Wednesday June 19, 2013
Final Message from Tom ClementsSalem-News.com
Murdered prison director's final message to Colorado
(DENVER) - Many Americans already know that Colorado's Department of Corrections (DOC) Chief, Tom Clements, was shot to death at his own front door a few hours ago. What many may not know, is that this same event took place in Oregon back in 1989. Oregon DOC Director Michael Francke was murdered, his body found hours after he went missing, on the steps of Oregon's historic prison headquarters building. Even 'America's Most Wanted' featured the crime as part of an episode after it was adjudicated.
The message is clear, if a corrections directors is honest, willing to work for the benefit of people, and also to speak out and challenge dangerous problems in their state, their lives are endangered.
We will bring you more information on Mr. Clements' tragic shooting. For now, we located his final message to Colorado - that likely will be pulled down soon in light of his death.
Here is Mr. Clements' last public message:
In many ways, Colorado has experienced a challenging season. From late spring, through the summer, and into the fall Coloradoans have fought destructive wild fires. In addition, we were all shocked by a mass shooting in Aurora. Through all of the challenges, Coloradoans have pulled together to support and assist each other. The courage, generosity and resilience of Colorado citizens paved the path toward recovery from these tragic events.
The Department of Corrections (DOC) has also faced difficult times. The loss of our colleague and friend Sergeant Mary Ricard killed on September 24, 2012, in the line of duty, and the assault on Sergeant Lori Gann, at the Arkansas Valley Correctional Facility. This tragic incident will forever remain in our minds.
The DOC has engaged in many new opportunities as well. Colorado’s prison population has continued to decline at a historic rate. In FY 2011-2012 the jurisdictional population declined by 1,573 and it continues to decrease. Efforts to right size our prison system included closing the Fort Lyon Correctional Facility on February 29, 2012, and closing the Colorado State Penitentiary II on November 1, 2012. Additionally, this summer a total of 317 beds were taken offline at the Trinidad Correctional Facility (100), Sterling Correctional Facility (100) and Buena Vista Correctional Facility (117).
Last year we established a “strategic planning process” through which goals were identified to improve efficiency, effectiveness and elegance in our operations. The Department’s 2012-2013 Strategic Plan focused on strategies to improve organizational practices and enhance offender success. We also established public safety mission focused objectives and key performance indicators to measure our progress. One example is the changes made in administrative segregation policies and operations. The Department introduced changes in administrative segregation which resulted in a decline in the number of offenders being managed in this security level. The number of offenders being released from administrative segregation directly to the community was reduced by half, which is a significant community safety consideration. We have made tremendous progress on many objectives since the development of the Department’s 2012-2013 Strategic Plan. We have more work to do.
The Department’s 2013-2014 Strategic Plan continues to move us forward toward our vision of “building a safer Colorado for today and tomorrow”. Our new objectives focus on improving the delivery of quality mental health programs, implementing the new federal legislation for the Prison Rape Elimination Act, and applying the Lean process improvement system to achieve our strategic initiatives.
Last year the General Assembly provided the Department with two opportunities to evaluate systems, practices, and programs. The first, in response to the Department’s population decline, the General Assembly passed House Bill 12-1336. The bill calls for the Governor’s Office of State Planning and Budget (OSPB) to contract for an independent Prison Utilization Study. In October OSPB contracted with the CNA Corporation to complete the analysis. The purpose of the study is to determine the most appropriate and cost-effective uses of available private and state prison beds. The analysis has begun and all areas of the Department will be working closely with this study. Quarterly updates will be provided to the Joint Budget Committee and a preliminary report on the study is expected to the Judiciary Committees of the Colorado Senate and House by January 31, 2013.
Secondly, the General Assembly provided funding to hire an outside agency to review the Department’s sex offender treatment program and analyze the program’s consistency with nationally accepted evidence based practices and other success factors. The vendor for the study, Central Coast Clinical and Forensic Psychology Service, has been on-site several times this fall. The research team will have a report on their findings and recommendations to the DOC by the end of December, 2012.
The Department’s successes are due to the hard work and daily contributions of each Department employee. As we continue to strive toward our vision, I look forward to working beside the employees of the Colorado Department of Corrections in collaboration with members of the legislature and stakeholder groups to provide the best correctional services possible for the citizens of Colorado.
Together we are “building a safer Colorado for today and tomorrow.”
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