Jun 23, 2015
Sheriff Evangelidis Announces National Accreditation
June 16, 2016
Worcester County Sheriff Lewis G. Evangelidis and Worcester County Sheriff’s Office Superintendent David Tuttle along with WCSO employees Kathy Shultz & Dominic Barbara receiving their certificate of accreditation from American Correctional Association (ACA) Officials recently in Columbus, Ohio.
West Boylston– Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis recently announced the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office has successfully completed all the requirements for Re-Accreditation from the nationally recognized American Correctional Association (ACA). Earning a compliance rating of 99.3%, it is the highest accreditation score ever received by the Worcester County Sheriff ‘s Office. The American Correctional Association founded in 1870, is the oldest and largest correctional association in the world. Their mission is to provide professional organization to departments that share their goal of improving the justice system.
In order to meet the criteria for this award, the department had to be in compliance with 384 stringent standards evaluated through a series of reviews, evaluations, an extensive audit and a formal presentation to the ACA panel. The required standards focus on issues ranging from inmate safety, discipline, health care, education, fiscal efficiency, program development, officer training, and facility administration. Agencies that are accredited must be re-accredited every three years to maintain their status.
Sheriff Evangelidis said, “There is no requirement the WCSO complete the rigorous and challenging process of maintaining National Accreditation, but it is important for our entire staff to demonstrate to the residents of Worcester County that we are committed to professionalism by adhering to the highest industry standards. It is a tribute to our hardworking staff that we excelled in our ACA re-accreditation, considered by many throughout the country as the highest standard of excellence in corrections.”
As the last requirement to complete the re-accreditation process, the Sheriff’s Department presented before the national board in Columbus, Ohio on Saturday May 30th. “ The feedback during our presentation was excellent, they were very impressed with our operating procedures especially in light of the numerous facility challenges
that are inherent in operating the oldest county correctional facility in Massachusetts,” said Superintendent David Tuttle.
The Worcester County Sheriff’s Office was originally accredited in 2008. After taking office in 2011, Evangelidis made successful re-accreditation a top priority. In 2008, the WCSO was given a compliance rating of 96.3% and improved to a 96.8% during the 2012 audit. The most recent 2015 ACA accreditation score of 99.3%, is the highest rating ever received by the correctional facility.
“When I took office I made a commitment to increase professionalism at the Worcester County Sheriff’s Department including adhering to the highest industry standards, successful reaccreditation is imperative to reaching our goals” said the Sheriff.
The American Correctional Association has been accrediting public safety agencies since 1978. According to the ACA, benefits of accreditation include: improved staff training, defense against lawsuits, increased safety of staff and offenders, assessment of program strengths and weaknesses, reduced insurance liability costs, and increased staff professionalism and moral.
Jun 23, 2015
Inmates Erasing Gardner Graffiti
Part of sheriff’s office program
GARDNER Blasting the wall behind the Parker Street GFA Federal Credit Union with crushed walnut shells, it took the Worcester County Sheriff’s anti-graffiti team an hour to remove a graffiti tag that’s long been an eyesore.
Deputy Sheriff Daniel Joslyn uses a machine to erase a graffiti tag behind GFA on Parker Street in Gardner on Wednesday. It took about five minutes to erase the mark, leaving behind an empty patch of wall to be painted over.
“With resources stretched thin, people don’t have the resources to deal with graffiti,” explained Sheriff Lew Evangelidis. “This is a service we can provide free of charge.”
Last month, Mr. Evangelidis unveiled a new inmate work program tackling unwanted graffiti in Worcester County. Through the program, municipalities and private businesses can sign up to have a crew come out and scrub their walls clean of graffiti with a sandblaster-like unit.
“If you don’t stay on top of it, it grows like a weed,” said Mr. Evangelidis.
The unit worked in Gardner this week, cleaning up the Simplex building, the GFA parking lot, and by Tanguay Jewelers downtown.
“The mayor jumped right on this program,” said Mr. Evangelidis.
Mayor Mark Hawke has repeatedly requested the service through his Facebook page. He has also helped create new programs in the city — such as a mural partnership with Mount Wachusett Community College — to deter graffiti.
City Councillor Nathan Boudreau said he was grateful to see the anti-graffiti team in his ward.
“This is the beautification of a highly visible spot,” he said. “It’s wonderful to get a helping hand from the sheriff.”
The machine that removes the spray paint is operated by a supervising officer, and one or two inmates help and handle the clean-up.
As a safety precaution, the inmates in the program typically do not have a history of graffiti or known affiliations with gangs, according to Mr. Evangelidis. Many gang members refuse to remove a tag out of loyalty or fear of repercussions.
On Wednesday morning, inmate Michael Thomas was helping Officer Daniel Joslyn. With two months left on his sentence, Mr. Thomas was grateful to be involved in the program.
“I worked some in my life as much as I lived on the street,” he said. “I never thought I would be doing this. … It’s good experience and I learn a lot of different jobs so I’m ready for the outside.”
The program started after Mr. Evangelidis heard concerns from many Worcester business owners, who are threatened with a fine if they don’t clean up graffiti within a week of being tagged.
Deputy Sheriff Daniel Joslyn, second from right, shows Gardner Mayor Mark Hawke, far left, Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis and Ward 3 City Councillor Nathan Boudreau graffiti at the GFA building on Parker Street in Gardner on Wednesday.
“We only do it at the request of the community,” Mr. Evangelidis said.
How long it takes to remove graffiti depends on the surface, age and type of paint, according to Mr. Joslyn. The bags of crushed walnut shells cost about $50 each.
“It’s a cost we can absorb,” Mr. Evangelidis said.
To request assistance, contact Capt. Rocco Cardaci at the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office at 508-854-1872 or email@example.com.
Sep 19, 2014
Produce grown by inmates donated to pantry
By Kimberly Petalas
Sheriff Lewis Evangelidis unloads a milk crate of summer squash at the Rutland Food Pantry. Sheriff Lewis Evangelidis, food pantry volunteer Lynne Amsden, volunteer Paula Stidsen, Officer Brian Almstrom, and volunteer Cynthia Katinas help process the food donation.
Worcester County Sheriff Lewis Evangelidis recently paid a visit to the Rutland Food Pantry to donate some fresh produce that was harvested as part of a new program aimed at creating healthier communities.
Evangelidis has implemented the Inmate Agricultural Training Program at Worcester County Jail and House of Correction in West Boylston, in partnership with the state Department of Agriculture. Mentioned
The sheriff ’s farming program, which utilizes an existing 12-acre parcel of land appropriated by the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture, is tended to during the week by inmate labor. The crops, which are all organic, include corn, zucchini, summer squash, acorn squash, butternut squash and pumpkins. With just under $1,000 in initial start up costs for seed and fertilizer, the program has grown into a costeffective win-win for both the inmates and the local community, Evangelidis said.
“Fresh produce is a rarity,” said Paula Stidsen, a volunteer at the Rutland Food Pantry. “This is a real treat to those that we serve.”
Cynthia Katinas, another volunteer at the pantry, said the gift from the sheriff ’s office is “a real treasure.”
“Usually we are handing out canned food so this gives our clients something different,” she said. “It is nice to have and it also defrays the cost for us by having food donated to us.”
Officer Brian Almstrom is one of the officers who helps to oversee the program, spending his time in the fields with the inmates.
“It really brightens their day and ultimately changes their mood,” he said. “They are out in the fresh air and I think that makes a complete difference for them. It is changing them as a person.”
The sheriff personally unloaded dozens of milk crates full of vegetables at the Rutland Food Pantry on Sept. 12, saying that the Wachusett area still holds a special place in his heart.
“Being the former state rep from the area, I still hold a special place for these communities, even though my coverage area as sheriff is greater than this,” he said. “It truly changes them as a person, and that is the point of these programs. We see a lot of the older inmates in this program, while the younger ones are involved in the painting and building community service programs. We are giving them valuable life skills so when they leave, they have something productive they can do in society.”
This year’s harvest has yielded more than 9,000 ears of corn and 12,000 lbs of additional vegetables, providing inmates with a better alternative to the usual canned vegetables with the added benefit of a significant savings of over $20,000 in inmate food costs at the jail.
“The initiative by the Worcester County Sheriff ’s Office touches on every imaginable aspect of common sense I can think of,” said Massachusetts Department of Agriculture Commissioner Greg Watson. “Inmates are learning valuable skills while at the same time supplementing their diets with fresh, healthy produce that they have grown and harvested themselves.”
Sep 19, 2014
9/12/2014 7:09:00 AM
Gives inmate grown crops to CAC
News Staff Writer
GARDNER — Sheriff Lew Evangelidis wheeled a shopping cart loaded with pumpkins and various types of squash to the Pleasant Street offices of Gardner’s Community Action Committee on Thursday morning.
“We have about 400 or 500 pounds of vegetables,” he said.
Inmates at the Worcester County House of Correction in West Boylston have been running a small farm on land at the jail site for the past three years. Recently, Sheriff Evangelidis expanded the program from 10 acres to 12 acres.
“The inmates get a lot out of it,” he said.
With more than 300 acres of land at the jail site, it isSheriff Lew Evangelidis wheeled a shopping cart loaded with pumpkins and various types of squash to the Pleasant Street offices of Gardner’s Community Action Committee on Thursday morning. a low cost way for the Sheriff’s office to offer a new opportunity to the inmates. The program allows 10 inmates a chance to work outdoors and pick up valuable work and life skills while spending time on the farm throughout the year.
“We started this with about $900 in seeds,” he said.
The farm program produces all organic crops of corn, zucchini, summer squash, acorn squash, butternut squash and pumpkins.
This year’s harvest has yielded over 9,000 ears of corn and 12,000 pounds of additional vegetables providing inmates with a better alternative to the usual canned vegetables with the added benefit of a significant savings of over $20,000 in inmate food costs at the jail.
The inmates who work on the farm are screened for any behavioral concerns before they are allowed to work on the project outside the jail facility, he said.
It is similar to the work program Sheriff Evangelidis operates, allowing inmates the chance to perform work for municipalities or non-profit groups throughout the county.
While the project is good for the inmates themselves, it is also good for the many communities receiving bounty from their labor at the farm. The Sheriff said he makes sure that the ample produce from that farm gets to people who need it most, such as the families who rely on Gardner’s Community Action Committee for help with obtaining groceries.
Gardner CAC Executive Director Julie Meehan said her organization assists more than 10,000 families every year from Gardner and the greater Gardner area.
“We can see 30 to 40 families a day,” she said.
The Gardner CAC has dry goods and meat donated from agencies and private businesses boxed and ready to be given to people in need.
Fresh produce, however, is hard to come by, Ms. Meehan said.
“It’s a lot of canned and processed stuff,” she said.
The fresh vegetables brought by Sheriff Evangelidis and his staff will be handed out on a first come, first serve basis. Ms. Meehan said whenever fresh food comes in, many of the Gardner Community Action Committee clients will share recipes for the produce.
Sheriff Evangelidis is also already preparing for the annual coat drive his office runs in the winter, ensuring disadvantaged children have outerwear to keep warm.
The coat drive is set to kick off in December.