’s choir at Metro State Prison to open his presentation. The choir has recently recorded an album with Emily Saliers, an artist from the band The Indigo Girls. The proceeds from the album will benefit the Georgia Prison Ministries.
January 12 – General Assembly Convenes
January 13th – Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for Fast Track Dorm at Smith State Prison (prisoners are already being moved into the dorm)
January 21st – Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for RSAT Program at Walker State Prison- It will be a 200-bed residential substance abuse program for probationers. They will spend six months in residential treatment and six months in the community doing aftercare. The program will serve as an alternative for judges and will eat away and the current backlog.
January 22nd – Hearing before Joint Appropriations Committee
January 27th – Ribbon-cutting Ceremony for Tommy Rouse Day Reporting Center (probation is already moving into the center)
There will be four fast track dorms by the end of the year.
By the end of the year, they will have triple-bunked 1,800 inmates within the GDC
Currently, it costs approximately $100,000 per year per new bed. Triple-bunking will save money.
Jail Backlog – 3,002
Probation Backlog – 271
Total Backlog – 3,273
Sheriffs’ Numbers – 5496
Prison Population – 101.8%
Probation Supervision – 151,804
They have a bid out to expand the current number of beds. They are working with private partners and estimate that they will have 1,000 new beds coming on this year to meet the sheriffs’ numbers.
Priority County Transfers
Cobb County – Total: 299, Valid: 150, current sentence packages on hand
Update on Day Reporting Centers
There are 11 day reporting centers.
There may be five more in the upcoming year.
Update on Headquarters Relocation
Academy: Phase II- Construction. It should be completed by the end of the year.
Headquarters: Phase III- Design. The design should be complete by April. The construction should be complete a year after the academy is complete.
Update on Budget
January 14th – The Governor will present his State of the State address which will include his recommendations.
Currently, the GDC is above the 6% mark.
January 22nd – Joint Appropriations Committee, plan for budget reductions will be addressed.
The GDC doesn’t anticipate any major shifts. They have not heard of any additional cuts for this year.
There will be a supplemental budget.
The GDC is tracking nicely on utilities and medical (there have been conservation methods implemented to address utility concerns)
Furloughs – There is a plan in place should they need to move ahead with furloughs. The plan includes a 2-day furlough for security staff and additional furloughs for other staff.
Of nine counselors whose positions were terminated, all nine have accepted other security positions within the GDC.
Medical- They have had five consecutive months of meeting the targets in the medical budget.
It doesn’t look like they will have to close more beds.
They have already closed 36 lock-down facilities, and are now operating 96 lock-down facilities.
The next six months look favorable.
Employee Pay Raises
The issue of employee pay raises will be put back on the table after the economic crisis dissipates some.
IV. Chairman’s Report
They want to move to have committees within the Board on particular issues meet and report back to the Board. The Board members were to indicate in which committees they would like to participate.
The chairman would like to have one Board member per meeting give a 5-minute report on a visit to a prison.
The chairman made a motion to stop all per-diem reimbursements for Board members for the next month until further discussion.
V. Property Resolutions
Milan State Prison Property – The GDC would like to transfer the property to the city of Milan to use for a jail.
Rockdale DeKalb Probation Detention Center – The GDC would like to transfer the property to the Department of Juvenile Justice to be used as a youth detention center.
Milledgeville Property – The GDC would like to lease the property on a long-term basis to a private prison company to be used for the building and operation of a private prison. The State would then retain the property after the lease is up.
VI. Old or New Business
Mr. Carver has resigned from the Board.
The next GDC meeting will be held on February 5, 2009.
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