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Department of Correction Commissioner Angel Quiros told legislators this week that the agency has no immediate plans to close additional correctional facilities.
His comments came Tuesday during a nomination hearing for his second term as commissioner, where he told lawmakers that of the 13 correctional facilities currently open, “you have 10 correctional facilities that you just cannot close down” because they’re county jails or because they specialize in particular services.
For instance, York Correctional Institution is the only facility in the state that houses women, while Garner Correctional Institution is the department’s “mental health facility,” he said.
“There’s just really two facilities left that will be at the table” if the number of incarcerated people continues to decline, said Quiros, though it’s not immediately clear which two facilities he was referencing. “As of right now, there’s no plans in this term for me to close any facilities.”
The state announced last month that it would shut down Willard Correctional Institution on April 1 due to a declining prison population, making it the third prison in the last two years to cease operations — joining Radgowski Correctional Center and Northern Correctional Institute.
On Wednesday, a coalition of formerly incarcerated people and legislators urged Gov. Ned Lamont to redirect a portion of the $6.5 million saved annually from Willard’s closure to resources for people being released from prisons.
“Closing a facility is a very difficult decision for me to make,” Quiros said Tuesday, “but it’s a decision that you have to make as the commissioner when these opportunities are there to continue to save money for the citizens of the state of Connecticut.”
The Executive and Legislative Nominations Committee voted unanimously in favor of Quiros’ second-term appointment by Gov. Ned Lamont, moving it to the full legislature for a vote.
- Willard facility slated to close as prison population declines
- Advocates, formerly incarcerated urge Lamont to prioritize reentry