Florida Department of Corrections employees won four 2011 Prudential-Davis Productivity Awards for innovations including hydroponic gardens, more efficient laundry and food services and a computer application designed to enhance lock and key security.
Annual savings ranged from $33,000 on food preparation costs to over $9,000 a year on the cost of inmate linens and pillowcases.
The Prudential-Davis Productivity awards are given annually to recognize and reward state employees whose work increases productivity, promotes innovation and saves money for Florida taxpayers and businesses.
Meet Our Winners:
Plaque Winners: Charlotte CI Lt. Mark Meier, and Sgt. Thomas Duncan
Nominator: Colonel Derek Snider
This team developed an all natural hydroponics garden using 90% recycled items and scrap material from the correctional institution.
Vegetables including collard and mustard greens, tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce from this 20 ft by 40 ft hydroponic garden have successfully fed approximately 1,200 inmates housed at Charlotte Correctional Institution since January 2010.
Each garden contains approximately 1,200 plants that would normally require two acres of land for planting. Hydroponic gardens are ideal for prisons with limited acreage. This garden has saved Charlotte Correctional Institution approximately $1,700 yearly in vegetable costs. Charlotte recently added another 20ft by 40ft hydroponic garden, which is projected to save Charlotte Correctional Institution $3,400 yearly in vegetable costs.
In addition, Lt. Meier and Sgt. Duncan trained staff throughout the State on how to implement this system at their home institutions, spreading the savings statewide.
This process is projected to save the State of Florida conservatively over $285,000 in food costs annually. In addition, inmates are learning a valuable skill that could assist them in finding employment upon release, and also requires them to practice math and science skills, and instills in them a sense of pride.
Plaque Winners: ACI Sgt. Daniel Grover, Correctional Officer Christie Dolan
Nominator: Asst. Warden John Barfield
Sgt. Grover and CO Dolan were having problems with a vendor with unpredictable shipments of necessary goods. They were faced with not being able to readily provide the Apalachee CI inmate population with linens, towels, washcloths, sheets, pillowcases, laundry bags, belts, and mattress covers because of delayed turnaround times and backorders with their vendor.
Policies in place prevented them from purchasing the finished items from another source. To overcome these obstacles, they conducted extensive research, compiling contacts and information on the acquisition of raw materials to make into finished goods.
After laying the groundwork for the purchasing of the items, the nominees bought a Serger sewing machine and raw materials. They then taught themselves and the inmates in their charge how to use the sewing machine and make these goods, and were able to provide finished products efficiently, expeditiously, and of higher quality than those they were purchasing from the unpredictable vendor.
They were also able to provide the goods in larger quantities, for less money. The nominees' efforts saved Florida Taxpayers an estimated $9,001.85 in an 11-month period and continue to find innovative ways to become more efficient. They have shared their success with laundry staff in other institutions, ensuring these savings will continue to spread.
Plaque Winners: Systems Project Analysts Tim Sullivan, John Ruocco, Craig Simons, Orlando Cabanas, Mark Wright, Ken Callahan, Thomas Bonesteel, CO Sgt. Robert VanNess, Sr. Database Analyst Jeff Crum, CSC Marie Ritter, CSC Thomas Hester, CO Sgt. Stephen Farrow, Syst. Proj. Administrators Tommy Miller, Tommy Tucker, Brett Ross, Asst. Data Center Director Dale Gore, CO John Gillette, Systems Project Cons. Mark Cann, Sam Caines, Joseph Locke, CO Sgt. Robert Williams, CO Sgt. James Nelson, CO Sgt. Roger Mathis, CO Sgt. Kevin Riley, Systems Program Admin (retired) Regina Blackstock, CO Jody Chopp, Chief of Systems Development John Kerski, CO Patricia Osika, CO John Henson, Chief of Security Operations James Upchurch, and CO Sgt. Christopher Philipp
Nominator: Asst. Data Center Director Dale Gore
Problem: Every prison had a different way of tracking the many locks and keys that are an integral part of a correctional facility. Some used Excel spreadsheets or Access, some did it by hand in notebooks and three ring binders.
Solution: A standardized, web-based method for tracking what key unlocks what door, who has custody of the key and when, and even allows the user to drill down to see pictures of who should be in possession of the key and even what the building looks like where the keys and locks are housed.
The lead software developers were Dale Gore, Tim Sullivan, Mark Wright, John Ruocco and Joe Locke but there were 31 staff involved, with vital input coming from the Correctional Officer Sergeants who are generally the custodians of the keys.
Already in use at Calhoun, Santa Rosa, Lancaster, Baker, Central Florida Reception Center and Taylor Correctional Institutions, plans are to roll it out statewide soon.
This centralized database with increased security and enhanced reporting would have cost more than $50,000 from a private vendor, but was instead created in-house with custom-made features. Plans are to create a similar system for the Department's arsenals.
Pictured left to right: Major Emile Sistrunk, AWO Chris Hodgson and Food Service Director Shellie Marsh
Certificate of Commendation Winners: Tomoka CI Food Service Director Shellie Marsh, former Asst. Food Service Director Melissa Gravilla, and Major Emilie Sistrunk
Nominator: Tomoka CI Asst. Warden Chris Hodgson
In January 2010, Tomoka Correctional Institution Food Service staff began delivering meals to the Daytona Beach Work Release Center (WRC) from Tomoka CI Work Camp to lower food and equipment costs as well as better utilizing staff in more critical areas.
Food is now prepared at Tomoka CI Work Camp with only the number of meals needed at the time being delivered to the Work Release Center in bulk servings.
In the past six months, Tomoka CI has saved $33,000 by using the work camp to prepare meals for the work release center. Specifically, there was a 23% reduction in food costs for a total of $33,436.25 saved.
This initiative resulted in an average savings of more than $5,500 a month on food costs alone. This also eliminated maintenance and repair costs to food service prep equipment, as well as refrigerators and freezer repair and maintenance costs.
In addition, the quality of the good has improved, possibly because inmates preparing the meals are being supervised by Food Service Employees rather than correctional officers who are not specifically trained in food service operations. There were also immediate improvements in State Health Inspections as well as the overall sanitation within the Work Release Center food service areas.
In case of a disaster like a hurricane, Daytona Beach WRC would be evacuated to Tomoka CI Main Unit or Work Camp. Because food is no longer being prepared at the facility, the need to move food and kitchen equipment is eliminated. On the other hand, the equipment at the work release center remains operational and could be used during an emergency.