Legislation and Lawsuit Take Aim At Solitary Confinement in Connecticut Prisons

Correction Officers say that they need tools like solitary confinement to maintain their control over inmates — and there are cases where Kevnesha Boyd agrees this is true — but only, she says, because the culture of the state’s Department of Correction emphasizes the use of force over rehabilitation.  Boyd, a counselor who worked in the state’s Department of Correction for four years, says the things she witnessed handling intake at New Haven Correctional Center ultimately drove her to leave her job. “It started to eat me up, because it’s just like traumatic event after traumatic event,” she said.  Boyd,

More

‘Conviction Integrity Unit’ Proposed to Investigate and Overturn Wrongful Convictions

In what the administration calls an effort to strengthen public confidence in the criminal justice system, Gov. Ned Lamont has set aside funding, in his budget announced on Wednesday, to establish a specialized unit to investigate and overturn potential wrongful convictions. The Governor’s budget directs $363,382 to fund a paralegal, a prosecutor and a police inspector who would make up a “Conviction Integrity Unit” to be run out of the State’s Attorney’s Office.  The program would join 79 other units like this across the country, six of them on a state level, that have together exonerated 151 people.  Chief State’s

More

Advocates on Domestic Violence Plan for Life after COVID

//

The Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence is proposing legislation that would allow victims of domestic violence to apply for a restraining order online even after the current state of emergency to limit the spread of COVID-19 is lifted. Liza Andrews, director of public policy and communications at the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said that the organization plans to present the legislation to the Judiciary Committee in January. Advocates for victims of domestic violence say that the ability to file restraining orders online during the pandemic has been a great help to their clients.  Karen Foley O’Connor, executive director at

More

Isolation, Pepper Spray, Restraints Raise Concerns for Youth at York Correctional

A report released Tuesday revealed the use of chemical agents, restraints and extended periods of isolation on young women with significant mental health needs housed in York Correctional Institute in Niantic. The report, which came from the Office of the Child Advocate, said that the agency was “deeply concerned” about these methods of control and recommended “immediate cessation” of the practices and a review by independent mental health experts.  Officers at the facility used chemical agents five times on young women between the ages of 18 and 21; three of those incidents occurred in the mental health unit. In one

More

Surveying Traffic Stops in Southeast Connecticut

//

Suburban towns usually have more traffic stops than urban centers, said Ken Barone, a project manager at the Institute for Municipal and Regional Policy at Central Connecticut State University. “It simply because of the needs in the department. In cities like New London there is a significantly higher call volume, so officers do not have the time to do traffic enforcement,” said Barone who has managed Connecticut’s traffic stop data for seven years. “The other thing is leadership, some police chiefs hammer on traffic enforcement.” During a ride along in July, Officer Kevin Roche of the Old Lyme police department

More