Internal Report Warns of Staffing Shortfalls at Department of Correction

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Connecticut correctional facilities have 406 staffing vacancies — meaning the state Department of Correction only has 89 percent of the “bodies needed” to run the state’s prison systems — according to an internal Department of Correction report shared with CT Examiner.  Across Connecticut, there are currently 406 staffing vacancies, with nearly 400 correctional workers becoming eligible for retirement in 2022, a looming retirement cliff that officers warn could bring the prison system to a breaking point.   “This is a crisis waiting to happen,” said Mike Vargo, president of AFSCME Local 1565, a union representing correctional staff across the state. “Shortages

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State Auditors Release a Scathing Report on the State Department of Correction

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The State Department of Correction has paid its employees excessive overtime and union leave while neglecting training requirements and annual performance reviews, according to a recent audit report from the state.  According to the report, which reviewed the activities of the Department of Correction for the 2018 and 2019 fiscal years, documentation was either missing or not properly approved for 72 of the 124 hours of compensatory time that the auditors reviewed. The auditors also found instances of undocumented medical leave and a lack of documentation and overpayments for workers earning overtime.  In particular, the auditors discovered 122 employees who

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Lamont Vetoes Prison Bill Limiting Solitary Confinement

Gov. Ned Lamont vetoed a bill on Wednesday that would have limited the use of solitary confinement in state prisons, saying that the bill would “put the safety of incarcerated persons and corrections employees at substantial risk.”  The veto overrode bi-partisan support for the bill in the state legislature earlier this month. The bill was approved in the Senate 26-10 and in the House 87-55 with some modifications.  The approved version of the bill, also called the PROTECT Act, stipulated that individuals receive at least 6.5 hours per day outside of their cells, barring a serious incident, and required mental

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Union Criticizes State for Lack of Vaccine Preparedness for Corrections Officers

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In a press conference Wednesday morning, union leaders representing tens of thousands of corrections officers argued that the state and the Department of Corrections have done little to prepare for vaccine distribution, constantly moving the goalposts and delaying a process they say is vital to workplace safety.  “The agency has no plan, nor does it show any true interest in formulating a plan to get our members the vaccine they so desperately want,” said Sean Howard, president of AFSCME Local 387, representing the Cheshire Correctional Complex.   Corrections officers are part of Phase 1b, which includes staff in congregate settings and

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Interim Commissioner Describes $21 Million Deficit, Declining Prison Population and Infections

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With increased overtime, sick leave and inmate medical costs, the state Department of Corrections ended fiscal year 2020 with a $21 million deficit. “At the peak time of COVID-19 in April, we were averaging 320 staff members out sick per day for all three shifts,” explained Interim Commissioner Angel Quiros at an Appropriations Committee meeting on Monday afternoon. “In May and June, it started decreasing to 15 percent of our staff, but we saw an increase as soon as the executive order was signed by the governor allowing individuals who used their 14-day COVID leave, but tested positive, to have

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