IDOC streamlines operations, increases community supervision of offenders

View looking down center of razor wire
Photo courtesy Chad Page, IDOC

The new director of the Idaho Department of Correction, Kevin Kempf, has ordered a sweeping reorganization of the agency. The changes will make a more efficient organizational structure, improve staff accountability and shift 15 positions from the central office to the “front lines” of the agency.  

“Since January we have been reviewing our current organizational structure, processes and positions in central office,” Kempf said. “We balanced these three areas against our priority of providing public safety in Idaho. Every position in central office was defined by the question: Does this position have 100-percent ties to our mission of public safety?”

Kempf said the outcome of this review showed that personnel – both in central office and in the field – are frustrated with a disjointed and confusing supervisory reporting structure.  This is especially the case in the Education, Treatment, and Reentry Division (ETR).  

“This frustration is not a reflection of anyone in this area; it’s simply a structural issue that has staff in the ETR division making decisions but not having the authority to carry them out,” Kempf said.  

“The functions in ETR provide educational services to inmates, mental health services, and reentry to offenders getting out of prison,” Kempf said. “These services are too important for us to continue in a way that is confusing to the staff that has to do this work. For this reason we are eliminating the division and embedding it inside the Prisons Division and Probation/ Parole Division. This puts the decision-making process inside the area they are most impacting. This will increase communication and reduce having too many overseers and not enough ‘doers.’”   

The chairwoman of the Idaho Board of Correction, Debbie Field, says she knows this type of organizational change is difficult, especially for the personnel who are directly affected.  But Field says it’s important for people to remember IDOC’s education and treatment programs are not going away; they are simply being re-deployed to improve their effectiveness. 

“We are so thankful to the dedicated professionals who have stepped up over the years and helped bring cutting-edge education and treatment programs to Idaho; every person added value.” Field says. “Now we’re ready to take the next step by moving the administration of those programs into the field so we can have an even greater impact on the lives of offenders.”

Under this new organizational structure, the agency is able to shift nine positions to other areas of the agency and 15 positions will be reclassified to positions in the field to provide additional direct services. Most of the positions will be probation and parole officers.

Quality assurance and auditing functions at the Department of Correction also will be undergoing changes.   

“Today each division has its own staff and process of providing quality assurance to their area,” Kempf said. “We believe consolidating these staff under one roof and providing clear expectations of what the agency needs is a better way of doing business.” 

This area will be called “Evaluation and Compliance” and will have the responsibility of review and analysis, monthly measurements (Comp Stat), quality assurance and policy. This group will be removed from the divisional structure and report to the director’s office.  

Story published: 03/12/2015
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