By Glen McGowan –
As a contingency measure in anticipation of possible staffing shortages at DOC, Governor Charlie Baker announced Tuesday he will activate up to 250 Massachusetts National Guard personnel.
The Governor says that this week Guard personnel will begin training to assist the DOC, if necessary, with transportation and exterior security functions.
The Governor says that the measures being taking are in preparation for the possibility of a reduction in DOC staffing levels due to non-compliance with Executive Order 595, which requires all Executive Department employees to demonstrate proof of vaccination against COVID-19 by October 17.
Activating the Guard in advance of the deadline allows for Guard personnel to immediately begin job-specific training and assume roles, if needed, in the event of a reduction in DOC staffing levels.
The availability of support from the National Guard will safeguard DOC operational continuity and continued access to services and programming for inmates. The DOC is further prepared to augment correction staff with the return of retired correction officers in addition to Guard personnel.
Under this contingency plan, Guard personnel will assume external functions which do not involve direct contact with inmates. When Guard personnel assist with providing transportation to inmates, a correctional officer will accompany them.