Accomplishments in 1997

February 9, 1997

Correctional Emergency Response Teams trained members of the Connecticut National Guard in crowd control methods, search and escort techniques, squad formations, logistics, and the use of batons and chemical weapons.

February 11, 1997

Under the leadership of Commissioner John J. Armstrong, statewide chairman, the 1996 Connecticut State Employee Campaign raised a record $1,042,365 for a range of charities.

March 1, 1997

Public defenders in Hartford for the first time met with inmate clients at the Walker Reception and Special Management Unit in Suffield using videoconferencing technology, saving travel time and costs.

March 8, 1997

Staff refined the sex offender program in seven facilities, employing the Relapse Prevention Model, which calls for intervention at all stages of the criminal justice process.

March 22, 1997

After two years of study, the department adopted a new basic duty uniform for line staff. The cost-effective uniform enhanced standardization and security, while reducing dry-cleaning costs.

April 18, 1997

Correctional industries expanded its textile line to include hospital wear and disposable clothing.

April 26, 1997

The six facilities in Somers and Enfield established the first correctional composting program in New England. It annually will divert hundreds of tons of garbage from scarce landfill areas, eliminate disposal costs, and support landscaping and garden projects.

May 27, 1997

The agency entered into an agreement with the Social Security Administration to identify inmates who have become ineligible for SSA benefits as the result of confinement. The SSA pays the state treasurer for every inmate reported within 90 days. The state received the first payment on August 6, and in the subsequent three months a total of $19,400 from the SSA.

June 3, 1997

Subsequent to the State Senate rejection of an arbitrated contract award, the department and the union representing correction officers agreed to a seven-year contract.

June 30, 1997

The agency opened a 175-bed annex at the Radgowski Correctional Institution in Uncasville. The structure confines medium-security and low-security offenders.

July 1, 1997

Despite the increasing offender population, escapes fell 54 percent last year and offender-on-staff assaults declined 21 percent.

The department returned $19.2 million to the general fund from its legislative appropriation for fiscal 1996-97-the third savings in three years. The agency in the past three years returned $101.5 million to the general fund.

The Nutrition Services Unit announced that the cost-effective, cook-chill food production system at the York Correctional Institution in Niantic in fiscal year 1997-98 will begin to supply meals for all facilities in Connecticut.

July 15, 1997

The first class of 28 crisis negotiators finished training at the Maloney Center for Training and Staff Development in Cheshire in the control of hostage, barricade and suicide situations.

July 22, 1997

The Legislative Regulations Review Committee approved the agency's regulation to assess sentenced offenders for the cost of their incarceration, and to charge nominal fees for certain vocational and educational programs and health services. The regulation will be implemented on Jan. 1, 1998.

August 13, 1997

The three central office functions in Hartford were consolidated in one renovated structure in Wethersfield to reduce costs and enhance operational efficiency.

August 23, 1997

The agency issued a contract to the Center for the Study of Crime Victims' Rights to develop a program for sensitizing inmates to the negative impact of their criminal acts. The Center also will design programs for offenders.

September 29, 1997

The agency established a physical agility-testing program as a component of its qualification procedure for correction officer. More than 2,700 people who had passed the written examination were invited to participate in the first sessions at the Maloney Center for Training and Staff Development in Cheshire.

November 12, 1997

Four correction officers of the Gates Correctional Institution received the Governor's Service Award from Governor John G. Rowland for supervising inmate crews while assisting numerous nonprofit organizations and municipal agencies throughout Southeastern Connecticut.