Accomplishments in 2011
February 23, 2011
A DNA sample, taken from a Connecticut inmate has solved a 33 year old homicide in Laguna Beach California. Police in that community had utilized new technology in investigating the cold case murder of a 55 year old man. In August of 2010, they were notified that DNA from that case matched a sample taken from Walter Dalie, a 52 year old inmate, serving 50 years for the 1985 murder of his girlfriend. Inmate Dalie had lived in the Laguna Beach area at the time of the killing. Connecticut had received a grant 2009 that allowed it to finish gathering DNA samples from all offenders convicted of a felony. It was one of these samples which solved the case.
February 25, 2011
After nearly five years of research and planning, the Connecticut Department of Correction has been approved for $15-million in funding to replace the agency's more than 30 year old, computerized, inmate tracking system. The current, stand alone data bank, which records numerous parameters of each current and former inmate, on multiple data screens, is difficult to revise or utilize for research due to its age and limited capabilities. The funding was approved by the State Bond Commission. Once completed the new tracking system will interface with the state's comprehensive, criminal justice computer system, which will allow the instantaneous review of inmate information by law enforcement, the courts, and others who are charged with public safety.
March 1, 2011
Despite the difficult economy and the state's on going budgetary woes, it has been determined that the staff of the Connecticut Department of Correction was still able to donate nearly $300,000 to charity during the course of calendar year, 2010. The extensive list of those who received the agency's outpouring of assistance includes: The State Campaign for Charitable Giving, Special Olympics, The American Heart Association, Big Brothers, Big Sisters, the Shriners Hospital, and many others. Staff also freely gave to the Military Yellow Ribbon Campaign to support our colleagues called to military service as well as their families. A number of Code Orange Collections for various staff members suffering from serious illnesses also received major contributions. In total $286,425.60 was donated for 2010.
March 30, 2011
The Garner Correctional Institution, the Connecticut Department of Correction's designated mental health facility for adult male offenders has undertaken a new initiative to reach out to community based organizations with an interest in the mental health treatment of incarcerated individuals. A presentation has been provided to the local chapter of the National Alliance for Mental Illness as well as to several institutions of higher learning.
April 1, 2011
With the state's inmate population holding steady at a 10 year low, Commissioner Leo C. Arnone has announced plans to close a second prison. The commissioner has directed that the minimum security, Gates Correctional Institution in Niantic will be moth balled as of June 1, 2011. The agency currently has room to absorb the facility's approximately 700 male offenders. The institution's 270 staff will be redeployed to other nearby facilities. This closing will save taxpayers an estimated $12.3-million a year. The department had previously closed the Webster Correctional Institution in Cheshire in 2010 at a savings of some $3.4-million.
April 27, 2011
The Connecticut House of Representatives has confirmed Governor Dannel P. Malloy's appointment of Leo C. Arnone as the seventh Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Correction. Commissioner Arnone initially served for 22 years with the agency, beginning as a front line correctional officer in 1974. He retired in 1995 at the rank of regional warden. After assignments with the State Judicial Branch as well as the Department of Children and Families he returned to the Department of Correction in the summer of 2010 as the appointee of Governor M. Jodi Rell.
May 24, 2011
The agency's Maloney Center for Training and Staff Development has scored 100 percent on mandatory and 99 percent on non-mandatory compliance standards for its triennial audit by the American Correctional Association. Preparation for the audit required eight months of effort by academy staff to insure the facility was being maintained to federal standards.
May 30, 2011
The agency's Correctional Enterprises, which provides a real world employment training opportunity for inmates, has completed a more than $100,000 contract with the New London High School for the removal, refinishing and re-installment of some 1,200 auditorium seats. The job was finished ahead of schedule and on budget despite a number of scheduling issues.
June 1, 2011
Given the success of its efforts to effectively manage the size of the inmate population, resulting in a 10 year low in the inmate population, the agency has been able to close the Gates Correctional Institution (CI). This is the second facility to be closed in a year and a half. The reduction in the inmate population has allowed the agency to disperse the facility's more than 800 offenders to other institutions within the department. Some 230 will be housed in units located between Gates CI and the York Correctional Institution in what has been named the Niantic Annex, which will fall under the oversight of York CI. The agency has taken great pains to redeploy staff from the facility, in as similar working conditions and as close to home as is possible.
June 14, 2011
The offender population within the Connecticut Department of Correction has donated a total of $706.64 to the American Red Cross for Japan Earthquake Relief Fund. The fund drive was authorized by Commissioner Leo C. Arnone. The amount collected is even more significant when it is taken into consideration that most inmates earn 75 cents a day for employment with a correctional facility.
June 22, 2011
The York Correctional Institution has been notified by the Accreditation Committee of the National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC) that it has voted to continue to accredit the facility for its compliance with the NCCHC's Standards for Health Services in Prisons. The NCCHC conducted a review of the facility in May, commending the staff at York for their professional conduct, assistance and candor during the process. The facility scored 100 percent on; all 37 essential standards, as well as all 29 applicable, important standards. In 2008 the NCCHC had selected York as Facility of the Year for its excellence in health service delivery.
June 30, 2011
After extensive research and legislative and public vetting the Department of Correction has succeeded in the obtaining the passage of an Earned Risk Reduction Credit bill, which has been signed into law by Governor Dannel P. Malloy. Unlike Good Time provisions of the past, that merely gave offenders extensive time off their sentence on the first day of incarceration, the Risk Reduction Credits must be earned through programmatic participation and behavioral compliance. The credits will dovetail with the agency Offender Accountability Plan, which individually identifies programming offenders should engage in to address their deficiencies, whether it be education, substance abuse, etc. This ultimately better prepares the offenders successful community reintegration. The credits can be awarded to a maximum of five days off a month. The credits may also be withdrawn should the inmate fail to comply with programmatic or behavioral expectations.
June 30, 2011
The agency's Human Resources Unit has been able to decrease current Workers' Compensation, lost time cases from 207 in August 2009 to 118. This was accomplished through dedicated, centralized case management and the utilization of the department's Light Duty/Return to Work Program.
June 30, 2011
Electronic submission of deposits to Inmate Trust Fund accounts has now risen to nearly half of 15,000 transactions that are received on a monthly basis. At year's end, 47 percent of the transactions were being conducted electronically. Instead of sending monies via a money order, in the mail, the electronic transfer utilized Western Union to deposit the funds. This speeds the deposits and reduces the labor required for each transaction.
June 30, 2011
Through committed fiscal management and an ongoing effort to consolidate and save where ever possible, the Connecticut Department of Correction, even in difficult fiscal times has been able to return $785,456 from the agency's Other Expense account to the general fund. This was done while still supporting critical services as well maintaining the agency's mission of safety and security.
June 30, 2011
The agency's Food and Nutritional Services Unit has been able to save $777,473,000 over the course of the past fiscal year through several initiatives. One involves a new program at nine correctional facilities, which involves staff making rolls from scratch as opposed to buying sliced bread. Providing a choice to the offender population of milk or beverage saved nearly $35,000 of the overall amount.
June 30, 2011
The Department of Correction continues to expand it Video Conferencing initiative. The agency completed some 2,342 hearings via video link during the past fiscal year, an increase of some 500 over last year. The hearings, conducted for a wide variety of reasons including parole, family court, social security and others, incur no transportation costs as was the case in the past and enhance public safety because the offender stays within the correctional facility.
June 30, 2011
The agency's Management Information Services unit has undertaken several new initiatives that are saving time and money through better use of technology. Agency cell phone bills which had been distributed for review and approval on paper are now done electronically. The computerize Case Notes system, utilized by parole officers to supervise offenders in the community has been upgraded to provide enhanced information. The reuse of backup tapes, utilized to provide a record of agency e-mails, is saving some $7,500 a year.
June 30, 2011
The Garner Correctional Institution in Newtown has received the "Above and Beyond Award" for outstanding service and contributions to the National Guard and Reserve Forces. The Department of Correction has had more than 200 staff deployment on active military duty since September 11, 2001.
July 1, 2011
The Connecticut Department of Correction has created a new Best Practices Unit. The Unit seeks to foster and promote evaluation-based and results-based policies and practices within the Department of Correction (DOC), to improve policy and practice and to document these efforts and results. Through measuring and comparing the agency's operations, programming and performance with the highest correctional standards nationwide, the Unit will assist in assuring that the best outcome is being achieved, for the taxpayer's dollars that are spent. The Unit, which was created with existing staff, will also insure the department is in compliance with the state's Results Based Accountability requirements for state agencies.
July 1, 2011
Concerned about the working environment of staff and its contrary effect on rehabilitation, especially for sex offenders, Commissioner Leo C. Arnone has given the inmate population one year to divest itself of any sexually explicit materials. Defined as anything displaying nudity, inmates must either destroy or send home any material which meets this definition by July 1, 2012, after which the material will be considered contraband and possession will result in a disciplinary report.
August 5, 2011
The Connecticut Department of Correction has now closed a third correctional facility within the past year and a half, bringing the total annual savings to state taxpayers to more than $27-million. The latest facility to close was the Bergin Correctional Institution in Storrs. The level two, minimum security prison housed more than 1,000 adult male offenders. Through management of the offender population, the department has seen the inmate census drop to a 10 year low, which has allowed for the closures.
October 1, 2011
The Connecticut Department of Correction has implemented a program of Risk Reduction Earned Credits, as a means of encouraging offender participation in programming that is beneficial in supporting their successful return to the community. The program allows up to five days off of an offender's sentence per month, providing the inmate is compliant with programmatic participation as is outlined in his or her Offender Accountability Plan and is maintaining good behavior. It is anticipated the program will reduce recidivism and therefore enhance public safety. While the effective date for the new law implementing the credits was July first, by this date, an Administrative Directive, 4.2A Risk Reduction Earned Credits has been implemented and approximately 160 offenders, already under supervision in the community have been released due to application of the credits retroactive to April 2006.
October 1, 2011
The Connecticut Department of Correction has successfully executed a memorandum of understanding with the town of Montville regarding the operation of a Sex Offender Treatment Program in that town, on the grounds of the Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center. Based on concerns about the facility, expressed primarily by members of the town government, the agency has worked diligently to provide documented assurances that the facility will be safe and secure. It is anticipated the first offenders will be assigned to the program before the end of the year.
December 1, 2011
With the impact in Connecticut of Hurricane Irene in August, and the devastating effect of the October snow storm, the Connecticut Department of Correction has demonstrated its abilities in protecting the public that extend far beyond the facility fences and its traditional prison oversight role. In the wake of the two events the agency contributed significantly to the state's recovery measures, including manning the state emergency operations center, assisting representatives of the Federal Emergency Management agency with their site surveys, contributing to the disbursement of emergency food and water and the development of a memorandum of agreement with the state police to provide troopers with correction officer partners during a major public safety incident. Governor Dannel P. Malloy has personally expressed his appreciation to Commissioner Leo C. Arnone for this new, expanded role that the department is contributing to the state's well being.