Accomplishments in 2012

February 1, 2012

As part of the agency's on going effort to collaborate with other state agencies to enhance public safety, the DOC in conjunction with the Division of State Police, purchased new, two way radios that will provides a unified system of communication for the two agencies. This will not only support improved and more efficient communication, but will also insure a prompt response should staff from either agency require emergency assistance.

February 14, 2012

After several years of internal concerns over funding and other constrains, and external opposition from local authorities, the Connecticut Department of Correction (DOC) has succeeded in opening the January Center on the grounds of the Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center. The high security facility will house 24 sex offenders, 12 DOC inmates nearing release and transitioning back into the community, and 12 offenders who are on probation under the supervision of the Court Support Services Division of the State Judicial Branch. The program is expected to fill a void in reentry and reintegration services to offenders who have been designated as sex offenders.

February 28, 2012

Through the diligent work of staff and a collaboration committee representing other state agencies and stakeholders, the first Driving under the Influence/Home Confinement Offender has been placed in the community under a new state statute passed during the last legislative session. The law permits the commissioner of corrections to allow DUI offenders to continue to be productive members of society in the community, after a thorough, facility based, case by case assessment of their circumstances and need for treatment. The program was developed in association with Mothers against Drunk Driving, which is studying the potential of utilizing the program as a national model.

March 1, 2012

As part of the agency's efforts to support the State of Connecticut's Raise the Age initiative, the Garner Correctional Institution has created a Youth Development Unit (YDU). Designed to allow the Manson Youth Institution to concentrate on younger offenders, the YDU is comprised on 19-21 years old male offenders, who required Special Education needs as part of their restricted placement status. Appropriate education resources have been assigned through Unified School District #1 as part of this collaborative effort.

March 2, 2012

The agency's antiquated community notification, phone tree systems have been phased out in favor of the new, statewide CT Alert system. The new system allows facility neighbors in the host communities of correctional facilities to register for notifications of institutional issues via their home phones.

March 29, 2012

Continuing a long history of donations to domestic abuse charities, the Brooklyn Cares program has donated $500 to Wendy's Place, an organization that raises awareness of child abuse issues.

April 1, 2012

The Connecticut Department of Correction has joined with the State Board of Pardons and Paroles (BOPP) to jointly institute the Ohio Risk Assessment Survey as a means of gauging the programmatic needs of the offender population as well as an inmate's suitability for community release options. The Survey was originally developed by the University of Cincinnati for use in the Ohio state correctional system. This joint venture assures for the first time that an initial assessment of an offender entering the correctional system, will stay with him or her throughout their incarceration and will ultimately be utilized by the BOPP as a basis for any release considerations. In Connecticut, the Survey will form the basis for a new assessment model to be known as SCORES, the Statewide Collaborative Offender risk Evaluation System.

April 1, 2012

The department has begun undertaking a realignment of the specialized inmate population that is confined at the Northern Correctional Institution. The agency seeks to insure that only appropriate, maximum security offenders are being maintained at the facility. As a result, Security Risk Group Threat Members will be reassigned to the MacDougall Walker Correctional Institution and the second two, step down phases of Administrative Segregation will be supervised at the Cheshire Correctional Institution and Chronic Discipline offenders will be returned to their originating facility. Northern CI will maintain Administrative Segregation phase one as well as death row. The facility will continue to insure the safety of the agency by providing an environment that can safely incarcerate those offenders who present a risk to staff or other inmates.

April 16, 2012

In the face of public concern and criticism regarding the handling of individuals identified as detainees by United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Connecticut Department of Correction has developed a new protocol for enforcing detainers that are issued by that federal agency. The addition to Administrative Directive 9.3, Inmate Admissions, Transfers and Discharges, indicates that, "Nothing in this directive reflects a conclusion or doubt with respect to the legality or propriety of any past instance of compliance with an immigration detainer." The policy includes a detailed check list procedure that staff must utilize to determine whether an offender shall be held solely on an ICE detainer. It also limits the length of time that an offender with an ICE detainer may be held to 48-hours, excluding Saturdays, Sundays or holidays.

May 1, 2012

In supporting the state's Raise the Age mandate, the Manson Youth Institution has undertaken a number of new initiatives. A new Special Management Plan has been created to house inmates under 18 who are Security Risk Group Threat Members, or offenders designated as Chronic Discipline of Administrative Segregation. Two housing units have been designated for use by inmates ages 14-17. Staff has been trained in mediation techniques to be used in addressing fights and others disputes rather than placing the offenders on Keep Separate Status.

May 2, 2012

The highly successful Second Chance Coral at the York Correctional Institution, which in collaboration with the State Agriculture Department, rehabilitates large, abused animals has now been replicated at the Corrigan-Radgowki Correctional Center. Using inmate labor, timber from the facility grounds and donations of time and expertise from the community, a century old barn on the property has been renovated as J's Barn to house the animal rehabilitation effort.

May 25, 2012

In partnership with the Probation Unit of the Court Support Services Division, a new Intensive Probation Supervision Protocol has been established at seven correctional institutions. Probation offices will review appropriate inmates whose incarceration does not exceed two years for sentence modification and placement in the community under probation supervision. Eligible inmates must have a sex treatment score less than three, may not have been convicted of a crime in which the death of another person was involved and must have a risk score of less than four.

June 1, 2012

Correctional Enterprises, which presents a real world work environment and job training for the offender population has realized a significant increase in a number of its contracts over the past fiscal year. A new relationship with the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has resulted in nearly $70,000 worth of products, which were primarily embroidered and silk screened clothing for staff. Some $50,000 worth of wood, upholstery work and clothing was performed for the Department of Children and Family and its Riverview Hospital. While an on going project with the Town of West Hartford and its library renovation resulted in approximately $20,000 in wood working services.

June 1, 2012

The most recent test administered for the hiring of correctional officers attracted 6,834 applicants. Of those, 5,112 or some 74.8 percent took the required examination and from that number a total of 4,654 passed the test at a rate of 89.9 percent. More than 2,500 of those who have matriculated through the process will undergo an interview process between now and June of 2013.

June 27, 2012

In association with the State Division of Criminal Justice, the Connecticut Department of Correction has partnered in producing the second deck of Cold Case playing cards. The cards depict 52 unsolved homicides or missing person cases. They are the only cards that are sold to the offenders in the state's correctional facilities and are intended to solicit information from the inmate population that might solve these cold cases. The first deck has already been successful in producing leads and an arrest in other unsolved crimes.

June 30, 2012

The department has undertaken a full scale review of the operations of the Northern Correctional Institution and has initiated a program of returning the facility to its intended function of incarcerating the most dangerous offenders in the system who cannot be managed elsewhere. As a result, the Security Risk Group Threat Member program, Chronic Discipline and the second and third phases of Administrative Segregation will be moved to other facilities, leaving Administrative Segregation, phase one, Special Needs and Death Row at the maximum security institution. As a result, two of the facility's six housing units have already been closed and will remain ready should they be needed in the future.

June 30, 2012

Through the diligent efforts of correctional staff, the adherence to the agency's reentry model and the collaboration provided through the state's criminal justice community, the inmate population with the facilities of the Connecticut Department of Correction on this date totals 16,591. The agency has not seen a census this low since fiscal year 1998-1999, representing a more than 13 year low.

July 1, 2012

The agency has successfully migrated its inmate telephone system to a new provider, Securus, with few issues among the thousands of inmate's families and friends who rely on the system to stay in touch with their loved ones. The new state contract, through the Department of Administrative Services, flattens the fee schedule for the collect only calls. While some local calls did increase in price, the charge for many long distance calls was reduced.

July 1, 2012

After a year phase in period, the department has implemented a ban on inmate possession of sexually explicit materials. Any pictorial depiction of nudity of sexual activity is now considered contraband and is subject to a Class A disciplinary report. The inmate population has been given a year to either dispose of the material or send it home and let any current subscriptions expire. Commissioner Leo C. Arnone directed that the ban be undertaken both to support the agency's rehabilitative mission, especially for sex offenders, as well as to insure that the agency's work environment is appropriate for staff.

August 7, 2012

Correctional staff was among those assigned to the Hartford Shooting Task Force that was created a year ago to quell escalating gun violence in the city. The Task Force is now credited with a more than 40 percent reduction in gun homicides and first degree assaults with firearms decreased by nearly 30 percent. The Task Force has also made more than 214 felony arrests, more than 50 misdemeanor arrests and has seized 76 firearms.

October 1, 2012

In an effort to enhance the oversight of discharging offenders as well as the notification of local authorities to their pending release the Department of Correction is establishing two new panels. First, a Discharge Review Board will act as a quality control entity by review the release of all inmates two weeks before discharge, to ensure that any application of Risk Reduction Earned Credits has been conducted appropriately. Second, a High Risk Inmate Release Committee will be established, in partnership with the Office of Policy and Management tol alert local authorities regarding the pending discharge of potentially dangerous offenders who have reached the end of their sentences. The panels will further collaboration with local law enforcement and ultimately provide additional support to public safety.

October 1, 2012

Despite considerable logistical issues and safety and security concerns, the Connecticut Department of Correction, and specifically the maximum security Northern Correctional Institution have been able to host a superior court trial, within the facility, with five death row inmates as the litigants. A dayroom at the facility was turned into a courtroom for the proceedings, which were also simulcast to the courthouse in Rockville so that the public could witness the testimony. The death row inmates contended that their convictions were tainted by racial and geographic influences. The judge in the case has commended the department and its staff for their superb work in accommodating the judicial system in such an unusual case and venue.

October 30, 2012

The special unit of parole officers within the Connecticut Department of Correction's Parole and Community Services Division, which oversees the supervision of offenders who have been placed in the community under the state's DUI Home Confinement program, have been honored for their work by Mothers Against Drunk Driving. The MADD DUI Parole Unit Award was presented for the officers', "…hard work and dedication in ensuring that parolees are successful in transitioning into positive members of the community." More than 200 offenders have so far been placed into the program.

December 20, 2012

According to the United States Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Connecticut has achieved the third largest reduction in its incarcerated population in the country for 2011. While the number of offenders under the jurisdiction of state and federal authorities declined by 0.9 percent overall during the same time period, Connecticut saw a reduction of 5.2 percent, bested only by New Hampshire at 5.3 percent and California by 9.4 percent. In total, 26 states saw decreases in their inmate counts, while 24 states experienced increases.