The immediate resignation of the Minnesota Department of Corrections Commissioner Tom Roy
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In the last six months, the Minnesota Department of Corrections (DOC) has seen an alarming increase in staff assaults across the board. Many of these assaults resulted in correctional officers being seriously injured and now the most recent attack has left an officer dead.
In December 2017, the VERA Institute for Justice released an article on the Safe Alternatives to Segregation Initiative (SAS). A primarily federally funded initiative selected five states, of which Minnesota was named, to participate in this study in efforts to reduce and eliminate segregation also known as restrictive housing. VERA’s effort is to remove what they claim is the "cruelest form of punishment" with a vision to eliminate prison all together.
Since the DOC’s participation with this initiative, segregation sentences have decreased significantly for violent offenders who have assaulted officers. This initiative has taken away the offender’s personal accountability for their violent actions, and perpetuated “open season” on staff which has continued to increase in violence and intensity.
Tom Roy knows the increased numbers and seriousness of these assaults while on his watch, he championed the DOC’s involvement with VERA’s research study offering full participation which has put the correctional officers in grave danger.
Regardless of the numerous warnings by correctional officers and their families, Tom Roy chose to do nothing. Regardless of the media attention, Tom Roy chose to do nothing.
Tom Roy was made aware, but he never reversed segregation mitigation and segregation contract initiatives. Around September 2016, the DOC began their experiment with decreasing segregation even though they were warned the offenders were not being held accountable and a staff would die.
Why would Tom Roy decrease the penalty for staff assaults and move offenders into the community sooner? Simple answer is money and the complete lack of respect and disregard for the DOC staff on the ground and the public. Less time spent in segregation is directly related to the earlier release of offenders into the community by not extending incarceration and saving DOC bed space and money per diem. For every three days an offender serves in segregation, they are given one day of extended incarceration (EI) thusly keeping these violent offenders in prison while protecting the public and costing MN DOC money and bed space.
In February 2018, two Sergeants at Oak Park Heights were assaulted and neither have returned to work.
In March 2018, one Lieutenant, two Sergeants, and eight Officers were assaulted at Stillwater and Oak Park Heights which received media attention, but Tom Roy cemented his terrible decision into policy and supported the procedure changes he made 18 months earlier.
In June 2018, an Oak Park Heights Sergeant was assaulted, covered in blood was rushed in an ambulance to Regions Hospital and had emergent surgery due to multiple injuries.
On July 18, 2018, Stillwater’s Officer Joseph Gomm was violently murdered, rushed in an ambulance to Regions Hospital and passed away.
If Tom Roy would have listened to the correctional officer’s repeated warnings and held offenders accountable for the violence they commit while incarcerated, then Officer Joseph Gomm would still be here today.
Tom Roy is an ineffective leader, he has repeatedly ignored what is happening and shown his lack of concern for the correction’s officer health, mental wellbeing, their families and the public.
The public deserves more, the MN DOC staff deserve more, the assaulted MN DOC staff deserve more. Tom Roy did not listen, Tom Roy did not care.
Officer Joseph Gomm was brutally murdered and most certainly did not expire as Tom Roy disrespectfully said on July 18, 2018. He passed away due to the result of injuries he sustained while protecting the citizens of Minnesota from their nightmares.
Officer Joseph Gomm deserved more. We demand the immediate resignation of Tom Roy.
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