‘EVERY DAY IT GETS WORSE’: STATE PRISON WORKERS DETAIL LOW MORALE AND HIGH TURNOVER TO JUDICIARY COMMITTEE

It was like two opposite universes Friday at the State Capitol when it came to the status of the state’s troubled prison system. In the morning, prison security staff provided stern and tearful pleas that more must be done to enhance salaries to address high staff turnover, low morale and safety concerns for State Department of Correctional Services workers. In the afternoon, Corrections Director Scott Frakes outlined several signs of progress in his agency, including expansion of rehabilitation programs, a new 100-bed prison dormitory and a new evaluation tool to guide inmates to needed programs. “Despite some very serious events, we have been able to move forward,” Frakes said. There was one clear sign of progress reported Friday: 365 more low-level felons and 939 inmates on post-release supervision are under probation supervision now. Those were two reforms undertaken in recent years to reduce prison overcrowding and costs, by avoiding more expensive incarceration behind bars.