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Governor Wolf Will Consolidate Department of Corrections, Board of Probation and Parole Functions

October 19, 2017

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today announced that his administration is moving ahead with a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Department of Corrections (DOC) and the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole (PBPP) that results in the combining of the agencies’ similar, shared and overlapping resources and functions. The consolidation will be effective immediately upon signing of the MOU by all involved parties, including the chairman of the PBPP, the secretary of the DOC, the respective agencies’ chief counsels, and the deputy general counsel of the Office of General Counsel.

The Administrative Code authorizes commonwealth agencies to enter into agreements for cooperation and coordination of work and the elimination of duplicating and overlapping of functions and allows the respective parties to share in the use of employees, land, buildings, facilities and equipment. 71 P.S. § 181.

“On June 30, both the House and Senate passed a $31.83 billion budget that decreased spending while still prioritizing funding for important government functions like schools, health and safety,” Gov. Tom Wolf said. “That budget was passed based on the bi-partisan agreement that the DOC and PBPP’s parole supervision duties be consolidated under one agency.

“This MOU puts Pennsylvanians first by respecting their finances and their security while shrinking the size of state government,” Gov. Wolf said. “We are moving forward in our efforts to eliminate bureaucratic redundancies and to do so while still allowing these agencies to continue to serve their individual missions. This is government that works.

“We are giving legislators exactly what they have been calling for – taxpayer savings through the restructuring of state government; and we’re doing so in a way that continues to provide for public safety while eliminating duplication of efforts.”

Under the MOU, both agencies – the DOC and the PBPP – will remain separate from each other; however, the community supervision of parolees and all other reentry services will be combined under a new, centralized chain of command that everyone in those areas will report to and follow. It will involve reentry tasks, such as but not limited to inmate/reentrant records, inmate/reentrant reentry planning, reentrant placement and supervision and parole violation management and return process.

“Today is an important day in Pennsylvania’s criminal justice history,” DOC Secretary John Wetzel said. “By combining similar reentry and parole supervision duties and responsibilities, officials now can fine-tune and focus their efforts as they relate to reentry.

“This move, while saving taxpayer dollars, also allows for better and more timely record-sharing, allows for consistent delivery of reentry programming, better employee communications and training, and better transition via a smooth handoff to community parole agents and supervisors. We look forward to a close and productive partnership with our Parole Board coworkers.”

DOC and PBPP personnel combined within the new organizational structure will fall within direct supervision of that new structure, but shall remain employees of the respective agencies. Employees will continue fulfilling the duties and responsibilities of their respective agencies and there will be no changes in salaries or collective bargaining agreements.

“Employees from each agency should report to work as normal on their next scheduled shift/work day,” Secretary Wetzel said. “There should be no disruption in services staff provide to individuals, nor should employees themselves encounter any disruptions where their employment statuses or duties are concerned.”

“The MOU does not change the independency of the Parole Board,” PBPP Chairman Leo Dunn said. “The Parole Board will continue to exercise its exclusive and independent decision-making role with regard to decisions to parole, re-parole, commit and recommit for violations of parole and to discharge persons sentenced by any court at any time to imprisonment in a correctional institution.”

In addition, the Office of Victim Advocate and the Sex Offender Assessment Board will continue to be independent from the DOC.

Finally, this MOU will consolidate the agencies’ business administration offices, internal affairs and investigative offices. The communications/public information offices will also be combined. The MOUs that DOC and PBPP had previously entered into to consolidate information technology, management of data and research functions will continue and not be affected by this new MOU.

“We look forward to working with our PBPP coworkers to enhance public safety by streamlining community supervision of parolees, and we will hold a number of leadership meetings soon to help reinforce this positive relationship,” Wetzel said.

Realizing that change may give rise to questions, officials encourage employees to send their questions, comments and concerns about the MOU to:  Ra-crdocpbppunificat@pa.gov

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