Accomplishments in 1996

January 24, 1996

Staff completed the introduction of new telephone systems at all facilities. With each offender assigned a personal identification number, staff now monitor the length, frequency and content of all offender telephone calls.

January 26, 1996

The first video medicine clinic was conducted between the MacDougall Correctional Institution in Suffield and the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington, eliminating the cost of transporting inmates for health care, as well as related security concerns.

February 21, 1996

A new use-of-force training model was installed to better manage offenders. It included techniques for self-protection and team strategies for diffusing and handling violent situations.

March 13, 1996

The department established the Victim Services Unit to give support to the victims of crime during the criminal justice process, and to give them a voice in correctional policy.

March 27, 1996

The agency founded the Special Operations Unit to conduct surveillance, gather intelligence, supply firearm support for emergency response teams, recover hostages or endangered staff, and contain or overcome armed offenders.

May 8, 1996

For the first time, videoconferencing technology connected the Walker Reception and Special Management Unit in Suffield and the Rockville Superior Court to handle offender civil and habeas corpus matters.

May 15, 1996

A no-smoking policy was established at all correctional facilities in Connecticut, prohibiting offenders from possessing tobacco products.

June 26, 1996

Duty rifles with superior stability, accuracy and dependability were purchased from a Connecticut-based manufacturer.

July 1, 1996

The agency returned $46.4 million to the general fund from its legislative appropriation for fiscal 1995-96-the second successive significant savings. In the past two years the department returned $82.3 million to the general fund.

Escapes this year fell 48 percent. Offender-on-staff assaults declined 22 percent. Offender-on-offender assaults fell 15 percent. Furlough authorizations plunged more than 81 percent.

The agency training operation was relocated to the Maloney Center for Training and Staff Development in Cheshire, a central site near major highways, a canine unit and a small-arms range, as well as the State Police headquarters and training academy.

July 31, 1996

The State Supreme Court upheld the agency's monitoring of inmate telephone calls, and held that the practice does not violate state wiretapping or eavesdropping statutes, or an inmate's right to privacy.

August 30, 1996

All four absconders on the agency's first fugitive alert flyer were quickly apprehended.

September 11, 1996

Staff opened the agency's third kennel. The department's 16 handler-dog teams focus on detecting contraband and providing tactical support to facility staff.

September 18, 1996

The State Appellate Court ruled that state statutes authorized the commissioner discretion when awarding good time to an offender.

October 9, 1996

The department initiated a new program in which offender crews, attired in bright red jumpsuits, were assigned to clean Connecticut roadways.

December 10, 1996

The Council of State Governments presented its prestigious Innovations Award to the Close Custody Phase Program at the Garner Correctional Institution in Newtown, an unusually effective program for managing gang leaders.

Staff completed the installation of the Computer Assisted Positive Identification System at all facilities. More than 100,000 inmates were recorded on the photographic database, a proven resource when transferring or discharging offenders. The State Police, Board of Parole and the Welfare Fraud Unit at the Department of Social Services also use the database.

December 18, 1996

The second facility with videoconferencing technology connected the Northern Correctional Institution in Somers and the Rockville Superior Court to handle offender civil and habeas corpus matters.