State Department of Corrections Watching Legislative Session

“Legislators have ideas on may different proposed changes,  and they rely on us to tell them how that idea would impact DOC,” Steelhammer  said. “It’s built on credibility because they trust us to provide them with  honest and accurate information.”

The Department also invites legislators and their aides to  tour prisons and community corrections offices to educate them about issues that  are frequently discussed during legislative hearings. Reception, health  services, food services, sustainability projects and offender programs are  frequently the focus of legislative tours.

“If our Legislature understand our operations and have  accurate information,” said Mullins. “they can make the best decisions for  public safety

During the session, the Department monitors legislative  activity, budget discussions and the bills that could impact the agency if they  become a law. Sometimes legislators will request that DOC provide subject  matter experts to testify during hearings and work sessions. After the session  the Department immediately begins implementing new laws.

“The work is very cyclical,” said Steelhammer. “Even when  session is over we answer questions from legislators’ constituents which can  end up as language in a future bill.  The  process never truly ends.”