Accomplishments in 2005

January 1, 2005

Through its newly enhanced emphasis on successful community reintegration, increased support from the three branches of government and improved collaboration with other stake holder state agencies, the Connecticut Department of Correction has continued to experience a significant downward trend in its incarcerated population. The count on January 1, 2005 shows a reduction of more than 500 inmates compared to one year earlier and a decrease of more than 1,600 when contrasted with the agency's all time incarcerated high which was set on January 31, 2003. Additionally, the number of offenders being supervised in the community has grown by nearly 300 when compared to one year ago.

January 28, 2005

In little more than three months time, the Connecticut Department of Correction developed and implemented a fully operational execution protocol in preparation for the first administration of capital punishment in the state in nearly 45 years. The Department was notified on October 6, 2004, that the Superior Court of New London had set an execution date for serial killer Michael Ross, initially for January 26, 2005. In the intervening weeks, the agency dedicated itself to an unprecedented research, planning, and training process that Commissioner Theresa C. Lantz described as the most intensive undertaking in her nearly 29 years in corrections. While the scheduled execution was halted on January 28, 2005, the agency was poised, practiced and fully prepared to carry out the mandates of the law of the State of Connecticut.

February 10, 2005

In an effort to further enhance the support mechanisms for discharging inmates to increase their likelihood of successful community reintegration, the Department of Correction has integrated the assets of the 2-1-1 Infoline database into the agency's discharge process. The service provides daily updates of available housing, job training, education and other essential benefits available to the offender population during re-entry. Posters detailing 2-1-1 Infoline have been placed in all facilities, the service's data base has been linked to the Department's e-mail system and some 200 staff have been trained in its effective usage.

March 1, 2005

The Journal of Offender Rehabilitation reported the findings of a study into the benefits of substance abuse programming within the Connecticut Department of Correction. Undertaken by the Substance Abuse Policy Research Program, the study found that while 46% of the prison population is arrested within the first year of release, recidivism rates for those who receive basic substance abuse treatment drops to 37.4% and to 23.5% for those who receive intensive treatment. The study also found that the cost of the rearrested inmate to the taxpayer is $45,536, five point seven times the cost of the $7,931 basic treatment and one point eight times the cost of the $25,438 intensive treatment.

March 4, 2005

For a second time, the Medical Unit of the York Correctional Institution has earned full accreditation from the National Commission on Correctional Health Care. The facility received the first such accreditation ever achieved by a women's correctional facility in January 2002 and remains the only such facility in the country to have met the high level of excellence. The intensive peer review process examined such health care components as facility governance and administration, inmate care and treatment and health promotion and disease prevention. The process concluded with the facility having fully met the Commission's Standards for Health Services.

March 11, 2005

The Connecticut Department of Correction and the Cheshire Correctional Institution in particular were recognized for their continuing high level of support for Special Olympics at the annual Torch Run Kick-Off. Cheshire CI was the top contributing facility with nearly $9,000 raised over the past year. The agency all told contributed more than $39,000 to the charity during 2004.

March 21, 2005

As part of the State of Connecticut's advancement of its homeland security capabilities, the Department of Correction has been transitioned into Connecticut's statewide I-CALL/I-TAC radio system. Intended to insure multi-agency interoperability communications in times of emergency, the system utilizes advanced 800 MHz handheld radios, which will be used for, command and control. The system will enhance coordination in times of public safety crisis between local, state and federal public safety agencies.

March 29, 2005

As a component of the agency's cost savings initiatives, and at the request of Governor Rell, Commissioner Theresa C. Lantz has banned the use of 411 information calls within the Department of Correction. But simply using a telephone directory or the information available on a website, the agency is expected to save nearly $2,000 a month that was being spent of information assistance.

March 30, 2005

The most recent graduation from the faith based Chrysalis program at the York Correctional Institution was marked by a continuing low rate of recidivism for the women who have participated. The program, which embraces all religious beliefs in an atmosphere, which encourages faith and commitment to productive lifestyles, added 14 women to its list of graduates. Since its inception in May 2003, a total of 75 offenders have completed the program. Of that number only two of those released have returned to prison with new charges.

April 7, 2005

The Connecticut Department of Correction played a significant role in the extensive TOPOFF 3, national, anti-terrorism exercise. The drill successfully tested the response capabilities of top government officials and public safety agencies in dealing with a potential terrorist attack on state facilities. In praising the participation of the Department, Governor M. Jodi Rell called the drill an overwhelming success and stated that the input provided will be instrumental in the future defense of our homeland.

April 14, 2005

As part of the agency's on going efforts to enhance its suicide prevention measures, Commissioner Theresa C. Lantz reached out to the state's Criminal Defense Lawyers Association asking for their assistance. Addressing the assembled attorneys at a two-day seminar, the Commissioner asked the lawyers to inform correctional staff as to any issues their clients may be experiencing that might result in self-harm. The Commissioner also pledged to improve the legal profession's access with correctional facilities with a listing of contacts and telephone numbers, which was posted on the agency's website.

April 24, 2005

The United States Department of Justice mid-year reporting of the nation's prison and jail population revealed that the more than year and a half-long reduction in the census of Connecticut offenders is continuing on a downward trend. The Connecticut Department of Correction was one of 12 states to show a decrease in the year ending June 30, 2004. Connecticut was down 2.5 percent for the time period. This is in addition to the previous reporting period, for the year ending December 31, 2003, which had shown the state inmate population down 4.2 percent. Commissioner Theresa C. Lantz credits the continuing decline to the agency's priority of enhancing efforts aimed at successful, offender, community reintegration in addition to the increased collaboration involving all branches of state government in supporting that initiative.

April 30, 2005

Pursuant to state statues, the Connecticut Department of Addiction Services Unit has undertaken an aggressive timetable in achieving the certification of its addiction counselors. While only about 20 of more than 90 counselors were certified by early 2003, nearly 50 percent have now fulfilled the requirements with several more halfway through the process. By meeting compliance with the rigorous standards of certification, the Department will insure a uniformly high level of treatment for the more than 85 percent of the inmate population, which reports substance abuse issues.

May 6, 2005

As part of its continuing commitment to contribute to and insure the safety of its host community, the Brooklyn Correctional Center has helped develop a set of domestic violence guidelines to assist law enforcement in combating those crimes. Through the facility's Brooklyn Care's program, $500 was donated to pay for the laminated cards that direct officers as to what information should be obtained to successfully prosecute domestic violence cases. Through other contributions, outreach programs and guest speakers, the correctional center has dedicated itself to reducing domestic violence in the community.

May 10, 2005

As the result of a unique partnership between the Connecticut Department of Correction and the United States Postal Service, postal carriers across the country will be better able to protect themselves from dog attacks. Members of the DOC Canine Unit created a DVD, which demonstrates to postal employees what steps to take when a vicious dog approaches. Using a specially trained Department canine, a correction officer in a postal uniform portrays how the mail carriers bag can be used to defend themselves. After the video was distributed statewide, postal carriers experienced only one dog bite in July as compared to five for the same month last year. It is now being requested across the country.

May 13, 2005

For the first time in 45 years, the Connecticut Department of Correction carried out a sentence of Capital Punishment against an inmate in its custody. Through the intense dedication and professionalism of its staff, the agency developed the multi-faceted execution procedure in keeping with the direction of Commissioner Theresa C. Lantz that the process be humane, efficient and dignified. This was also the first time in state history that the method of lethal injection was utilized in carrying out a court ordered death penalty. Despite the magnitude of the planning and preparation, the execution was performed without issue.

May 17, 2005

The Maloney Center for Training and Staff Development earned a perfect score of 100 percent compliance after undergoing a rigorous re-accreditation review by the American Correctional Association. Inspectors reviewed all aspects of the academy from physical plant, to staff attitude to the new Adult Learning Model with mentoring support. Their conclusion was that Maloney CTSD is the, "…elite of the elite…" among correctional training facilities in the nation. The academy first achieved accreditation in 1999 and earned renewal in 2002.

May 26, 2005

Commissioner Theresa C. Lantz and Deputy Commissioner Brian Murphy participated in a "Tip a Cop" charity event on behalf of Connecticut Special Olympics. The event, at a Hartford restaurant, drew other top law enforcement officials and a large crowd raised more than $3,000 for the charity.

June 7, 2005

Among the ranks of law enforcement personnel from across Connecticut who were recognized at the United States Attorneys Eighth Annual Awards presentation were three members of the Connecticut Department of Correction. Captain Joseph Carlone was honored for his role in the successful prosecution of a crime of, "Threatening to Use a Weapon of Mass Destruction and Delivery." The incident involved an inmate who had sent a white powder, claimed to be anthrax to a prosecutor's office. Also presented with awards were Parole and Community Services Supervisor Teri Williams and Officer Stephen O'Connor. They were recognized for their role in the Waterbury Project Safe Neighborhoods Initiative.

June 10, 2005

Based on the vision and leadership of Commissioner Theresa C. Lantz who established the enhancement of offender re-entry programming as a priority of her administration, the Charlene Perkins Re-Entry Center at the York Correctional Institution was formally dedicated. During the ceremony, attended by the Perkins family and state dignitaries, Commissioner Lantz challenged the 70 woman offenders who are involved in the program, to take full advantage of the support that is offered in crucial areas such as employment, housing and substance abuse treatment, to support their successful reintegration into the community. Perkins was a 17-year veteran of the agency and a former deputy warden at York CI who had dedicated her career to assisting offenders in redirecting their lives. The Center provides women who are within 18 months of the end of their sentences with intensive programming opportunities designed to prepare them for release.

June 17, 2005

The Department of Correction has once again been recognized for its support of our country's military by the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve. As part of "Boss Lift 2005" Commissioner Theresa C. Lantz was flown via military helicopter to Rhode Island, and was presented with a plaque that designates the agency as a Patriotic Employer. Since September 11, 2001, more than 100 staff members of the Department have traded their correction uniform for that of the military and have served in defense of our nation.

July 7, 2005

William B. Barber, Superintendent of the Connecticut Department of Correction Unified School District #1 has been honored as the recipient of the Correctional Education Association Lifetime Achievement Award. The presentation was made at the CEA Annual International Conference in Des Moines, Iowa. The award, presented by CEA President Dr. Carolyn Eggleston, recognized Superintendent Barber as an individual who has made a major contribution to the field of correctional education during his career. The award also honors the educator's longevity within the profession based upon his leadership, vision and commitment toward excellence.

August 26, 2005

As a further enhancement to its efforts to support the successful community reintegration of offenders, the Department of Correction has created a Community Resource Needs Score to be included in the Objective Classification assessment of each offender. Inmates will be scored on a 1 to 5 system with 5 indicating that the offender requires full and total assistance with regard to pre-release planning, including assistance with housing, treatment resources and family support, while a score of 1 indicates that no re-entry assistance is required. Those with a score of 3 or higher will be seen by a Transition Services Counselor at least six months prior to release.

September 21, 2005

After an intensive three day audit conducted by the Commission on Accreditation for Corrections and the American Correctional Association, the MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution scored 100% on the mandatory requirements and 96.4% on the non-mandatory. The accreditation takes into consideration every facet of the correctional operation from its physical plant, to staff training, to inmate programming. The facility retained its near perfect rating, on par with its first accreditation score in 2002, even though it has now become the state's largest prison with five additional housing units and more than 2,000 offenders.

October 14, 2005

Commissioner Theresa C. Lantz convened a Suicide Prevention Summit of the agency's top administrators as well as the facility Health Services Administrators and the management of the University of Connecticut Correctional Managed Health Care. The Summit received and discussed the findings of Lindsay Hayes, a national expert on suicide within a correctional environment. After reviewing the suicides experienced within the agency within the past two years and a day of touring three Department facilities, Mr. Hayes concluded that the Department's policy and procedures regarding suicide prevention are among the best in the country. He further advised that emphasis should now be placed on quality assurance in applying those policies. Commissioner Lantz has directed her managers to expand their efforts and vigilance regarding suicide prevention.

October 24, 2005

The most recent report from the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics confirms a further extension in the downward trend of Connecticut's inmate population, which has now been sustained for a full two-year period. The most recent survey, from December 31, 2003 to December 31, 2004, shows Connecticut with a further 1.8% reduction, one of only 11 states to show such a drop while the nation's prison population in total grew by 1.9%. Previous reports showed similar decreases for Connecticut. For the year ending June 30, 2004, the state showed a 2.5% reduction, one of 12 states to decrease. At the end of calendar year 2003, Connecticut had led the nation with a 4.2% decline. Commissioner Theresa C. Lantz credits the continuing population decline to the agency's priority of enhancing successful offender reintegration, which is also supported by increased collaboration involving the other branches of state government. Meanwhile, the latest FBI, Uniform Crime Report shows a 9.2% decrease in violent crime in Connecticut in 2004 as compared to 2003.

November 8, 2005

Significant advancements have been made in the community based efforts to enhance offender reintegration. These include the development of a new Program Manual for the Parole and Community Services Unit, which provides guidelines for the appropriate supervision, treatment and intervention services provided offenders in the process of re-entry. Additionally, Aftercare Services have been funded with five community providers consisting of relapse prevention and employment services, and a statewide system of outpatient substance abuse treatment for parolees and other community based offenders has also been established. Meanwhile, the Department has implemented a graduated Sanction Response Protocol to maximize and standardize an offender's opportunity to remain in the community, and a new Community Non-residential Audit Form has been developed to evaluate the quantity and quality of services contracted from non-profit providers.

November 15, 2005

Some three dozen members of the Department of Correction staff, the most from any state agency have given of their time in responding to the call for assistance from those devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma in the southern United States. Coming from a range of job classifications including teachers, maintenance, nurses, correction officers, counselors, fiscal and human resources, the dedicated men and women have served with the military, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and with the Red Cross in Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida. Commissioner Theresa C. Lantz praised the volunteerism as yet another example of staff commitment to public safety and assisting others in need.

November 29, 2005

The Department of Correction Security Division conducted a three-day regional presentation to law enforcement agencies from across Connecticut regarding the current status of street gangs in the state. The seminars were offered in collaboration with the United States Attorney's Office. The extensive and timely intelligence detailed by the Security Division experts is recognized as the most comprehensive information on gang activity that is currently available in the state.

December 1, 2005

The Affirmative Action Unit of the Connecticut Department of Correction has been saluted as one of the "Best in the Business" by the America Correctional Association's Corrections Today magazine, for its implementation of the facility based Diversity Councils. The article calls the councils, "…a forum for those wanting to voice concerns or ideas regarding diversity," and, "…conducive to ideas that shine a spotlight on cultural differences." While the agency's director of Equal Opportunity Assurance, Robert Jackson Jr. cautions that a shift in the conscience of the work force will not happen overnight, he does report in the article that since the creation of the councils, there has been a marked decrease in sexual harassment and discrimination complaints. Director Jackson also expressed optimism that the DOC will be able to continue on a path of expanded acceptance and increased awareness of diversity.

December 7, 2005

In keeping with its longtime and extensive commitment to the Nutmeg Big Brothers/Big Sisters program, the Connecticut Department of Correction was presented with a Community Partnership Award at the 39th Annual Meeting of the youth mentoring organization. The award was presented to five organizations, including the DOC, for their support of Big Brothers/ Big Sisters. The group pointed out that DOC has enthusiastically embraced the program and has more volunteers than any other state department. The award was accepted by former Big Brother and current Director of Security, Dennis Jones.

December 9, 2005

The York Correctional Institution has graduated its first class of Grief Guides who are inmates trained to assist their fellow offenders through the death of a family member or inmate. The volunteers, who must meet behavioral guidelines, have undergone 20-hours of training and provide their services under the guidance of a Volunteer Coordinator. They are prepared to provide confidential bereavement support and to assist the grieving process while in a correctional setting.

December 23, 2005

In the spirit of the season, Correctional Enterprises of Connecticut delivered some 75 "rag dolls" to the South Park Inn homeless shelter in Hartford. The dolls are produced at the Osborn Correctional Institution in Somers from scrap material, as a means of teaching inmates to operate the sewing machines in the textile manufacturing area. The dolls will be provided to the children of families who have turned to the Inn for emergency lodging.