On Thursday, January 11, 2024, Sheriff Fred Akshar of the Broome County Sheriff’s Office delivered the 2023 Corrections Progress Report.

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In his address, Akshar highlighted the positive changes and reforms that have taken place at the Correctional Facility over the past year. The 2023 Corrections Progress Report outlines over a dozen improvements that have made the facility a safer and healthier environment for everyone involved.

Broome County Sherriff's Office
Broome County Sherriff's Office

The Sheriff commended the hard work and dedication of the Corrections Reentry Reform Advisory Group and the staff at the Correctional Facility for their contribution to these positive changes. He emphasized that the facility is now in a much better place and heading in a much better direction than it was a year ago.

Reentry Reform Advisory Group

Among the highlights of the progress report is the establishment of the Reentry Reform Advisory Group, a team of professionals, advocates, and previously incarcerated individuals who have been meeting monthly to discuss issues and improvements within the Correctional Facility since December 2022.

Recruitment and Training

Another significant achievement mentioned in the report is the recruitment and training of 31 new Corrections Officers, the largest and most diverse class ever hired by the BCSO, to address the staffing crisis that existed in January 2023. This ensures the safety and security of those living and working in the facility.

Visitation Policy Changes

The BCSO has also improved the visitation policy, tripling the number of visitation hours available to loved ones of incarcerated individuals. This change provides more flexibility to accommodate visitors with work or other schedule restrictions.

Broome County Sherriff's Office
Broome County Sherriff's Office

New Jail Administrator

The report also mentions the appointment of Major Robert Charpinsky as the Jail Administrator of the Correctional Facility. Major Charpinsky oversaw a comprehensive review and update of policies for the Use of Force, De-escalation, and Duty to Intervene. This ensures a more effective and accountable approach to maintaining order within the facility.

Educational Programs for Incarcerated Individuals

The BCSO has greatly expanded support and education programs for incarcerated individuals by partnering with various community organizations. Over 30 hours of weekly programming and services have been made available to inmates, including a new Facility Garden. These initiatives aim to provide individuals with the tools and resources they need to reintegrate into society upon release successfully.

Corrections Criminal Investigation Team

To enhance safety and security, the BCSO has added a new Corrections Criminal Investigations Team, including additional staff and a K-9 unit. These measures help to identify and address any potential threats within the facility.

L.E.A.R.N. Program

The introduction of the L.E.A.R.N. (Life Skills, Education and Accountability for Reentry Navigation) program has also been a major achievement. This program provides inmates with access to over 60 hours of education, self-improvement, and workforce development training on their tablets. Since its inception, over 400 inmates have completed more than 4,800 individual training courses.

Overall Improvements

The report also highlights improvements in food quality, accountability of medical and mental health providers, and the implementation of a more efficient inmate request and grievance system. These changes aim to ensure that the individuals in the facility receive the necessary care and support for their well-being.

Future Plans

Plans for the coming year include expanding partnerships with organizations such as the Addiction Center of Broome County to provide Substance Use Disorder (SUD) treatment, hiring additional Discharge Planners to support successful reentry, and improving security measures through facility-wide camera upgrades and the implementation of a Gang Intelligence Unit.

Sheriff Akshar concluded by acknowledging the positive change in culture, atmosphere, and attitude within the Correctional Facility. He expressed gratitude for the support and investment from the community, and the dedication of the corrections staff who are committed to facilitating productive and positive outcomes for everyone involved.

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