OMH (Keep it local)
LEGISLATORS, WE HAVE A PROBLEM
Inmates do not get the basic education, job skills,
and substance abuse treatment they need to lead law-abiding lives
once they are released back into the community;
that's why over 50 percent of DOCS inmates return to prison.
FACT: Despite an increase in the prison population of almost 15,700 inmates since 1990, there has been an increase of only 7 program services positions. In 1990, there was one program services staff for every 15 inmates, while today there is one for every 19 inmates. Ten of the 14 prisons identified for double bunk reductions were in operation in 1990. Staffing for program services at these prisons is already 65 positions below 1990 levels. This results in fewer inmates meaningfully occupied in prison.
FACT: The inmate population under custody at DOCS is severely in need of program services. Almost 14,000 inmates are functionally illiterate and another 18,000 read below the eight-grade level. Over 35,000 inmates have not completed high school. Almost 40,000 admit to prior drug use and over 25,000 have a serious alcohol problem. Few have the job skills necessary for legitimate employment.
FACT: The incoming population has even more need for services. 27 percent of new admissions in 2000 had co-occurring alcohol and drug use problems, compared to 23 percent of the total inmate population. 20 percent of the new admissions have an alcohol problem and no high school degree, compared to 16 percent of the total inmate population.
FACT: Study after study has shown that inmates who earn a high school degree or successfully complete a substance abuse program in prison have significantly lower recidivism rates than inmates who do not complete these programs. Despite this evidence, DOCS reports that there are approximately 4,800 inmates on active waiting lists for academic programs, 9,300 inmates on active waiting lists for vocational programs, and 11,300 inmates on active waiting lists for substance abuse treatment (ASAT) programs.
FACT: The increased use of Special Housing Units (30 percent of the maximum-security population) for inmates with discipline problems in maximum-security prisons has increased the need for program services staff. Inmates who would have been locked down in their cells, not needing programming, are now in SHUs and are replaced in the general population by inmates who need to receive program services.
FACT: Eliminating waiting lists by filling vacant program services positions could save DOCS $42 million a year. A 5 percent reduction in the recidivism rate could reduce the number of inmates returned to prison by 1,400 inmates at a cost of at least $30,000 each per year.
A Plan to Reduce Recidivism
Require DOCS inmates to meet the education standards for Federal prisons. U.S. Bureau of Prisons policy requires inmates confined in a federal institution who do not have a GED or high school diploma to attend an adult literacy program for a minimum of 120 calendar days or until a GED is achieved, whichever occurs first. This policy creates incentives to encourage inmates to complete the literacy program. This proposal would require 79 additional teachers and its annual cost would be $3 million.
Improve Pre-Release programs. Inmate instructors and a Correction Counselor, who also carries a regular inmate caseload and has individual and group counseling responsibilities, currently manage these programs. It is difficult to keep a well-trained, trusted and experienced cadre of inmate instructors to run these important programs. Pre-release services would be significantly improved by assigning a Correction Counselor at each major general confinement facility the sole responsibility of providing these services with no other caseload responsibilities. This proposal would require an additional 44 Correction Counselor positions and would cost approximately $1.5 million annually.
Reinstate substance abuse programming in maximum security prisons. 80 percent of the inmate population have a need for substance abuse programming. Substance abuse programs are no longer offered in New York's maximum security prisons even though 2,500 inmates or more are directly released from these facilities. Reinstating substance abuse treatment programs in maximum-security facilities would require 21 additional Correction Counselor and ASAT Program Assistant positions and cost approximately $1million annually.
Expand vocational technology schools to all general confinement facilities. There are currently only 14 Vocational Technology shops that exist in the DOCS system. There is an extensive waiting list for this program. The program trains inmates in a wide variety of skills related to the building, repairing, and upgrading of computer hardware and remediation of computer software problems. These skills are in great demand and are likely to lead to a good paying job upon release from prison. The program also allows DOCS to meet some of its own computer needs at a significantly reduced cost. Expanding the vocational computer technology program to all general confinement, maximum, and medium security facilities would require 28 additional Vocational Instructors at a cost of approximately $1.9 million.
Reduce recidivism and inmate idleness.
Make our communities safer.
Maintain DOCS program services staffing.
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LEGISLATORS, WE HAVE A PROBLEM
The quality of our roads and bridges is deteriorating
while we waste limited transportation dollars
on costly consultant engineers.
Enact the bi-partisan recommendations of two different state comptrollers and require the state Department of Transportation (dot) to hire 400 state engineers over the next two years. This will reduce the state's reliance on more expensive consultant engineers and enable the Legislature to make more efficient use of funding for engineering services.
FACT: According to a February 2000 study by RPI, New York's highways have the highest percentage of deficient pavement in the country. The state's bridges are ranked 50th in the nation, with 40 percent needing major repairs.
FACT: Three different studies provide irrefutable evidence that the state is wasting tax dollars by continuing its reliance on costly private consultants while under staffing in-house engineers. A recent KPMG study essentially confirmed the conclusions of two audits by different State Comptrollers that engineers employed by DOT are less costly than private consultants.
FACT: DOT continues to understaff its less costly in-house engineers while relying on expensive consultants. Since July 1999, DOT has lost over 50 employees in engineering titles and now has 253 vacancies in those titles. DOT has also eliminated over 100 engineering positions since 1995.
FACT: The recent KPMG study found that consultants are approximately 75% more costly than in-house resources for comparable design projects and are more expensive to use for 85% of such comparable projects. This confirms the findings of the 1990 audit conducted by Comptroller Ned Regan and the 1998 audit by Comptroller Carl McCall.
FACT: In 1998, Comptroller Carl McCall concluded that DOT engaged in many private consulting contracts for routine services that could have been performed at a lower cost by state employees.
FACT: The recent KPMG study found that consultant overhead rates are approximately 32 percent higher than in-house overhead rates for design projects and 29 percent higher than in-house overhead rates for construction inspection projects. This confirms the 1998 McCall audit which indicated that not only are there huge salary disparities between private contractors and State employees, but the indirect costs are also higher.
FACT: According to the KPMG figures, the state could save over $75 million dollars a year by using DOT engineers exclusively. Based on the average size of consultant contracts, 11 additional projects each year could be financed.
FACT: In 1994 the governor pledged to make greater use of State engineers. The governor's campaign said the State could save $180 million by using State engineers at DOT instead of consulting engineers. Unfortunately, DOT has followed the exact opposite policy.
A plan to make more efficient use of
funding for engineering services:
Direct DOT to hire 400 additional state-employed engineers over the next 2 years.
Direct DOT to fill 200 engineering positions in SFY 2001-02, or 56 more than 144 positions requested in the Executive Budget.
Shift between $1.8 and $2.37 million from money earmarked for consultant engineers in the Engineering Services Fund to pay for the additional 56 state engineer positions needed in SFY2001-02.
Squeeze the value out of every transportation dollar
Shift funding earmarked for costly consulting
engineers to employ cost-effective state engineers.
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Ensure the mentally ill receive quality
public services from the office of mental health.
Clients need legislators who will amend the Executive Budget to:
Increase direct care staffing levels at our psychiatric centers by 346 positions.
Maintain the Shared Staff program in OMH as a state operated services.
The Legislature should provide funding to restore and enhance professional clinical staffing in OMH facilities and programs.
FACT: Fewer staff will be caring for an increasingly younger population characterized by histories of violence, criminal involvement, multiple substance abuse problems, and health problems. In OMH psychiatric centers today nearly one in four patients has a history of criminal convictions.
FACT: Accident rates at OMH have increased significantly in the past decade, from 18.5 accidents per hundred employees in SFY1989-90 to 27.8 accidents per hundred employees in SFY1999-2000. Accident rates at forensic facilities are particularly high, currently 46.7 accidents for every hundred employees.
FACT: High vacancy rates compromise patient safety. Over one quarter of all professional positions in OMH are vacant, despite the elimination of over 2,000 positions since 1994.
FACT: Short staffing has resulted in the excessive use of overtime. OMH will spend over $42 million this year on overtime, an almost 20 percent increase from a year ago. Every single day, OMH employees work over 4,400 hours of overtime, the equivalent of 550 extra employees.
The Legislature should reject the Executive Budget proposal to transfer funding for shared staffing to local assistance, thereby eliminating 165 shared staff positions.
FACT: Shared Staffing professionals are responsible for ensuring care for the mentally ill in the community and provide expertise to local mental health programs, many in smaller counties that need additional resources. Their clients will needlessly suffer from the disruption of their treatment. Some programs may be totally eliminated if funding is not restored.
FACT: Shared Staffing professionals provide clinical, case management, day treatment, home care, and emergency room screening services. These employees provide services that prevent their clients from needing the compulsory outpatient treatment imposed by Kendra's Law.
FACT: Shared staff will be forced to choose between accepting a significant reduction in pay and benefits, or abandoning the clients they have served for many years. This problem will be caused by a lack of county resources and current local civil service and salary structures. Many staff not offered county jobs will be forced to travel over 11/2 hours each way to work in a psychiatric center.
ENSURE NY's MENTALLY ILL
RECEIVE QUALITY THERAPEUTIC CARE.
Provide safe in-patient staffing levels
by adding 346 direct care positions.
Keep the state-operated shared staff program.
Keep quality services at the Office of Mental Health!
OMH(Keep it local)
Keep mental health inpatient services local.
Keep facilities independent.
Keep forensic facilities separate.
Legislators need to maintain all treatment options for the mentally ill:
Reject the closure of Middletown and Hutchings Psychiatric Centers (PCs).
Reject the relocation of Sagamore, Rockland, Western NY and Queens Children's PCs onto the grounds of adult facilities.
Reject the relocation of Kirby Forensic Psychiatric Center to Manhattan Psychiatric Center.
Reject the governor's proposed Community Mental Health Reinvestment Act changes.
Inpatient services at Hutchings and Middletown PCs are needed in their communities.
FACT: Thirty-two years ago the state budget called for smaller and much needed facilities for the mentally ill...closer to their homes. Middletown and Hutchings have achieved that goal.
FACT: Inpatient psychiatric care should be local and accessible. The closure of Middletown and Hutchings PCs would deprive local residents of accessible psychiatric care and force families to add an hour or more to their travel time for visits. This will negatively affect patient care, particularly for children for whom visitation is an integral element of therapy.
FACT: Inpatient services are a critical part of the service network. Middletown and Hutchings are the cornerstones in a community-centered model of mental health care with services integrated between the inpatient facilities and community supports and resources, many directly on the PC campus.
FACT: OMH has exaggerated the costs needed for renovations to the facilities they propose closing and overstated their alleged re-accreditation problems. Hutchings and Middletown received the highest possible accreditation status, Accredited with Commendation, in their 1998 Joint Commission on Healthcare Organizations surveys. OMH has estimated the total capital cost of repairs for the Middletown and Hutchings PCs to be $70 million or approximately $233,000 per bed. OMH's estimates warrant an independent value engineering review before any action is taken on these facilities.
FACT: Middletown has been nationally and internationally recognized for its Treatment Mall concept, an innovative advancement in psychiatric treatment which has been duplicated in 60 programs in 30 states.
FACT: The cost benefit of closing Hutchings does not outweigh the therapeutic benefits of a well-designed psychiatric center. Hutchings is designed like a garden apartment complex, very accessible and patient-friendly. Because it houses eight to 11 patients per unit, it requires a higher staff-to-patient ratio than a typical 20-patient ward.
The proposal to move the children's hospitals onto the grounds of adult hospitals is dangerous and counter-therapeutic.
FACT: Mentally-ill children need special separate, psychiatric care. The American Academy of Child an Adolescent Psychiatry recommends treatment of young people with mental illness in programs that are ... physically distinct from programs for adult psychiatric patients.
FACT: Lower visitation rates will impede therapeutic progress. Visitation may decline if parents are reluctant to enter the grounds of the adult hospitals. Lower visitation affects patient behavior, particularly in the form of acting out, which in turn affects staff and erodes the therapeutic environment for all patients.
Children's psychiatric hospitals are better physically adapted to treating children. The existing facilities were built exclusively for children and resemble a school campus.
Dangerous forensic patients should not be located on the grounds with the general population at Manhattan PC.
FACT: Kirby houses criminals transferred directly from jail. The general population should not be exposed to these more dangerous and violent patients.
The new Community Reinvestment Act unfairly pits inpatient services against local service enhancements.
FACT: Increased raises for private sector mental health workers should not be linked to reducing necessary inpatient services. A decision on salary enhancements should be made on its own merits.
Don't make the road to recovery get any longer.
Stop cutting services to the mentally ill.
Defend patients' rights to local high-quality therapeutic care.
Ensure that mentally-ill children have safe, quality care.
Keep mentally-ill criminals away from other mentally-ill patients.
Improve the quality of services provided to the mentally ill in New York State.
Last Year's Fact Sheets