30 Dec 2022 Recap
Whew! What a year! After the dumpster fire of 2020 and mostly Covid19 regrouping in 2021, 2022 has proven that there is actually “joy in the morning.” This is my first end-of-the-year report and I really regret that I haven’t kept you all up-to-date on past years (but really, who cares about the last two years?). I’ll try not to make that mistake again but, for now, I’d like to share some of the highlights of 2022 and give thanks and praise to God and thank YOU for your continued support of our program.
This year has seen some wonderful things happen for us. To begin with, one of my favorite accomplishments has been to establish a brand new board. This took time, patience and prayer and I am so happy about the wonderful people who have volunteered to serve. We had our very first board meeting July 20, 2022 in Monroe, La. where the board was given a tour of the Monroe facilities and got a first hand look at both our program and mission. A lot was accomplished in that first meeting and I am looking forward to many more years of working alongside these wonderful COF Board Members.
In June and August of this year, COF rolled out a brand new system of resident accountability using smart phone technology. This replaces the ankle monitoring system we have used for the past 20 or so years. The purpose of this update was to give our home confinement residents the opportunity to carry a phone for accountability purposes rather than constantly being subjected to the stigma of having to wear an ankle bracelet. Additionally, this system affords COF staff to keep a closer eye on our residents with more accuracy and less human error. We have seen an 83% reduction in home confinement program failures since this implementation and we are extremely happy with this data. Many thanks to the wonderful people at Corrisoft for coming all the way from Kentucky to see that we get it right and who daily answer our calls and who have become life-long friends.
September proved to be a bittersweet month for COF. With the closing of our Monroe Louisiana state reentry program in 2020, we no longer had need of our beautiful first COF location on Jackson Street (House 1). Unfortunately, this house was also home to the kitchen that fed our federal folks. We had no choice but to close the kitchen when the decision was made to sell House 1. Thankfully we were able to begin a food contract with St. Francis Hospital. This is proving to be a great decision and we are grateful to the good people of Sodexo and the hospital staff for taking us on with such kindness and cooperation. The food is delicious and to be honest, what else matters in life?
Also in September, COF established its first ever formally identified leadership team. This team consists of myself, Allen Winkler, Troy Adams, Sam Williams and facility directors Mike South (LR), Lisa Lavergne (BR) and Lisa Harper (Monroe). By implementing a program called Entrepreneurial Operations Systems (EOS), we have been able to streamline our program and show more program consistency among all three facilities. With the implementation of our new corporate board and new programming elements, we found ourselves having to reorganize and update. This program has helped us focus on our future and clarify our goals. Many thanks to our pal, Drew Spurgers who has done a lot of hand holding throughout our intense training. We’ll be happy to share more about this program by providing a link. 5 stars, highly recommend.
We may be late to the party but in November, COF finally established an IT department. (Can I get an amen? Praise be? Blessed be the fruit? Too much?) Many thanks to former case manager Michael Blox for easily transitioning into his new role as Data and Systems Manager.
Another first for COF is the last quarter of the year saw all three facilities earning superior interim Bureau of Prisons monitorings; absolutely zero deficiencies. Congratulations to all who work tirelessly to not only obtain our reputation of providing quality service but maintaining that reputation as well. I stand in awe of the team God has put together for us. I may be a little biased (ok. A lot biased) but I do believe our team is the best in the business.
We have so much to be grateful for and we humbly thank God and our friends for the blessings we receive. It’s not lost on me that there is no way we could operate one single day without His support and yours. Please agree with us in prayer that COF will operate with wisdom and integrity and we will keep our eyes fixed on the One who matters most.
Happy New Year!