A bipartisan group of Connecticut lawmakers is pushing a proposal that calls for shortening prison stays for some inmates and investing the savings in community-based, drug-treatment and job-training programs for former offenders.
The Hartford Courant reports that the group, led by Rep. William Dyson, D-New Haven, chairman of the legislature’s appropriations committee, says that the proposal could save as much as $50 million annually by reducing the inmate population. The Department of Correction budget is $513 million. Lawmakers describe it as among the state’s fastest growing expenditures.
Dyson said he has raised the issue with Gov. John G. Rowland, who wants more inmates sent out of state to address prison crowding and to cut costs. The state houses about 500 inmates in Virginia.
A primary goal of the proposal is to reduce the number of former inmates returning to prison. Of the 31,766 admissions to the Department of Correction in 2002, aboout 5,600 were not for new crimes, but for technical violations like missing appointments with probation officers or failing drug tests.