Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor
Brian Fischer, Commissioner (DOCS)
David J. Swarts, Commissioner (DMV)
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Department of Corrections and Community Supervision and Department of Motor Vehicles Open Cost-Saving Call Center at Greene Correctional Facility
Along with a second call center at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, annual savings to taxpayers is expected to reach approximately $3.5 million
ALBANY - The New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) and the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) have opened a new Call Center at the Greene Correctional Facility in Greene County which, in conjunction with the DMV Call Center at the women's Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in Westchester County, is expected to answer more than one million calls per year. Their operation meets Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's call to state agencies to seek more cost effective ways to deliver services to the public effectively and efficiently, saving taxpayers approximately $3.5 million annually.
Deputy Secretary for Public Safety Elizabeth Glazer said: "The opening of the Department of Motor Vehicles Call Center at the Greene Correctional Facility is an example of the innovative work our Public Safety agencies do to meet Governor Cuomo's goal of delivering services to the public more efficiently, while lessening the burden on the taxpayers. We also know that operating successful prison industries programs is an investment in our state's overall safety. When we help offenders build the workforce skills necessary to find viable employment after incarceration, we lessen the chances they will reoffend and end up back in the state's prison system."
DOCCS Commissioner Brian Fischer said: "We are very pleased to continue such a successful collaboration between DOCCS and DMV by opening this new Call Center in the Greene Correctional Facility. While providing offenders' the opportunity to develop valuable and marketable skills in a real work environment that prepares them for successful re-entry into the community, this new call center, along with another at Bedford Hills, will provide significant cost savings to our state's taxpayers."
DMV Commissioner Barbara J. Fiala said: "The Greene Correctional Facility Call Center opening highlights an outstanding partnership between the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision. As a result of this partnership, Call Center staff is able to provide efficient customer service so that the number of customers who need to visit or call DMV offices is significantly reduced. Efforts like these demonstrate what government agencies can accomplish when they work together for the benefit of New York's citizens."
Greene's call center accepts calls from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. It will employ up to 45 offenders when fully operational, including full-time, part-time customer service agents, trainees, six DMV employee team leaders and two trainers. Participating offenders do not have access to DMV computers and are not able to access any customer data. Offenders convicted of a telephone-related crime or credit card or computer fraud are not eligible to work at the center. Calls are monitored at random.
Each call center agent is supplied with a profile book containing all the information necessary to answer general assistance questions, such as office hours and locations, identification requirements, the emissions program, and what customers will need and what they should expect before conducting a DMV transaction. Agents transfer any questions about detailed customer information to a civilian DMV employee.
The center at the medium security Greene facility replaces DOCCS' DMV call center at the Arthur Kill Correctional Facility, which closed on December 1, 2011. Arthur Kill had been operating its DMV Call Center since 1988. Several inmates from the Arthur Kill DMV Call Center were transferred to Greene. Greene's call center will field an estimated 55,000 calls per month, with the majority of calls coming from New York City, Long Island and Westchester and Rockland counties.
Bedford Hills' center also accepts calls from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. It employs 39 offenders, including 31 full-time and part-time customer service agents, six team leaders and two trainers.
Offenders must successfully complete an initial 490 hour training program supervised by DMV staff. The training sessions consist of both classroom time and telephone time. Each offender who works in a DMV call center must have either a high school diploma or a General Educational Development (GED/high school equivalency) diploma. Each is hired by DMV after being recommended by DOCCS and their performance is continually evaluated by DMV staff. Participating offenders are paid standard hourly correctional industry wages that range from 46 cents to $1.14 per hour based on experience level and title, which include Agent (entry level), Trainer and Team Leader.
Offenders are trained as Customer Service Representatives and answer telephone inquires from the public. Some inmates work as mail and supply clerks, maintaining the DMV supply room where all DMV forms are stored and assembling packets known as "Ready Packs," which are mailed to the public upon request. Providing information by phone and materials by mail, the DOCCS/DMV call centers significantly reduce the number of customers who need to visit DMV offices.
The program provides offenders with knowledge of vehicle and traffic law, permits, renewals, Commercial Drivers Licenses, fee structure and other DMV related information. Offenders learn skills aimed at making them more marketable upon release from prison, including customer service, communication and problem solving.
Greene Correctional Facility is classified as a medium security facility and is located in the town of Coxsackie in Greene County. The facility is used for the general confinement of males 16 years of age or older. It offers academic education, vocational training, transitional services, volunteer services, Alcohol and Substance Abuse Treatment, Residential Substance Abuse Treatment, Aggression Replacement Training, a Division of Industries recycling program and the new DMV call center. Greene Correctional Facility was constructed in 1984.
The New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) is responsible for the care, custody and treatment of individuals sentenced to state prison and for working with them to ensure their successful re-entry into the community. The Department operates 60 correctional facilities (including the Willard Drug Treatment Campus and the Edgecombe Residential Drug Treatment facility) and oversees 38 community supervision (parole) field offices across the state. DOCCS currently provides care, custody and supervision of approximately 95,000 individuals:56,000 in custody in correctional and drug treatment facilities and 39,000 under post-release community supervision.
The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles administers the state's Vehicle and Traffic Law and promotes highway safety. The Department registers and titles motor vehicles, examines and licenses drivers, dealers, repair shops, inspection stations and driving schools and collects fees for these activities. It is one of the most active public service agencies in state government, operating 28 motor vehicle issuing offices and serving more than 20 million customers each year. The Department also exists to enhance traffic safety, to provide consumer protection and information services and to assist other government agencies in achieving their mission.