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February 1st Annual Employee Awards Ceremony Recognizes Excellence

CRANSTON, R.I. –February 5, 2008 – The Rhode Island Department of Corrections held its Annual Employee Awards Ceremony on Friday, February 1, 2008, recognizing 16 RIDOC employees from all three of the Department’s divisions and four “Friends of the Department” for their outstanding contributions during 2007.

Assistant Director of Rehabilitation Services, Roberta Richman presented awards to two staff members in her division, Karen Reilly and Joseph P. Rhodes. Karen Reilly, Pharmacy Technician, Health Care Services, was presented the John J. Moran Award, which honors a staff member from the Division of Rehabilitation Services who exemplifies helping others to achieve their maximum potential on a daily basis. Qualities expected of the recipient include outstanding work performance, dedication, alertness, good communication skills, and the ability to motivate other staff members. Ms. Reilly has been with the Department since 1990 and is described as “dedicated and loyal to the Department and the members of Health Services Unit.” According to her supervisor, Joseph Marocco, “She is an asset to the Department and exemplifies the intent and spirit of the John J. Moran Award.”

Joseph P. Rhodes, Community Program Counselor, Community Confinement, received the Community Corrections Award which recognize an individual from the Division of Rehabilitation Services who exhibits professionalism, teamwork, willingness to work above and beyond the norm, loyalty to the Department, a positive and productive attitude, and excellent work ethic. Mr. Rhodes has been a member of the Department for over 15 years and, according to his supervisor, Magdalena Picot, “not only takes the initiative to accomplish what needs to be done, but the quality of his work is outstanding.”

Assistant Director of Administrative Services, Ellen Evans Alexander presented Paul A. Gutowski, Human Resources Analyst III, with the Exemplary Service Award. This award recognizes a staff member within the Division of Administration who best exemplifies the purpose of the Division - providing support to Departmental operations. The qualities expected of the recipient include professionalism, initiative, competence, helpfulness, responsiveness, dedication to the job, interpersonal communication skills, and a strong spirit of cooperation. Mr. Gutowski has been with the Department since 2004 and is a member of the State Employees’ Charitable Appeal team, as well as the Stress Team. He is described as “helpful, cooperative, and as someone who personifies all that this award is intended to recognize.”

Assistant Director of Institutions and Operations Jake Gadsden presented Eric J. Laurianno, Correctional Officer, Intake Service Center, with the Correctional Officer of the Year Award. This award within the Division of Institutions & Operations is designed to enhance Correctional Officer appearance, professionalism, morale, esprit de corps, and to recognize and acknowledge outstanding performance of duties. Officer Laurianno has been a member of the Department since 1998 and has become an asset in the Intake Service Center. He has received a Letter of Accommodation for assisting the Special Investigations Unit and is also a model citizen in his home community.

The Supervisor of the Year Award was presented to Richard Meunier, CO Lieutenant, John J. Moran Medium Security Facility. This award is presented to recognize and reward an outstanding supervisor whose supervision qualities, appearance, professionalism, and esprit de corps are exceptional.

Lt. Meunier has been with the Department since 1985 and has contributed immensely. Along with supervising critical areas such as Correctional Industries and the kitchen, he conducts inmate discipline and job boards. He also takes the time to coordinate the SCORE Program at the Moran facility, speaking to youth about at-risk behavior.

The Distinguished Service Award was presented to Julian Robinson, Correctional Officer, Maximum Security. This award recognizes staff members within the institutions who have performed an act of bravery or heroism on or off duty. On April 4, 2007, Officer Robinson heroically worked to stop an inmate from jumping from the third tier of Maximum Security’s Aquidneck Two Block and as a result, saved a human life. In that moment, he exemplified everything that embodies this award: competence, composure, professionalism, and excellent judgment. In presenting the award, Assistant Director Gadsden noted that “his bravery has made him deserving of this highest honor.”

Corrections Director Ashbel T. Wall presented the Teamwork Award and the Friends of the Department Awards. The Teamwork Award honors an interdisciplinary team from the various divisions within the Department for accomplishing a specific goal or project that contributed to the Department's mission or solved a systemic problem. This award was presented to Nancy Bailey, Warden, Central Office, and other members of the Major Exercise Design Team including Erin Boyar, Gina Caruolo, Donna Collins, Sergio DeSousarosa, Ronald Fallow, Jorge Lamb, Gregory McCarthy and Gerard Pilon. The combined talents of this group helped to put together two successful drills, one at the John J. Moran Medium Security Facility on March 14th, 2007, and another at the Maximum Security Facility on June 20th, 2007. These two drills provided a useful and crucial learning experience for all participants. According to Director Wall, “the efforts of these individuals have made the Department a better prepared and safer place.

The Friends of the Corrections Department Awards are presented to honor and recognize individuals from outside the RIDOC’s ranks who made a significant and valued contribution to the Department's mission. This year's recipients included: Lisa D'Agostino, Deputy Director, Department of Labor & Training, for her dedication and professionalism as a vocal supporter of the state’s prisoner reentry work; Courtney Henderson, Division of Biology & Medicine, Brown University, for coordinating the delivery and purchase of hundreds of Christmas gifts for the children of incarcerated parents; Anthony Balkun, Director of Security, Rhode Island Hospital for his partnership in ensuring a safe and secure environment for RIDOC staff and offenders when outside hospital care is required for inmates, and Edith Lowe, 2007 New England Institute of Technology graduate, for her role in filming and editing the RIDOC Virtual History Tour while still a student at New England Tech, which is now posted on the Department’s website, and for her volunteer assistance with other video projects following the completion of her studies.

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