Legislators meet with members about safety and staffing concerns at DHS and DOC facilities

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Before the Minnesota Legislature convened last week, legislators from the Moose Lake area and relevant legislative committees heard from members working at the Minnesota Sex Offender Program (MSOP) and correctional facility at Moose Lake about staffing, security and workplace environments.  

Region 17 Director David Clanaugh, Volunteer Services Coordinator at MSOP, spoke about the alarming turnover and recruitment rates at MSOP and the nearby Moose Lake correctional facility and equated adequate staffing levels with safer facilities.  

Local 1701’s Peter Braith, a recreation therapist at MSOP, said his department now has four employees, down from nine a few years ago, yet therapists are expected to keep programming at levels when they had more staff. 

Local 1701’s Ryan Patrick, a substance abuse therapist at Moose Lake, told legislators that the library, gymnasium and yard at the prison are often closed due to lack of security staffing.  

“I work directly with many colleagues and about 150 clients through a wide range of modalities in a therapeutic environment. I stay at MSOP because I truly enjoy working with the people, both clients and colleagues. I also stay here because of my various union roles and a firm belief that our union can make things better for everyone when engaged in a spirit of collaboration,” Clanaugh added. 

MAPE and other unions are working together this legislative session on proposals to increase staff safety and provide members with a stronger voice in the workplace.