MAPE testifies in support of Dept. of Corrections retirement bill

Publish Date

Local 1001’s Katie Marek, an agent with the Department of Corrections (DOC), testified before the Legislature in support of HF 3675/SF 3822 this week. This bill would allow DOC and county corrections agents to retire at 60 years of age or after 30 years of service.  

Marek, an Intensive Supervised Release and Challenge Incarceration Program (ISR/CIP) agent, is responsible for supervising parolees in the community, including those who have committed murders, sex offenses, assaults and more. ISR/CIP supervision is a 24/7 operation, including nights, weekends, holidays and on-call shifts. 

“This job is very demanding and there is an underlying stress that is present each day. I

Katie Marek in the Capitol Rotunda with other DOC members

work in neighborhoods where I hear shots during each shift, and my head must constantly be on swivel. A person was shot in a client’s yard less than two minutes after I left the visit. I’ve sat through sex offender treatment where I hear in detail some of the most heinous crimes how I can attempt them from reoccurring. 

“I conducted numerous home visits with a client – to later see him on the news having kidnapped and murdered a female who was my age. I am also currently supervising an extreme high-risk client for another unit because they assaulted their former ISR agent. And this is just a small fraction of the dangers and stress we face in this job,” Marek testified.  

Marek also pointed out the positive parts of her job: she and her colleagues help people each day to find employment and housing on their own, enter and complete treatment programs, help them prepare for job interviews, find support networks, fill out college applications and align them with services to be successful in life. “The best accomplishment an agent can see is a parolee’s success story.” 

She pointed out those in her position walk a fine line between corrections case management and law enforcement duties – both of which are offered retirement at the age of 55. “They are rightfully provided these benefits, due to the greater levels of risk, danger and stress in their professions. Despite the similarities, we do not have access to comparable benefits,” Marek testified and asked legislators for their help in passing this bill.  

The bill was laid over for possible inclusion in the omnibus pension bill.