DOC Commissioner visits south Georgia - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

DOC Commissioner visits south Georgia

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March 18, 2004

Pelham - The man who is in charge of all Georgia prisons visited two of the four state prisons in south Georgia. He commended the staff on a job well done, but also listened to their concerns.

Inside the helicopter is a man determined to touch down at every prison in Georgia. James Donald is the new Department of Corrections Commissioner.

On Thursday, he not only met employees, but he shook hands with inmates at Autry State Prison.

Underneath the firefighter suits are also prisoners. Donald says, "What I would like to see happen as part of the transformation, is to step it up a notch and begin to address substantial changes in the behavior and conduct of inmates, so they don't come back into the institution."

The commissioner encouraged them to follow a good path, step past the razor wire for good. Donald adds, "Three out of 10 inmates come back into the institution with another crime."

It is a rare occasion for the boss of all prisons to actually walk through, but the commissioner wanted to dig a little deeper by hearing about their needs. Warden Frederick Head says they have a nursing shortage at the jail. Right now, they have 10 vacancies, which is a problem nationwide.

There are 120 facilities in Georgia. Commissioner Donald has stopped by 35, but he has only been in office for 90 days.

Commissioner Donald also visited Calhoun State Prison.

posted at 6:15PM by kathryn.simmons@walb.com

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