- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 11, 2005

HAGERSTOWN, Md. — The warden at the Maryland Correctional Institution-Hagerstown has resigned, citing conflicts with supervisors and job cuts that he said reflect a disregard for public safety.

Joseph Sacchet, a 30-year corrections veteran, said Friday he has been on paid medical leave for a stress reaction for about three months. His resignation is effective June 30, he said in a letter to Division of Correction Commissioner Frank C. Sizer Jr.

George Gregory, a spokesman for the prison agency, said Mr. Sizer had no response to Mr. Sacchet’s letter, except to wish him well.

Public Safety and Correctional Services Secretary Mary Ann Saar, whose department includes the Division of Correction, said she appreciated Mr. Sacchet’s service and wished him well. Mrs. Saar also said she was committed to working with anyone with concerns or recommendations for the agency.

“The 6,841 correctional officers in our system deserve for people to recognize the great job they are doing in a very difficult environment,” she said.

Mr. Sacchet, 55, said the agency had cut 82 jobs at the prison, instead of the 30 to 35 he had expected under a restructuring begun by the administration of Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.

In his letter, Mr. Sacchet complained of “dictatorial leadership, disregard for real public safety and an outright display of elitism.”

He said in an interview the department has added upper-management jobs, including a new regional assistant commissioner with whom he had clashed, while cutting correctional officers needed to maintain order.

Maryland has been eliminating staff at some prisons to cut costs. Mr. Sizer said in March that a staffing analysis in 2003 identified certain security posts that could be eliminated without compromising safety. Non-supervisory staff systemwide was cut by 172 last year, from 4,730 to 4,558 positions, he said.

Mr. Sacchet took over as warden in 2003. He previously had been warden at the nearby Roxbury Correctional Institution and Maryland Correctional Training Center.


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