Released: April 6, 2023
The staff of the George W. Hill Correctional Facility, led by Warden Laura Williams, was joined on April 6 by members of Delaware County Council, the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, the Jail Oversight Board, elected officials and Honorable Judges to celebrate “Transition Day,” marking the one year anniversary since the County’s April 2022 deprivatization of what had been the only privately managed county prison in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
To honor the hard work and dedication of the George W. Hill Correctional Facility staff, an Awards and Recognition Ceremony was held on the facility grounds. The event featured presentations spotlighting key accomplishments and high-performing staff who have spent the last year working to re-establish a respected, high-performing correctional facility molded in the vision of County Council, the Jail Oversight Board and Warden Williams.
The awards ceremony featured “Mission Hero Awards” that recognized employees who embody and represent the agency’s 14 core institutional values — Integrity, Courage, Ethics, Honor, Respect, Service, Duty, Professionalism, Innovation, Transparency, Accountability, Sustainability, Equity, Correctional Excellence — and included awards for the “Employee” and “Supervisor” of the year.
The nominations were provided by employees of the institution who took the opportunity to recognize role models at the George W. Hill Correctional Facility.
Employee of the Year: Correctional Officer Kevin Regan
Supervisor of the Year: Director of Records and Booking Michael Root
Integrity: Correctional Officer Abdelkader Sadouki
Courage: Correctional Officer Karim Clement
Ethics: Lieutenant Kerry Platt
Honor: Sergeant Zackary Serody
Respect: Lieutenant Jesse Moody
Service: Correctional Officer Velma Hilton
Duty: Correctional Officer Fred Pascale
Professionalism: Receptionist Margaret Yates
Innovation: Program & Reentry Administrator Kelly Shaw
Transparency: Investigator George Rhoades
Accountability: Records Technician Courtney Nardone
Sustainability: Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Nina Chychula
Equity: Education and Workforce Development Administrator Joan Skurski
Correctional Excellence: Lieutenant Jarred McCafferty
The transition of control from the private management firm to full County operational control and management was the result of a multi-year process of study and planning. Under County leadership and direction, George W. Hill is now placing an emphasis on reducing recidivism and providing incarcerated people with stabilizing tools that will better prepare them to successfully transition back into the community.
“While the transformation of a corrections facility is a long-term process, and much remains before us, it is clear that under the leadership of Warden Williams, our team has made extraordinary strides in this first year,” said Councilman Kevin Madden, who also chairs the Jail Oversight Board. “We are grateful for the men and women working at George W. Hill who take on the challenges of corrections and serve our community.”
George W. Hill houses people who have been accused of a crime and are awaiting a court hearing, or who have received a sentence of less than two years.
Under the leadership of Warden Williams, the facility has accomplished a great deal since the transition occurred, including:
Increasing the number of Correctional Officers and other necessary staff
Instituting mental health and behavior change programs to include a comprehensive medication assisted treatment program
Adding a full-time instructor for education services
Securing a new healthcare provider
Switching the facility’s food and commissary vendor
Aggressively recruiting new employees, including the use of retention bonuses, sign-on bonuses, and referral bonuses
Expanding the training department, increasing qualified personnel for firearms certification, and lengthening the Cadet Academy basic training from 2 weeks to 6 weeks
Increasing out-of-cell time and recreation time for full population
Expanding incarcerated person job availability and increasing the rate of pay
Increasing time dedicated to discharge planning
Resuming in-person religious services
Increasing the availability of tablets and providing increased access to law library services
Increasing video visitation access
Adding Mental Health Coordinator to Sex Offender treatment programs
Securing federal funding with Delaware County Workforce Development to implement training and employment services with Education Data System, Inc. (EDSI)
Partnering with community-based organizations (Child and Family Focus, Inc.) for program development with Juvenile population
Partnering with Delaware County Elections and League of Women Voters to assist in voting registration and voting
Partnering with Penn State Brandywine for 1st “Inside-Out Program,” which creates opportunities for men and women, inside and outside of prison, to have transformative learning experiences that emphasize collaboration and dialogue, inviting participants to take leadership in addressing crime, justice, and other issues of social concern
Conducting swearing in ceremonies for administration of the oath of law enforcement
"We continue to make great strides here at George W. Hill,” said Warden Williams. “While there is still much to be accomplished, it’s important to pause to recognize the great work being done by our staff, to recharge our batteries, and to prepare for the important work ahead.”
Some of the important steps the facility will undertake over the next year include:
Continuing to increase the staff and expand and improve training
Making significant upgrades to the physical plant, including a new roof and new dining facilities
Improving access to technology
Increasing services for youthful offenders
Enhancing services for medications with opioid use disorders and other substance use/abuse disorders
Increasing education to include parenting, relationships, job readiness, and life skills
Expanding partnerships with local universities
Increasing community engagement and stakeholders for ease of re-entry and re-integration
“Significant change is sustained with continuous planning, evaluation, implementation, monitoring, and maintenance,” added Warden Williams. “Our agency has worked hard to simultaneously maintain the operations while building upon the foundations in this institution.”
With year one under their belt, the staff of George W. Hill now looks to continue their momentum in 2023 in the transformation of the facility to a model high-performing correctional facility.