Calabrese told the board he was unaware such problems existed and asked for time to correct them. "If they're not fixed, heads will roll. Including mine," he said. Board members gave him until today to fix the problems. Administrators from the Correction Department also shared their observations with the board at the October meeting, where they said their biggest concern is that inmates at Grimes and McPherson don't ever seem to work. Instead, they loiter around unclean barracks in equally dirty clothes. The "inmate idleness" at the Newport prisons stems from a serious staff shortage, said Larry Norris, director of the department. Because there aren't enough guards to supervise work crews, inmates spend most of their time in living areas, making them not only unproductive but more likely to get bored and into trouble, Norris said. "You have got to get them out of there." Max Mobley, the department's deputy director for health and correctional programs, told board members that substance-abuse programs at the Newport units were lacking and devoid of security measures. He first became worried about McPherson's female inmates two years ago, when he learned that 70 percent of the women there were taking some type of psychotropic medication, drugs designed for those with mental problems or conditions. By comparison, when the state was housing women at the Tucker unit, only 7 to 9 percent were ever on these types of medication at any time, Mobley said. "That's not good practice to put that many inmates on mind-altering drugs." Charles Allen, head of the prison system's school district, said his teachers and principals were often afraid because of a lack of security. There just aren't enough guards, he added. Even inmates have complained about the staff shortage. In letters to the Democrat-Gazette, one writes: "All I know is we never have law and order, its total confusion and [chaos] in here. The guards ask us where inmates are, ask us what to do. I've never seen anything like it here, no organization whatsoever." While conditions at Grimes have improved "substantially," McPherson is still struggling to fix several problems, Parker said, describing what she saw on Jan. 19 visit to both facilities. Guards at the Grimes Unit seemed to have much better morale than witnessed in previous visits, Parker said. "I saw inmates working to clean that unit up. I saw more effort than in previous visits. I will not tell you that all their problems are solved, but I saw progress there. It felt better. It felt like the inmates had a sense that there was management there. And they did not know that we were coming." But little had changed at the McPherson Unit, Parker said. "No one was working. And there were no women cleaning that unit. There was very little programming going on. They were pretty much sitting on their bunks with a 'Well, we're here and we don't care,' kind of feel," Parker said. One inmate who wrote to the Democrat-Gazette says this is the norm.