Accomplishments in 1968-1993
The agency established three initial divisions: Institutions, Community Services and Women's Services; combined the parole systems at Cheshire and the State Prison; closed the Danbury State Jail and the Tolland State Jail: and authorized work and educational release furloughs. Staff established a "trusty" scale for inmates, a national first; developed the Learn Baby, Learn Program, a comprehensive adult basic education program; and launched a demonstration program called the Cheshire Teacher Corps. Females began serving as registered nurses on a trial basis. The State Prison initiated Operation Get Smart, where "teams of inmates from the Connecticut State Prison toured high schools." Forty-six percent of the population there worked in industries. Niantic temporarily closed two housing units and converted a staff residence into the Betsy Ross House, a community release center. Weekly inmate advisory councils were formed at Cheshire, and telephones were placed in inmate housing units. Education comprised 12 teachers.
The Middlesex State Jail closed. The department received federal grants totaling $500,000 for volunteer and inmate family services, group counseling for parolees, and orientation, in-service and management training. Nongovernmental agencies funded the Outward Bound and Guides for Better Living programs. Staff installed the agency's first on-line inmate-information terminal. Somers operated at a near-capacity of 946. Seventy percent of the plumbing fixtures were replaced in the North Block at Cheshire, and an electrical locking system was installed. An average of 30 inmates were held at the Connecticut Corrections Camp on the grounds of the Meshomasic State Forrest in Portland, where they learned the basics of forestry and firefighting. A total of 134 inmates in the work-release program earned a weekly average of $117.
Agency efforts focused on diagnostic facilities, drug treatment efforts, staff training, and the construction of new jails. The agency became the second in the nation to organize its educational system into a unified school district. A treatment division was formed to respond to the "new phenomenon of drug addiction and criminal involvement." Somers opened its reception-diagnostic center and established Empathy House, a therapeutic community. Three parole supervisors and one institutional and 15 field officers managed a caseload of 1,270 offenders. Cheshire initiated the Day-top live-in residence; 50 youths attended courses at Wilcox Regional Technical School. The Academy regularly issued Training Notes to all training officers.
With an LEAA grant, the department created the Public/Private Resource Expansion, a unique approach to working with offenders and their families. It also initiated Project FIRE (Facilitating Integration and Re-entry Experience). With a $368,000 grant from the Planning Committee on Criminal Justice, the department established the Connecticut Justice Academy in what has been the Middlesex Stat Jail to train probation, youth services, family relations and court officers, as well as correctional staff. The first female teachers were hired at Cheshire. The agency's traveling diagnostic unit, a pre-release counseling and referral program on wheels, regularly visited the correctional centers. More than 40 percent of those on parole had drug-related offenses. The population averaged 364 at the Osborn Prison Farm, where inmates were trained in "welding, auto repair, carpentry, brick masonry, tile setting and painting." The yearend population at Cheshire stood at 441; 12 youths hiked the Appalachian Trail in Connecticut as part of Project Rebound. Niantic held 176, and started a cottage program using the Kohlberg moral-development residential model.
Parole supervised 1,514 men and women in the community, and 429 offenders participated in education and work-release programs. The inmate population declined. Administrative directives were totally revised. A new uniform-blue blazer and trousers-became the standard, except at Portland and Niantic, where staff wore civilian clothes. Staff at Cheshire initiated the Thresholds Program to teach decision-making and problem-solving. Orientation training at the Academy averaged three weeks. Thirteen treatment units were in operation. The Program Development Unit administered more than $2 million in external funds. Staff produced a 45-minute television special "Prisons-Inside Out?" The CORRECT information system contained 40,000 inmate records. Approximately 750 inmates received therapeutic treatment for drug or alcohol abuse, and methadone units served 150 patients. The agency underwrote three correctional courses for staff at Tunxis Community College. Education began offering bilingual instruction and English as a second language.
Bridgeport staff opened the New Center. The department established its first transportation unit in Enfield and created the Volunteer Services Unit. Staff approved 6,000 furloughs. Maintenance and industrial supervisors and all personnel in the correctional series were upgraded. Niantic shared its educational facilities and instructors with Montville. At all correctional facilities, except for Portland, "typewriter-like computerized teleprocessing terminals were replaced by faster video-printing display terminals." The department's multi-modality drug-treatment approach included discussion groups, seven therapeutic communities, outpatient treatment, methadone detoxification, and build-up and short-time maintenance. Education reported that 367 inmates earned GEDs, and 825 pursued accredited college studies through an agreement with regional community colleges. The department published a b-weekly newsletter, Perspective, and adopted a motto: Good corrections-the key to reduced crime.
The agency closed the Youth Camp in Portland; established the Inmate Parole Economic Development Corporation to broaden inmate employment opportunities; and undertook Project PLAN, a multiyear effort to anticipate future needs. Commissioner Manson was reappointed for a second four-year term. The state released 200 inmates when a Superior Court judge declared unconstitutional all sentences longer than one year from the Court of Common Pleas. The agency became the first in the nation to adopt the United Nation's minimum standards for treatment of offenders. At the beginning of the year, 1,8,25 men and women were on parole. Industries registered sales of $1,414,664. The Academy conducted seven orientation classes for 137 employees.
Staff opened the New Haven Correctional Center and closed the New Haven State Jail. Correctional Industries was named by LEAA as a national model. A weekly news bulletin became the medium for internal communication. Parole supervised 1,593 people. Staff granted 12,528 furloughs. The school district introduced special education and related services.
The Hartford Correctional Center opened and the Hartford State Jail closed. A union representing approximately two-thirds of agency personnel called a three-day strike to protest the slow pace of collective bargaining. Female employees were introduced in most capacities in male institutions. Staff formed REDEEM (Redevelopment of Energies Devoted to Enhancing Esteem and Merit) teams to improve the correctional climate. Employee turnover declined. Somers initiated the Complaint coordinator Program to resolve inmate grievances.
A community services office opened in Waterbury. Minority staffing representation increased to 14 percent. "Facility overcrowding had been remedied on an interim basis by the installation of second bunks in cells originally designed for single prisoners." Staff at the most populous centers developed a pre-release preparation curriculum for the two weeks prior to parole or discharge. All facilities began self-evaluation for accreditation. The NIC designated New Haven as the jail training resource for the northeast. Health Services decided to employ several physician assistants, a new category of health professionals. The department operated 18 volunteer programs. Education implemented its first formal teacher evaluation program. Parole supervised 1,442 people at yearend. After eight years and 58,123 furloughs, the furlough success rate stood at 99.7 percent. "Inspections were set up on a regularized basis with one institution or center being selected each month for extensive evaluation." Staff purged five tons of duplicate or outdated records. Public Information formed a departmental drill team.
A state reorganization act eliminated the Council of Correction, the agency's oversight committee. The increasing pre-trial population outdistanced the decline in the number of long-term prisoners; all facilities were at or above their rated capacities as a result of a 16.7 percent increase in the population. Staff at Somers started the Cabbage Patch Program, in which inmates recorded children's stories. The population at Niantic averaged 141. The Parole Accreditation Committee reviewed all 177 standards for compliance. The agency contracted with 30 halfway houses. State law defined volunteers as "unpaid state employees." Industries sales topped $2 million. The departmental drill team was expanded and named the Honor Guard.
The department had recorded two-year 25-percent increase in the inmate population, with no increase in the number of employees or the amount of space, resulting in the use of overtime to meet problems. The legislature established definite sentencing and eliminated parole for crimes committed after July 1, 1981. New Haven and Enfield gained three-year accreditation. Staff initiated the Special Offender Program at Somers for inmates with maladaptive traits. The Community Correction Act mandated that the department structure its community resources and facilities in parallel with health service regions. The Offender-Based Statistical Correctional Information System replaced CORRECT. The agency began to fund correctional libraries, formerly funded entirely by the Connecticut State Library. Parole supervised 1,783 offenders at yearend.
The Gates Correctional Institution opened. Prison costs had risen to $70,000 per bed for construction and $10,000 annually per inmate. The state established the Task Force on Jail and Prison Overcrowding. The agency founded the Standards and Compliance Unit, and searched for space in closed or abandoned state buildings. Somers installed a family visiting unit for spouses, parents and children. Enfield added potatoes as a crop, and Cheshire cultivated a total of 22 acres. New haven established an inmate grievance committee. The Field Services Division administered 15 programs representing 89 projects. The Information System Section was renamed Central Information Control.
A federal court placed a cap on the population at Bridgeport, Hartford and New Haven. The rate of growth in the inmate population slowed. The legislature passed the Community Residence Act (SHR). The Connecticut Humanities Council funded a philosopher in residence to "grapple with the concerns of finding a rational social policy for the control of deviant and damaging behavior." Minority representation in the workforce rose to 19 percent. Hartford, Niantic and Parole were accredited. Health care staff numbered 110, with at least one RN located in every facility. The agency hired a religious services coordinator for inmates of the Islamic faith. For the first time the agency adopted a budgetary line item for training. Educational staff developed a program in which inmates transcribed books into Braille by computer.
The Connecticut Youth Institution and Morgan Street Detention Center opened. The agency appointed its first female warden at a male facility. It annually spent $591 per inmate for medical services. The population increased 8.1 percent. Institutional education was formally named School District No. 1. The Literacy Volunteer Program was expanded into all facilities. Engineering planned to use a modular-unit approach at the new minimum-security facility in Enfield. SHR was implemented and met its goal of 20 releases per month. Staff of Project FIRE assisted a monthly average of 305 offenders.
Staff opened the Union Avenue Detention Center. Commissioner John Manson died in September 1983; Raymond Lopes was named Acting Commissioner and later appointed to the post. Somers Warden Carl Robinson died, and posthumously named State Manager of the Year. Public Act 84-505 defined an overcrowding emergency, and created an overcrowding emergency release mechanism and an advisory commission to recommend prison capacities. Average sentence lengths dramatically increased this year; for example, by 149 percent for 3rd-degree larceny, by 28 percent for 2nd-degree burglary. The agency adopted a program budget for operations to increase efficiency. The number of inmates released to parole fell 55 percent. Industries' sales reached $3.3 million. A bargaining unit agreed to forego 1 percent of a wage demand in exchange for the allocation of those funds to annual refresher training.
Computer-assisted instruction was introduce to classrooms. Active capital projects totaled $40 million. Staff initiated training for hostage negotiators and a CERT certification program. A mental health unit opened at Niantic. Eighty beds were added to Cheshire, which was renamed the Connecticut Correctional Center. The Bridgeport population rose to 767. Morgan Street processed 12,000 inmates; Union Avenue, 9,400. AIDS became the prominent medical issue. Nonresidential services assisted 3,100 clients. More than 73 percent of inmates had histories of drug or alcohol abuse, and 800 participated in AA meetings in nine facilities. In 17 years staff had granted 172,265 furloughs; the success rate climbed to 99.8 percent.
Enfield Minimum opened; and the other Enfield converted from minimum to medium security. The population had virtually doubled since 1978, primarily as a result of sentencing laws and practices. Seven-hundred had been added in five years. The agency developed a five-year plan to chart its future. Enfield Warden Richard Steinert was named State Manager of the Year. Somers was accredited; medical staff there created a contagious unit. The Youth Institution was renamed after Commissioner Manson. The daily cost per inmate reached $47.31. Volunteer Services held its first training conference. Staff installed the first microcomputers in facilities and units. Niantic constructed the Sesame Street Playground. The Montville population averaged 181. Minority representation in the workforce reached 24.8 percent. Library services were transferred to the School District. Five principals were appointed. SHR participation declined by 1 percent. The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) was formed. A Public Act enabled the agency to establish a private-sector industries pilot.
The agency opened the Hartell DWI Unit, developed an objective classification system, created an investigation unit, hired 227 correction officers, and automated its property control, labor standards, and budget preparation and control systems. The legislature enacted mandatory drug sentences. The population at Enfield Medium average 469; Hartford, 551. Enfield Minimum was renamed in honored of Warden Robinson. Brooklyn tested a pilot medical record program. EAP held eight Time Out for You programs for staff. Electronic monitoring started in February 1987. P/PREP served 3,500 clients. A five-year $300 million capital expansion project commenced. Industries introduced the Nutmeg Collection line of furniture. Full-time instructional staff members were authorized for the Academy.
Larry Meachum was named commissioner in October 1987. He instituted the Learning Journey and transitional training for senior managers. The department reorganized, expanding the scope of the Administrative Services Division and broadening field services under the new Program and Services Division. The Connecticut Justice Academy closed and the Center for Training and Staff Development opened in the Campbell Building on the grounds of the Mansfield Training School in Storrs. The Youth Institution was accredited. Inmates farmed 30 crops on 400 acres at Robinson. The 102-member 125th pre-orientation class, the agency's largest, completed its training. Physicians were added on a full-time basis at four facilities. By interagency agreement, the department gained 36 beds at the Whiting Forensic Institute. Facilities operated on a four-week master menu cycle, supplemented by dietary, holiday and special fare menus. The agency hire 423 correction officers; installed a microcomputer -based commissary system; integrated treatment and after-care service programs; and started a mental health halfway house in Waterbury. The state fire marshal's office inspected all facilities. The number on SHR rose to 1,773. A study by Addiction Services led to the formation of CADAC. The per inmate annual cost: $19,429.
The Jennings Road Detention Center, Northeast Correctional Center, Eddy DWI Unit and Central Office Annex opened. The unprecedented growth of the population dominated the year; at Bridgeport it reached 984; Cheshire, 820; Enfield, 714; Hartford, 983; Manson, 678; and Niantic, 543. The agency established the Health Services Division to integrate medical, psychiatric and allied services; accelerated its plans to add 6,000 beds by 1992; trained 717 cadets; and reorganized Internal Affairs as the Security Division. Public Act 89-353 authorized the expedited construction of facilities; 89-390 created the boot camp. Personnel decentralized. The School District served 5,100 students. Life Star began to serve Somers. Staff developed a video production, "Managing by the Numbers." Staff at Robinson moved inmates from deteriorating dormitories into emergency housing.
Staff opened the Webster and Willard correctional institutions and the Western SAT Unit. In the past decade the incarcerated population had doubled, the staffing level had tripled and the agency budget quadrupled. The population at Robinson virtually doubled in 60 days. Between 1985-90, the number of community programs increased 493 percent. Warden Edward Arrington was named State Manager of the Year. Personnel hired 1,023 employees; 696 of them were correction officers. Two disease processes demanded increasing attention: HIV-infection and tuberculosis. Pharmacy regionalized. The agency established its first private-sector industries program, a microfilming operation at Enfield, and created the Central Inmate Records Unit. Assault on an on-duty correctional employee became a Class-C felony, with a consecutive sentence. Public Act 90-261 outlined the phase-out of SHR by July1, 1993. Body alarm systems were installed in Somers. CHRO for the first time approved the annual filing of the department's Affirmative Action Plan; protected classes constituted 48.6 percent of all agency employees and 44.7 percent of its administrators and professionals. An estimated 73 percent of the inmate population were drug abusers. Education initiated the Adult Performance Program. Communication installed a desktop publishing system. The Robinson squad won the first departmental CERT training muster and competition in Enfield. The average daily cost per inmate reached $58.68.
Dorms at Gates and Hartford, the new building at Brooklyn, the Memorial Unit at Bridgeport, and the Radgowski Correctional Center were opened. Larry Meachum was reappointed as commissioner. Fire destroyed the 112-year-old Old Center at Bridgeport, forcing the evacuation of 330 inmates-without injury. The Montville State Jail closed. Drug offenses continued to drive the population numbers. The agency promulgated 15 new directives and gained authority to establish co-correctional facilities and an activity fund for all institutions. Hartell received the Governor's Victim Service Award for its outreach program. Morgan Street initiated work-release and cultural enrichment programs. Niantic organized the Significant other Support Team for its CERT squad. Robinson initiated a culinary art program. The towers at Somers were decommissioned and 10 cell-blocks were double-bunked. Field services reorganized; five regional directors became responsible for all community-based operations. The Training Center processed 712 employees, and 786 others participated in 21 specialized courses. EAP established the Critical Incident Stress Advisory Committee. Staff turnover dropped from 12.5 to 8.5 percent. Engineering Services monitored the construction of three new facilities and seven additions, and started 39 projects. Health Services established the Quality Assurance Unit, consolidated Mental Health Services, and reorganized the medical complexes. The manufacture of baseball caps, the department's second private sector program, began at Somers.
The department opened the Maloney and Garner correctional institutions, Walker Reception Center and a dorm at New Haven, and sponsored a community corrections conference in Hartford. The evolving department continued to serve as a comprehensive social welfare system, meeting the medical, mental health, educational, drug treatment and housing needs of thousands of people. Assistant Agency Personnel Administrator Donald Kruk was named State Manger of the Year for "balancing state-mandated cutbacks with sensitivity for each affected employee's personal interest." Security conducted 40 formal investigations, 42 informal inquiries and 12 security audits. Cheshire implemented a Spanish-language program for staff. Staff established a modified learning community at Manson. Addiction Services conducted 24,627 individual counseling sessions and 2,934 group meetings. Schools in 20 facilities served 9,650 students. The Central Transportation Unit became functional in 1992. The agency maintained 26 interstate compact agreements and contracted with 23 nonprofit agencies for reentry support services. Religious Services conducted 5,904 worship and study sessions for inmates. A total of 1,513 offenders participated in programs at halfway houses and residential treatment programs. The number on SHR fell 18.6 percent. EAP established an employee hotline. Ten ECP health fairs attracted 1,103 employees. Engineering monitored the completion of projects totaling $84,896,192. Research received an NIC grant to develop a model to forecast incarcerated population levels. Health Services operated seven 24-hour outpatient centers and four inpatient units; served 271,906 patients at sick calls; and ordered 2,153 emergency-room visits. The agency began publishing two staff newsletters: the weekly Monday Highlights and the quarterly Correction Connection. Educational staff beamed instruction by microwave to seven institutional schools, and converted curricula to the competency-based modular format.
Walker also became a special management unit. New north and south dorms at Cheshire, and a dorm at Gates opened. Jennings Road, Litchfield and Union Avenue closed. The department reorganized the Operations Division to better coordinate its delivery of institutional and community-based services, and to improve the efficiency by consolidating support services, integrating programs and improving communications. SHR was abolished. Ever larger numbers of inmates were incarcerated for longer periods of time, and the capacity created by the $1 billion facilities expansion project rapidly filled. Staff promulgated 23 new or revised directives, revised a state regulation, and tightened furlough standards and the inmate code of penal discipline. The Cybulski Correctional Institution remained unopened. Niantic transferred inmates to male facilities 12 times to bring its population below statutory capacity. Central Transportation conveyed more than 20,000 inmates between facilities. Industries employed 400 inmates in five facilities and registered $5.5 million in sales. Five facilities supported greenhouses and 15 maintained vegetable gardens. A total of 5,885 active and ad hoc volunteers contributed 106,797 hours to correctional activities. Critical incident stress response teams assisted 268 staff. The average daily expenditure per inmate increased to $63.69 or $23,246.85 annually. The Center for training and Staff Development ran two simultaneous pre-service training shifts. Communication initiated the Good Neighbor Program. Health Services staff referred more than 20,000 offenders for mental health intervention and established a tuberculosis surveillance program, emphasizing control and management.