Summer sweeps by law-enforcement agencies coupled with a shortage of alternatives to prison have left Connecticut corrections officials with overcrowded facilities again, raising concern among guards about their ability to monitor for suicidal inmates, say union and state officials quoted by the Manchester (Ct.) Journal Inquirer. Wayne Meyers, president of AFSCME Local 1565, said that for the first time this year, state officials were forced last week to accommodate a rising prisoner population by housing them in gymnasiums and on floors at pretrial detention centers around the state, exacerbating grave concerns about inmate suicides.
There have been five suicides by inmates at state facilities so far this year and nine last year. As of Monday, 18,337 people, including 4,342 unsentenced, or pretrial, inmates, were incarcerated in state prisons. Connecticut is one of just six states in the nation that operates pretrial detention centers — otherwise known as “county jails” – through its state Correction Department. Tony Fabelo, a Texas-based analyst for JFA Associates who is working with state officials, told a joint legislative committee in March that Connecticut still had to improve its inter-agency coordination to handle shifts in the inmate population.