PEF honors 17 parole members for outstanding service – Sept 2019
August 15, 2019
PEF honors 17 parole members for outstanding service
BY SHERRY HALBROOK
PEF Division 236 and Region 9 honored 17 state parole officers and two judges at a special July event held in Cortlandt for their outstanding and meritorious service.
PEF Division 236 represents nearly 900 NYS parole officers, senior parole officers, parole revocation specialists and administrative law judges at the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision statewide. The officers and other employees recognized at the event today are based at offices in Poughkeepsie, Peekskill and New Rochelle.
“It is a delight and a privilege to honor these PEF members who were nominated by their peers for this recognition,” stated PEF President Wayne E. Spence, who also is a state parole officer on Long Island.
“I am very proud of the great professionalism and service provided by all of our PEF members in Region 9 and these honorees exemplify that,” said PEF Region 9 Coordinator Diane Jaulus, a licensed master social worker 2 at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility.
“These honorees were nominated for the way they do their very challenging jobs day in, day out,” said PEF Division 236 Council Leader Victor Anthony (Tony) Perez, a state senior parole officer based in Poughkeepsie. “Often parole officers are honored for their heroism and dedication in some very dangerous situation. But the work of parole goes far beyond simply rising to those sudden extreme challenges.”
The honors presented at this event focus on recognizing consistency and excellence in the everyday things that parole officers and other employees do that go unnoticed by the public, but continue to improve the quality of life for parolees, their families and the community at large, from providing needed assistance in employment, housing and programs, to actually saving lives, to protecting the community and removing someone who has proven to be a danger to his or her community.
The honorees are: New Rochelle — Parole Officer Shaunda Joseph, Parole Officer Rene Moncion, Parole Officer Patina Clarke, Parole Officer Cecil Rookwood, Parole Officer Kevin Marion, Parole Officer Angela Vega-Lavinio, Parole Officer Andre McKoy, Parole Officer Michael Taylor, and Administrative Law Judge Edward Mevec; Peekskill — Senior Parole Officer Gary Morgiewicz, Parole Officer Michael Kenny, Parole Officer Robert Rosenberger, Parole Officer Deena Royce, Parole Officer Shawn Oliver, and Administrative Law Judge Michael Marasa; Poughkeepsie — Senior Parole Officer David Santiago, Parole Officer Luz DeJesus, Parole Officer Lisa Smithwick, Parole Officer Barbara McAndrews, Parole Officer Angel Morales, and Parole Officer James Trinka.
Perez said NYS parole officers and others have recently suffered from a lack of public understanding of parole and the challenges it presents. In trying to reduce the state’s level of incarceration and to reduce the length of prison time served, some community advocates, lawmakers and the news media have misunderstood the delicate balance of support and close supervision that parole must entail to both protect the public safety and give parolees the best possible opportunity to become successful, law-abiding and constructive members of their communities.
“We are honoring these PEF members because they strive every day to set the example of doing their jobs in a way that earns the respect and appreciation of parolees, while still ensuring the public’s safety is protected,” he said.
For example, one of the parole officers being honored received a letter of thanks from a parolee he supervised. The parolee thanked his parole officer for literally talking him out of committing suicide, and for taking him to a hospital’s psychiatric emergency room for further help. The officer did not stop there, the parolee said. Instead of just leaving the parolee at the emergency room, the officer alerted the parolee’s family to make sure he had its support through this painful crisis.
Another parole officer who was honored responded on her day off to help a parolee that she supervised secure shelter when the parolee was discharged from an inpatient program. That same officer also responded to an emergency call from the father of another parolee stating that the parolee had given in to her addiction to heroin. The concerned father asked the officer to please come and get his daughter, as they didn’t trust the police and wanted to work only with the parole officer. The officer drove from New Rochelle to Suffolk County and found the parolee with a needle in her arm. The officer placed the parolee in custody and she was sent for substance abuse treatment at Willard Drug Treatment Facility, essentially saving her life.
“The public must learn to recognize that parole is a steep climb. Not every parolee is able to adjust quickly to the change from living in a correctional facility, which provided food, shelter, medical care, clear rules and a structured daily routine, to life in a community where the parolee must find these resources, create a routine, avoid bad company and bad habits, and get a job to support him self or her self. Parole is there to help guide them through that change, and it’s also there to revoke that opportunity if the parolee shows that he or she is not ready for it,” Perez said.
“Paroling people who are not ready, or leaving them on parole when they disregard and violate the rules is no service to the individual or to the public because it fosters disrespect for law and the parole system and it sets the parolee up for failure. It can also endanger public safety,” Spence said. “In many ways parole is as challenging for the officers as it is for the parolees. For both of them, it takes courage, consistency, skills, patience, self-discipline, self-confidence and a strong commitment to making it work.”
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