The Mirror explores issues in criminal justice
Here’s a guide to some of The Mirror’s in-depth work on criminal justice issues, including conditions in prison and other institutions, judicial policies, crime trends and policing.
Healthcare for the 14,000 inmates the state incarcerates on any given day is slated to undergo significant changes in July when the Department of Correction takes over managing it from UConn Health. However, some involved say changing management won’t necessarily address issues that have caused concerns.
- Report: Overhaul needed to avoid ‘untimely’ health care for inmates
- Lawmakers push for hearing, ‘transparency’ on prison health care
- Changes sought in treatment of women behind bars
For more of the latest headlines, check out our justice news feed.
- Violent crime in Connecticut remains stagnant, murder rate goes up
- New prison unit opens to help young female inmates
- Legislators use calendar to kill a judge’s career
- CT Senate addresses harassment with ‘Time’s Up Act’
- Bills on domestic violence, incarcerated women get final approval
- Malloy: CT to be first state participating in policing database
A regular rebuke of the governor’s “Second Chance Society” criminal justice reforms is that some of the people let out of prison having reduced their sentences have gone on to commit new crimes — but is this really evidence we’re less safe or that specific policies are failing? Are people even getting out earlier than they would have in the past? The Mirror took a step back and looked at what we know and what we don’t about this politically charged topic.
In the 1990s, in response to a number of horrific and highly publicized crimes against children, states and the federal government created stringent penalties for sex offenders, notably registries where offenders’ names and addresses are available to the public. But now critics across the country are demanding review and revision of these policies, saying they are based on false assumptions, are a waste of money and do more harm than good.
About a year after cruel, ongoing abuse of a Whiting Forensic patient was revealed, the legislature’s Public Health Committee has reported out three bills aimed at reforming the state’s only maximum-security psychiatric facility by increasing transparency and oversight.
- Lawsuits accuse staff at Whiting of psychological, physical torture
- Whiting Forensic Division to separate from Connecticut Valley Hospital
Connecticut is said to lead the nation in collecting and analyzing traffic stop data, but a peer review of the science was touted by police chiefs who feel the analysis is unfair. We dug into the review, spoke to the experts behind it, and asked whether it really undermines the analysis.
Inmates earned drastically fewer GEDs in Connecticut prisons after the test was moved online, and officials could not say when or if they thought the numbers would bounce back. Though the prison population and GED program enrollment have been declining, they don’t account for the stark dropoff in GEDs.
Shrinking prison system
For a decade the inmate population has been in decline, as serious crime declines and efforts are made to keep people from entering and returning to the criminal justice system. Several adult prisons have closed, and the state plans to close its sole prison for boys in 2018.
- New-crime recidivism rates continue to show modest improvement
- Malloy: Reforms help shrink prison population to a 20-year low
- Enfield prison to close as inmate population falls
- Juvenile center, ‘costly relic of Rowland era,’ closes
- Controversy surrounds closure of juvenile prison
- Little progress reported on closing the state’s juvenile jail
- DCF pivots to a new strategy to keep juveniles out of jail
The FBI releases crime data each year. We’ve combined those figures with data going back to 1985 to illustrate long-term crime trends by municipality. Compared to other states, Connecticut has seen among the sharpest drop-offs in overall crime rates.
- Explore: 30 years of crime trends among municipal departments
- 2018 coverage: Violent crime in Connecticut remains stagnant, murder rate goes up
- 2017: Connecticut crime report: Murders down a lot, violent crime up a bit
In this interactive story, CT Mirror looked at the numerous stages, from arrest to verdict, when decisions are made that can keep people who haven’t been convicted locked up and away from jobs and family.
CT Mirror takes a detailed look at how a formula is used to make critical bail decisions and puts the formula in your hands. Go ahead and try assessing how much risk a bail candidate represents: