Meeting Minutes March 2020

Valleywide Hospitals and Institutions Meeting Agenda

Central Church, A United Methodist Community East Dining Room

1875 North Central Avenue Phoenix Arizona 85004

Website: vwhi.org | PO Box 80126, Phoenix, 85060 | Wednesday March 11th, 2020

Open: 

Serenity Prayer

Reading of the Traditions

Introduction of the new VWHI Home Group Reps

Home group reps:  Welcome!  Listen for service opportunities that are relevant to your home group and bring the opportunities back to your home group to find people who might be interested in being of service.  Be sure to sign-in on the sheet that’s being passed around so we have your name, home group and contact info.  Please familiarize yourself with the VWHI bylaws – find them at the Reports & Docs tab on https://vwhi.org.  

Announcement from the Chair: Katy |  | chairperson@vwhi.org 

Open meeting at 703pm

STEERING COMMITTEE REPORTS

CO CHAIRPERSON: Colby | | co_chairperson@vwhi.org

Read step 3 

SECRETARY: Christin |  | secretary@vwhi.org

April made a motion to accept 

2nd Tom 

TREASURER: Eric |  | treasurer@vwhi.org

Balance Forward $9,518.30 See report attached.

LITERATURE: Billy |  | literature@vwhi.org

$7025.59 

New system of record keeping

Send Book orders to email with complete commitment.

AWARENESS DAY: OPEN | awareness_day@vwhi.org

Event planning is going well. Jamboree will be at Kiwanas Park on May 9th @10-5pm

WEB SERVANT: Adam |  | webservant@vwhi.org  

290 visits ti the site

TREATMENT CHAIR: Joe | | treatment_chair@vwhi.org  

Unhooked has open meetings Thurs/Fri/Sat male and female volunteers

Avenir in Surprise opening soon 2-5pm and 6-8pm 

1 yr sobriety 

CORRECTIONS CHAIR: Bootsie | | corrections_chair@vwhi.org  

DOC new volunteer coordinator 3/20-3/21 Corrections Conference

SERVICE LIAISON: Tom |  | service_liaison@vwhi.org  

No report

MCSO: Dennis | | mcso_liaison@vwhi.org 

Late 

Need new volunteers

OLD BUSINESS:

NEW BUSINESS:

Any new Business from the floor?

COMMITTEE REPORTS

BRIDGING THE GAP: Bill | | bridging_the_gap@vwhi.org 

VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR: Anthony | | newcomer_liaison@vwhi.org 

SPANISH: Franky | | spanish_coordinator@vwhi.org or hispanic_intergroup@vwhi.org

DISTRICT 08:

NOTE:  In even months reports from Hospitals and Treatment will be presented.

In odd Months Corrections and Prisons will present their reports.

HOSPITALS & TREATMENT CENTERS – NOT REPORTING THIS MONTH

HOSPITALS EAST | East of Central Ave: Harold | | hospitals_east@vwhi.org 

HOSPITALS WEST | West of Central Ave: Michael | | hospitals_west@vwhi.org 

TREATMENT CENTERS: Amy | | treatment_coordinator@vwhi.org 

COMMUNITY BRIDGES WEST | 99th Ave & I-10, Avondale: Lloyd | | community_bridges_west@vwhi.org 

COMMUNITY BRIDGES EAST | Broadway & Mesa Dr., Mesa: Becky | | community_bridges_east@vwhi.org  

CORRECTIONS

DURANGO & TOWERS – ESTELLA | 35th Ave & Buckeye, South Phoenix: David | | towers_estrella_durango@vwhi.org

MCSO will be having an open house of the new jail on March 14 from 1000-1500.

Due the new jail opening In June. All volunteers need to call security control prior to going to their program.  The numbers are in your Volunteer handbook.

Towers:

All volunteers need to print their name on the rooster.

Durango:

No report

Estrella:

Like to give special thanks to Shawda for reaching out to Theresa to get clarity on Estrella Gatepass policy  Women who have gatepass can go to any AA program.   Thanks again for service

BTW – Always looking for woman volunteers

LOWER BUCKEYE – 4TH AVENUE | 4th Ave.  & Jefferson, Downtown Phoenix: Brian | | lower_buckeye_fourth_ave_jails@vwhi.org

4th Avenue Jail – 201 S.  4th Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85003

We have experienced some issues with volunteers getting their Sponsor letters processed, but this has been worked through and to my knowledge nobody’s badge was expired nor meetings missed due to it.

4th Avenue Jail – 201 S. 4th Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85003

MCSO Contact:  Debra L. Miller, Special Projects Manager    

Debra_miller@mcso.maricopa.gov

The previously delivered box of Big Books has been delivered to the Volunteer’s office on Mezzanine 2.  The issue was that Tracy McDermott was transferred to Estrella Jail.  Debra Miller has taken over for her but cautions that she not been trained for this job.  However, my interactions with Debra have been very positive and she s very responsive to my e-mails.  She assumed that the box of Big Books was for filling tank orders.  I explained that they are for volunteers to take into the pods to conduct meetings.  I eventually received a request from the MCSO librarian requesting boxes of Big Books to fill tank orders, which was forwarded to the Literature chair.

We’ve experience issues with Harold’s roster being missing from the roster.  Debra has been made aware and indicated to me that when she checked on the two occasions that it was reported missed that it was in there.  She stated that she has been counting and recounting her rosters to make sure she has them all and will continue to be vigilant and work for a better outcome.  She had added about (7) names to it bringing the number of inmates for this meeting to 10.

The following is the schedule for 4th Avenue Jail meetings.  If anyone is interested in attending a meeting as a guest speaker or to learn the process for entering the 4th Avenue Jail please see me after the meeting.

Sunday 11:00 am – noon Pod 2D2 Craig A / Darryl F

Sunday   3:00 pm – 4:00 pm Pod 3A1 Dean S  / Kevin

Sunday   4:00 pm – 5:00 pm 3E1 Tim G

Monday   4:45 pm –  5:45 pm 3B1 Paul

Tuesday   3:00 pm – 4:00 pm  3C2 Ryan T / Victor V

Tuesday   5:00 pm – 6:00 pm 3F1 Harold T

Tuesday   5:00 pm – 6:00 pm 3E1 Darryl F

Tuesday   4:00 pm – 5:00 pm 3A2 Ryan T / Victor V

Wednesday   4:30 pm – 5:30 pm 3C1 Bruce B

Wednesday   6:00 pm – 7:00 pm 3D2 Guadalupe

Lower Buckeye Jail – 3250 W. Lower Buckeye Road, PHX 85009   

MCSO Contact: Lynette “Emma” Anderson     emma_anderson@mcso.maricopa.gov

A request was to add meeting to the LBJ schedule but due to the pending opening of the new Saguaro Jail there is a hold on any changes being made to the schedule but Emma indicates that she will be open to reviewing further in a few weeks as more information becomes known.

The following is the schedule for Lower Buckeye Jail meetings.  If anyone is interested in attending a meeting as a guest speaker or to learn the process for entering the Lower Buckeye Jail please see me after the meeting.

Tuesday 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm Joseph N

Wednesday 9:00 am – 10:00 am Bob P

Wednesday 10:00 am – 11:00 am Bob P 

Thursday 10:00 am – 11:00 am Bill C

Fridays   9:00 am – 10:00 am Bill W

Sobriety requirements:

  1. Two years of sobriety for a volunteer ID Badge (full access & may chair solo) 
    1. Submit MCSO application & required paperwork
    2. Attend a 3-hour training class
    3. Obtain a Valley Wide H&I Sponsorship Letter (which is the “Sponsoring Agency”) from the MCSO Liaison
    4. Has fingerprints taken at the Sheriff’s office for a full background / criminal records clearance check
    5. Once approved by MCSO, volunteer is issued a photo ID
  2. One year of sobriety for a volunteer “Gate Pass” – volunteers may only enter with a “Badged” volunteer 
    1. Submit MCSO application & required paperwork
    2. Obtain a Valley Wide H&I Sponsorship Letter from the VWHI MCSO Liaison, NOT your AA sponsor (VWHI is the “Sponsoring Agency”)
    3. Once approved by MCSO, the volunteer receives a temporary 90-day “Gate Pass” which is renewable up to one year & is accepted at all MCSO jails

ALL Applicants Must Be “Off-Paper”:

  • At least 1 year since serving a term of probation or parole; or since incarcerated on any charge – even if the charge is dismissed.
  • Documentation of the end date of probation or parole is required.
  • At least 1-year after incarceration resulting from a misdemeanor conviction.
  • At least 3 years after incarceration resulting from a felony conviction.

Thank for the opportunity to be of service,

Brian Meyer, Coordinator

PHOENIX WEST |Buckeye & 35th Ave, Phoenix: Jessica 

phoenix_west_prison@vwhi.org

FEDERAL CORRECTIONS | I-17 & Anthem Way, Phoenix: Nicholas S. | | federal_corrections@vwhi.org

ALHAMBRA | Van Buren & 24th St: Fred | | alhambra_prison@vwhi.org

JUVENILE CORRECTIONS: Cindy | | juvenile_corrections@vwhi.org

LEWIS | Highway 85 & Patterson, Buckeye: Michelle | lewis_prison@vwhi.org

FLORENCE | Highway 79 & Butte Ave, Florence: John | | florence_prisons@vwhi.org

Florence consists of fourteen prison complexes –

  • Pinal County Jail (i.e., Adult Detention Center) with1,500 beds expandable to 3000 beds;
  • Three State Prison Complexes:  Florence with 4,000+ general population inmates and Arizona’s death row and execution chamber; Eyman with 5,000+ sex offenders; and Globe with 500+ DUI inmates;
  • Two Federal Facilities:  Behavioral Systems Southwest (BSS) with 92 re-entry inmates (46 male, 46 female) operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons; and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Facility operated by the Department of Homeland Security;
  • Two private prisons operated by Corecivic:  Florence Correctional Center (FCC) with 2,000+ Federal Marshall, ICE, California and Vermont inmates; and Central Arizona Detention Center (CADC) with 3,000+ U.S. Marshall and ICE inmates;
  • Two private prisons operated by GEO Group, Inc.:  Florence West with 2,000+ DUI and RTC inmates; and, Central Arizona Correctional Facility (CACF) with 1,000+ sex offenders.  
  • Four private prisons in Eloy, AZ: three operated by Corecivic (Eloy Detention Center, La Palma and Saguaro) and one operated by Geo, Inc. (Red Rock).   All house approximately 2,000 inmates each.  La Palma and Eloy are under contract with ICE, Saguaro with the State of Hawaii and Red Rock with the State of Arizona.  We currently take meetings into Red Rock using our DOCRR badge.

Twenty-four badges have been in process since December.  Two applicants have lost interest and dropped out.  One was a medical intern who moved on without being badged. Three applicants chose to serve at Perryville. One applicant is now badged for Behavioral Systems Southwest.  Eight candidates are now DOCRR badged.  Nine applicants are still in process.  Volunteers continue to come forward, some from the Florence area.

We currently have 50+ DOCRR badged volunteers.  Several are also badged for Corecivic, GEO and PCSO facilities. 

A minimum of thirty-eight meetings are held weekly with outside AA volunteers as facilitators.  Twenty or so additional peer-to-peer meetings are held by the inmates themselves.  Meetings are held in nearly every unit at Florence, Globe and Eloy.

All groups are registered with GSO with outside AAs as GSRs and inmates as Alternate GSRs.  Each group is structured with an elected Alternate GSR, Chairman, Secretary, Librarian, Greeter and Grapevine manager.  The last meeting of each month is designated the birthday meeting at which sobriety medallions are awarded followed by an inmate speaker.

Recovery material is broadcast through ETV Channel 39 to every cell in the Florence Complex every morning from 8:00 AM to 10:00 AM and every evening from 8:00 PM to 1:00 AM.  It is our goal to eventually broadcast to every cell in the state.

Meetings have resumed at the Florence/East Unit.   A Back to Basics 12-Step Workshop based on the Big Book, followed by a “Position of Neutrality” 8-week lecture series to explore deeper meaning of the Big Book text, are planned to run concurrently with regular A meetings.  John M. will conduct the Back to Basics Workshop and Joe M. will conduct the “Position of Neutrality” series (which is presently included in our Channel 39 Recovery programming).

A meeting was held for group leaders on 1/29/20 in the Prison Director’s offices, hosted by the newly installed statewide Volunteer Coordinator, Cynthia Taibbi, to discuss the DOCRR badging and training processes.  It was revealed that Governor Ducey in his State of the State Address renamed the Department as “Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation & Recovery (DOCRR)”.  It’s a great name, implying new direction consistent with our H&I mission; i.e., rehabilitation and recovery.  The meeting was mostly informational.  Subsequent to the meeting, I have written to Ms. Taibbiti, giving my thoughts on volunteer screening and orientation.  My letter is appended to this report.

It is worth noting that the DOCRR has 1100 volunteers statewide, 75% of which are religious, 15% educational, and only 10% substance abuse!  Clearly more substance abuse volunteers will be need to meet the Department’s stated goal of 25% reduction in recidivism in 10 years.

We have instituted 11th step sessions on meditation which meet weekly in two Florence Units.

Group conscience meetings for all volunteers, once held the first Sunday of the month at 2:00 p.m. in the afternoon at the Road to Recovery meeting room, have been temporarily suspended. 

In grateful service, 

John L. Shannon, Jr.

Florence Complexes Coordinator

February/March, 2020 Literature Order (English):

2 Cs B-12 – Daily Reflections

1 Cs B-16 – Large Print Big Book, With Stories

2 Cs B-18 – As Bill Sees It

5 Cs B-30 – Big Book

3 Cs B-15 – Twelve Steps & Twelve Traditions

35 Each P-41 -A Member’s-Eye View of Alcoholics Anonymous

ATTACHMENT 1

LETTER TO STATEWIDE VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR

Good morning, Cynthia.

Here are some observations and recommendations that come to mind regarding DOCRR volunteer screening and orientation.  More thoughts will doubtless come to mind in the course of our ongoing dialogue.  My remarks apply only to the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) volunteer program.  I have no knowledge regarding the other volunteer programs.

Vetting Telephone InterviewThe first stumbling block in the badging process is the telephone vetting interview by Central Office (earlier done by Mar’ Kuhlman, Quality Assurance  Coordinator/Counseling and Treatment Services, and more recently by Jan Wethers, Reentry Coordinator/Inmate Programs and Reentry).  The process is increasingly slow and mysterious (i.e., never any progress feedback).  I am caused to make repeated calls to the candidates themselves in order to determine whether or not an interview has taken place; and if not, then to give Jan a gentle reminder.  I can’t fault Jan because the responsibility of vetting candidate volunteers was added to her fulltime duties.

I, or any other AA coordinator of my acquaintance, would never intentionally submit a volunteer candidate for badging that didn’t have solid sobriety and high personal standards.  If I’m not acquainted with the candidate himself/herself, then I insist that the referring AA member be of the same caliber as the candidate himself/herself.  I myself perform a vetting interview of each candidate volunteer before submitting him/her to the DOCRR for badging.  To guide my vetting, I use the accompanying self-designed guide (ATTACHMENT 2).  It is more thorough than the Department’s guide.  My suggestion is to dispense with DOCRR vetting telephone interviews and, instead, rely on the vetting interviews conducted by us coordinators.  The interview guide sheet can be filled in and forwarded to your office for your approval (providing it doesn’t suffer the same delay as the DOCRR telephone interviews it’s meant to replace) prior to sending application documents to the candidate.

Volunteer versus Employee:  Current application documents and online training are “one size fits all” and therefore, in many regards, inappropriate.  Application documents ask for information seemingly irrelevant considering that volunteers are onsite 2.5 hours at a time (at most) and are under surveillance all the while.  Employees are onsite for entire workdays, often presumably not under constant surveillance.

Online training addresses the candidate sometimes as an employee applicant and other times as a volunteer applicant, which is often confusing.  Protocols of conduct and interactions with inmates are different for employees and volunteers owed to differing roles and related involvements.

Proceedings and interactions with inmates at our prison AA meetings are intended to mirror as closely as possible those at AA meetings on the outside.  We alcoholics achieve and maintain sobriety collectively (not individually) by sharing our experience (and strength and hope).  The AA meeting is a safe environment where honesty and openness prevail.  Such intimacy is manifest in the level of disclosure (of darkest secrets) and physical interaction (handshaking and impulsive hugging).

Both application documents and online training would benefit enormously from specificity; i.e., by addressing AA (or SUD) volunteers exclusively.  Such is my suggestion.

Application Documents:  I wonder how useful and/or applicable is the plethora of requested background information which seems styled for the job applicant, not the volunteer applicant.  

The question “Are you acquainted with or related to current or former inmate, parolee, or probationer in the Department of Corrections or any other prison or incarcerated system”? is a tough one for AA volunteers.  AA meeting rooms are brimming with ex-offenders.   Answering this question with all honesty and thoroughness is almost impossible and has the potential for discouraging potential volunteers.       

I can see that references (though only favorable ones would be listed), employment history, question regarding theft from an employer, and level of education all may be important for job applicants, but are they considered relevant to AA volunteers?    

My suggestion is to draft application documents that are specific to AA volunteers, not job seekers.

Part I – Volunteering:  DCVOL 101 Online TrainingSometimes volunteers are the focus in the video clips, and other times employees, contractors, vendors and general public are the focus.  It would be less confusing if the training addressed volunteers solely.

Some specific statements are cited (as quotations) below with comment….

“Volunteers can be on the visitation list of incarcerated immediate family members”.  Comment:  Does this apply to all complexes and units or just the complex and/or unit where volunteering?

“Contact program manager/supervisor if contacted by ex-offender, former inmate”.    Comment:  This is contrary to our process.  We unavoidably mix with former inmates at AA meetings on the outside and we help them with housing, employment and networking.

“Maintain courteous, professional demeaner”.  Comment:  If this implies detachment, then this too runs counter to our process.  Our relationship is necessarily intimate.  We share secrets.  We identify.  While we must be courteous and proper, we cannot be detached.

“Never make contact with anyone on behalf of inmate”.  Comment:  We have a sanctioned Bridging the Gap program which puts inmates in contact with temporary sponsors as early as six months prior to release, or through a hotline telephone number on release.  On his/her release, we sponsor the inmate and help him/her with employment quest and sober housing.  While housing and employment help are not our charter, we find ourselves involved out of a desire to be helpful to another alcoholic.


“No smiles or winks”.  Comment:  While we are not inclined to wink, how can we not smile?  We are not a glum lot.  In sobriety we are happy, joyous and free!

“Don’t use first names.”  Comment:  In compliance with the AA tradition of anonymity, we don’t use last names, only first names.

In Working with Inmates it’s said that inmates are, in most ways, people like anyone you know in the outside world.   Comment:  True.  We carry this attitude into the prison to guide our conduct.  We bond to a degree that the staff is unable and prudently can’t.  

Future:  Our volunteers to the private Corecivic prison (FCC, CADC) have all resigned, for two reason:  (1) cumbersome badging process involving lengthy, inconveniently scheduled in-person training and (2) seeming disinterest in inmate rehabilitation on the part of the prison.  The possibility (or, more likely, probability) that some Florence inmates may be transferred to Corecivic facilities is concerning.  Negotiations with Corecivic to ease  the badging process would be desirable.  Likewise, in my view, mimicking the Corecivic in-person training activity for AZ State volunteers is a step backward.  Such badging encumbrance adversely affects our volunteer candidate pool and runs counter to the present trend in academia for online course offering.

One badge for all state prisons, private prisons and country jails would be a great step forward.

AA literature for inmates is funded through the voluntary contributions of AA members.  Roughly $80,000 is spent annually on literature for rehabs and prisons throughout the Valley, approximately $10,000.00 of which is spent annually for the Florence, Globe and Eloy complexes.  If DOCRR could offer some help with this expense (not for AA, but for the inmates), we would be very grateful.    

Cynthia, this is all I can bring to mind at the moment.  Call me if you’d like to chat.

I hope you have a great week!

John

PERRYVILLE | I-10 & Loop 303: Nora | | perryville_prison@vwhi.org

INTERGROUPS

AGUA FRIA: Tiffany | | afi_liaison@vwhi.org

31st Annual Family Camp Out and Fishing Derby 4/17-4/19 at Bartlett Lake 

AFI Needs Volunteers Needed 

  • Answer Phones 
  • Give Meetin info to callers
  • Handle 12 step calls 
  • Sell Literature
  • Various other office task
  • 4 hr shift 

VOLUNTEER TIMES NEED TO BE FILLED TO HELP CARRY THE MESSAGE 

EAST VALLEY: Mike G. | | evi_liaison@vwhi.org  

NO REPORT

SALT RIVER: Kimberly | | sri_liaison@vwhi.org  

 Need people to sign up for 12 step work

Saturday Volunteers 9am-1pm

PI/CPC need rep 4th Tuesday of month

Gift Baskets needed for the anniversary

SRI Anniversay  @ Phoenix College on April 18th 

SRI Summer Round Up @  Doubletree Resort PV on Aug 7-9

2020 Summer Round Up will have 240 scholarships w/ 4 hr service commitment 

CLOSE:  

Birthdays & Responsibility Declaration