In the mid 1990s, inmate-on-inmate violence was at historically high levels. Stabbings and slashings averaged over 120 per month. Gangs, growing in popularity in urban centers throughout the country, were recruiting heavily in DOC institutions, using fear and intimidation. The City had not authorized a new recruit class in five years. Overtime expenditures were running more than $75 million. Zooming sick rates also added to overtime costs. DOC's facilities were dirty and in disrepair, with promise of improvements dashed by bureaucratic delays and seeming indifference.
To address these and other challenges, the Department implemented the Total Efficiency Accountability Management System (TEAMS). TEAMS' doctrine is that every unit within the DOC affects how the agency performs its mission, and that staff should be agency-focused, not narrowly unit-oriented. All are expected to seek and work together to realize the Department's goals.
Senior staff hold monthly TEAMS meetings with frontline managers (wardens and certain other supervisors). At these meetings, the wardens describe conditions at their respective jails, explain variances in their performance indicators, and gain guidance on strategies to solve specific problems. Also participating in these interactive problem-solving sessions are civilian and uniformed administrators who lend their expertise at appropriate junctures.