CHESHIRE — Warden Scott Erfe once asked a 20-year-old inmate with a habit of assaulting prison classroom staff, “What is your malfunction?” He is about to host a project to test the notion that pretty much every 18-to-25-year-old inmate has a malfunction: a brain that doesn’t mature until 25.
The correction commissioner picked up his plastic spork and dug into his first prison meal since his days as a warden. Up and down the row of fixed tables and stools, an economist, a banker, a teacher, a fire chief, a former city councilman, a church worker and others did the same, their introduction to how 1,400 men do time at Osborn Correctional Institution, a prison that opened 53 years ago.
Edwin Glass went to prison with the expectation he would serve 51 months of a 60-month sentence, the 85-percent standard for a violent crime. He ended up doing 56 months, or 93 percent. Does that make Connecticut tough or lenient?
Connecticut’s prison population briefly fell below 15,000 inmates this month for the first time in nearly 20 years, a drop Gov. Dannel P. Malloy attributes to the bipartisan passage last year of lowering penalties for drug possession, a reform aimed at reducing incarceration without compromising public safety.
CBS’s 60 Minutes takes viewers Sunday on the same tour of Germany’s prison system that inspired Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and his correction commissioner, Scott Semple, to try a different way to treat younger defendants and inmates.
EAST LYME — Until three weeks ago, 90 percent of Amy Gully’s daily routine in York Correctional, the state’s only prison for women, was staying in a cell, marking days off a 30-month sentence for embezzlement and waiting her turn to make a phone call home. She told Gov. Dannel P. Malloy that her new routine is dawn-to-dusk activity aimed at preparing her to go home.
Dannel P. Malloy is a socially progressive Democratic governor trying to make prison a place for second chances. Scott Semple is a Republican who came of age as a correction official when the primary mission of U.S. prisons was to punish. Together, they are trying to remake criminal justice in Connecticut.
EAST LYME – The Connecticut prison system shrinks again this weekend when the final two dozen inmates depart the Niantic Annex, a section of a century-old complex of prisons that was reopened in 2011.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy thanked his audience of veterans for their service in the preservation of liberty. Malloy caught himself and said, “That sounds a little weird, talking about freedom in a facility like this.” Some of the men nodded. A few smiled. All were prison inmates.
In a major policy speech Friday at a criminal-justice symposium, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy proposed overhauling Connecticut’s bail system and making the state the first in the U.S. to treat defendants as juveniles up to age 20. Both proposals could significantly lower incarceration rates.
Serafettin Senel and Andrew Phillips are inmates at the Willard-Cybulski prison complex, one of Connecticut’s expensive monuments to the mistakes of men. Like 90 percent of everyone sentenced to prison, they eventually will go home. On Tuesday, they became symbols of a new effort to prepare them for that day.
James Rovella was a Hartford homicide cop in the early 1990s, when Iran Nazario ran with Los Solidos, a gang quick to defend its drug turf with drive-by shootings. Rovella left the streets for management, eventually becoming chief. Nazario went to prison. On Wednesday, they shared the same table, listening to a governor talk about second chances.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has nominated Scott Semple to serve as commissioner of the state Department of Correction, an agency he has overseen on an acting basis since August.
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency blasted a new state policy on when Connecticut’s prisons will detain undocumented immigrants, saying it poses a risk to public safety and could release dangerous criminals into the community. The Malloy administration disagreed.