Contact: Diane Wiffin, Dir. Public Affairs
September 15, 2004
September 15, 2004
Statement from Commissioner Kathleen M. Dennehy regarding the creation of a Department of Correction Advisory Council
At a press conference held on September 15, 2004 with Governor Mitt Romney, Secretary of Public Safety Edward Flynn, and former Attorney General Scott Harshbarger, Department of Correction Commissioner Kathleen M. Dennehy made the following remarks regarding the creation of a Department of Correction Advisory Council.
I look forward to working with the Department of Correction Advisory Council and continuing to work with Mr. Harshbarger. The creation of this Council will enhance the DOC's ability to implement reform in the Massachusetts correctional system.
Over the past year, a spotlight has been focused on the Department of Correction. On October 17, 2003, the Governor established the Governor's Commission on Corrections Reform, chaired by Mr. Harshbarger, to conduct a comprehensive review of the DOC. The resulting report, presented on June 30, 2004, detailed the need for corrections reform, with the expectation that many of these reforms would be implemented immediately.
We have been hard at work doing just that. Key managers from across the agency have worked with me to develop a feasibility assessment and strategic implementation plan for each of the 18 major recommendations outlined in the Commission's report. This document has become our blueprint for reform, and it is our action plan for change. As an action plan, I consider it a working document that will be evaluated, modified and updated as we move ahead with implementation of the recommendations.
Yesterday, I was joined by Undersecretary Bradley, Mr. Harshbarger and members of the Governor's Commission on Corrections Reform as I outlined our blueprint for reform to more than 230 Department of Correction managers.
Some changes can be made quickly-and have already been done. Other changes, which will require stakeholder support, legislative action and collective bargaining agreements, may take longer. But rest assured, the DOC is committed to making measurable change to its culture, philosophy, policies, procedures and management practices. We know that reform is necessary and that it is good. As an agency, we welcome it.
Over the past nine months, the DOC has evaluated the major systems impacting our operations - inmate discipline, inmate classification, the grievance process and internal investigations. The vision and mission statements of the agency were revised so that they included a focus on the agency goals of promoting public safety through the safe, secure, humane confinement and successful community re-entry of our offender population. A set of departmental core values were also established to help set the tone for a culture that looks to the future, embraces change and is committed to continuously improving.
Reform of this agency has been and must continue to be a collaborative effort on the part of many. With todays' Executive Order creating the Department of Correction Advisory Council, the Commonwealth is taking another step toward realizing true reform. There is no doubt that the Council will aid the DOC in bringing these changes to light and they will assist us in strengthening our links with stakeholders, the public, the legislature, and the media.
As I have said on many occasions, the Department of Correction is committed to operating an open and transparent department, and this Council will help us do just that. Thank you.