McCOOK, Nebraska -- Pam Morello, warden at the Nebraska Department of Correction Services' Work Ethic Camp in McCook, announced an anticipated reduction of road crew members in July in an effort to address possible legislative cuts to the correction facility's budget.
"It's not something we wanted to do, but with budgetary constraints it's something we had to do." said Morello. "We will still try to get to all of our communities, but it may be less frequent than before." The change will occur at the start of the next fiscal year.
So far this fiscal year, the road crews have worked 1,199 hours, and since inception have worked a total of 326,721 hours, saving the state $2,368,727.
Also discussed during the meeting were the five job openings at the work ethic camp: one case worker position, one custody worker position, two food service jobs, and one chemical dependency position. The MWEC has one employee who is on active military duty.
The MWEC is going to be offering classes for all agencies in the area for new hires. "If the Red Willow County [Sheriff's] Office or the McCook Police Department hires a new officer, then they won't have to go all the way to Grand Island for all of their training," said Morello. The classes are designed to cut travel costs for area public safety departments.
The MWEC also offers classes for inmates and parolees to help them receive their GED or help with receiving training to get a job. They currently are the only correction facility in the state to offer the welding program and other classes for business technology training.
The quarterly demographics report for the MWEC shows that as of Jan. 31;
* There were 147 inmate and probation offenders. According to Morello, there were 162 offenders as of Thursday, Feb. 24.
* 83 percent of the discharges in January were successful with only seven discharges deemed unsuccessful. Unsuccessful discharges can depend on the inmate's behavior as well as the facility's ability to medically help the inmate.
* Of the 147 offenders, 33 are female and 114 are male.
* The average age is 29.
* 40 percent of offenders at MWEC have alcohol dependency issues, 29 percent have marijuana dependency, 14 percent have meth-amphetamine dependency and 3 percent have other dependencies. The camp offers on-site support to help them overcome these issues.
* 32 percent of the members who are at MWEC participate in the education classes offered. 37 percent have received their GED.
"We have a high success rate," said Morello. "It gives them a better chance when they get re-assimilated. We want to give them the best chance to not re-offend."
* The MWEC race breakdown is 65 percent white, 20 percent black, 9 percent Hispanic, 3 percent Native American, 2 percent other, and 1 percent is Asian.
The next MWEC Community Involvement Committee meeting is May 10.