Cumberland Times-News

Letters

March 2, 2013

It’s money well-spent

Costs for American Correctional Association (ACA) accreditation, approximately $12,000 spread over a three-year period, are an investment Maryland is sure to gain from.

They provide for third-party, nationally known expert auditors from across the country to come and audit our prisons. We know this because ACA accreditation is already here in Maryland at two of our largest institutions — Western Correctional Institution and Eastern Correctional Institution.

Moreover, the State would pay these fees for only 21 additional institutions, not the 32 mentioned in a Feb. 22 letter to the editor (“Passage of this bill could cost considerable amount of money”).

 When I arrived in Maryland to head the state’s correctional system in 2007, it was widely known as the one of the most violent prison systems in the U.S.

With support from the O’Malley-Brown Administration, creating safer prisons for our correctional officers became a top priority. The same goes for the offenders under our care. This began in 2007 with the closing of the Maryland House of Correction, one of, if not the most, violent prisons in the country.

Since then, thanks to a relentless focus on developing gang intelligence, sharing information with local law enforcement, capturing more contraband, interdicting illegal cell phones, and a $1.1 million investment in to security entrance technology, we’ve driven down serious assaults on staff by 65 percent throughout our state-run correctional facilities.

Serious inmate-on-inmate violence is also down by 47 percent over the same time.

All of this has been made possible through the hard work of our correctional officers and employees working together to meet our mission — to keep the public, our employees and offenders under our care safe.

 With this groundwork in place, we will utilize ACA accreditation to build upon our success and take us to the next level.

This will help us create a standardization of policies, procedures and training — based on national best correctional practices — which will propel us to becoming one of the best correctional systems in the country.

Savings would be realized by taxpayers through more efficiently run prison. Reduced liability, better employee retention, fewer workmen’s compensation claims, a more efficient inmate grievance process, and less state audits are all benefits of ACA accreditation.

 The benefits of ACA accreditation at the Western and Eastern Correctional Institutions can be seen when comparing these facilities with others in Maryland of similar security levels during FY12:

• $566 in workers compensation incurred per employee in accredited facilities, versus $1,001 per employee in non-accredited facilities;

• Less staff attrition when compared to non-accredited facilities in their geographic region of the state, a probable indication of better morale;

• Fewer instances of staff discipline in accredited institutions than those that are not accredited;

• The inmate MRSA (a bacterium responsible for many difficult-to-treat infections) rate in our accredited facilities is 1 percent versus 2 percent at non-accredited facilities;

• 100 percent per capita of inmates in accredited facilities trust and use the inmate grievance process, versus 59 percent in non-accredited facilities;

 The Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services is building a system of true excellence and ACA accreditation will get us there.

This will challenge us to stay on the cutting edge of correctional practices and holds us accountable for efficiency in our operations — something every taxpayer can appreciate in a government agency.

 Gary D. Maynard, secretary

Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services

1
Text Only
Letters
  • President and Obamacare: Who needs Congress?

    Being a fellow from a small town like Cumberland I don’t always really understand what’s going on in Washington. But I have watched a few houses being built over the years. I even helped some with one house, but my brother fired me from that work pretty quickly, mainly because it was his house being built.

    April 22, 2014

  • Sweet Success Business Forum this evening in Frostburg

    As a member of the Frostburg Business and Professional Association (FBPA), I am pleased to inform the community of the “Sweet Success” event sponsored by the city of Frostburg and our organization.

    April 22, 2014

  • You can help United Way reach its goal

    The United Way of Allegany County campaign for 2013-14 will end April 30 and to date has raised more than $430,000, which is over 86 percent of its goal. But there is still $70,000 to be raised in a very short time.

    April 21, 2014

  • Support the March for Babies May 3 at Canal Place

    At the March of Dimes, we promise to work tirelessly toward the day when all babies are born healthy.
    The March of Dimes has worked for more than 75 years to help babies get a healthy start in life.

    April 20, 2014

  • Celebrate Earth Day every day: Reduce, reuse and recycle

    April 1 marked the beginning of April Envi- ronmental Education Month in Maryland — and with Earth Day coming up on April 22, Maryland has much to celebrate.

    April 20, 2014

  • Support Canal classrooms with tax-deductible gift

    While your April 17 article (“Park Service opens Canal classrooms,” Page 1A) described this exciting program accurately, your readers may be wondering how they can help support this new educational opportunity for school children in Allegany County.

    April 18, 2014

  • Ivan Hall story brings back memories of a unique man

    I enjoyed Mike Sawyers’ Ivan Hall story. It was well written and brought back some wonderful memories of my Cumberland days and especially, an unique man.

    April 18, 2014

  • It’s a secret It’s a secret

    Could someone enlighten us about why not even the names of the two entities bidding on development of the Footer Dye Works building can be divulged?
    A Times-News article about the bids included an explanation from a lawyer for the attorney general’s office about the need to keep the names and other information secret at this time. Despite that, the logic of not divulging at least a little more information escapes us.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • What do we do about those who weren’t criminals after all?

    Now that Maryland has become the 17th state to (finally) decriminalize possession of marijuana, one could say that the legislature and governor should be patted on the back for doing the right thing.

    April 17, 2014

  • Which approach to the school makes sense?

    What exactly is the long-range plan, according to the Allegany County Commissioners?
    I’ve read in the Cumberland Times-News that the current County Commissioners intend to spend $9 million to construct a new high school.

    April 16, 2014

Latest news
Facebook
Must Read
House Ads