How Connecticut became a model for prison reform

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Osborn Correctional Institution. Courtesy Connecticut Department of Corrections

Behind the walls of the Osborn Correctional Institution stands a laboratory for one of the most aggressive experiments in criminal justice reform currently underway in the United States. Under the stewardship of Gov. Dannel Malloy, a Democrat, Connecticut has seen its prison population fall to a 20-year low, while rates of reported violent crime have plummeted.
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13 thoughts on “How Connecticut became a model for prison reform

  1. I’m just curious? Through all of these political articles and news stories…why? A department like addiction services is never mentioned? The majority of inmates come to prison because of some sort of addiction! Yet the addiction service staff never, ever gets any credit??? It truly makes me shake my head because they are not a part of the political agenda right now…even though opioid addiction is now an epidemic!!! Someone open your eyes and think about this!!!

  2. I’d like to hear what positive reform has included the class of people known as “sex offenders.” In the name of public safety we have disenfranchised this group from reintegrating into society and our communities. How many offenders of sexual offenses were let out? How about eliminating mandatory minimums for sexual offenses that give all the power to prosecutors? Not all sex offenders are alike. We say ‘boyfriend.” The state says “child molester.”

    The CT Sex Offender Registry lists nearly 6,000 people. A large portion of offenders committed non-violent crimes, juvenile offenses, or are considered low risk. While the state of CT is bleeding $$$, this “public safety tool” along with incarceration and lengthy probation terms , are expensive albatrosses with no evidence of reducing new sex crimes… and by the way, CT’s recidivism rate for offenders who have been convicted of a sex offense is astonishing low: 1.7% of those convicted are reincarcerated for a new sex offense. In fact, reoffense or rather Recidivism for new sex crimes is the lowest recidivism of any other offender population other than those who commit murder.

    Yes, Governor Malloy is doing some good things and will serve all people in the state of CT better by treating offenders of sex offenses no differently than any other group. Thank you.

    Cindy Prizio
    CT for One Standard of Justice

    • Are you kidding me? Leniency for sex offenders? Maybe you’d like to give the offenders less jail time or not have them register if it was your son or daughter…if it was just a “boyfriend”

      • Mary Kay,
        Literally these are girlfriend/boyfriend relationships between two teenagers! Some get married (some break off) and have families of their own while one of the spouses is a registered citizen preventing any normal family life. I am fortunate that when I was a teenager we were able to make mistakes and learn from them without life changing consequences. All sex offenders are not alike. Not all of them are sex offenders but are still labeled as such.

  3. I am always interested in what Governor Malloy is doing as far as the prison system is concerned. Seven years ago, my husband and I began visiting a young woman incarcerated at York C.I. in Niantic, CT. She was locked up at age 14 and given a 50 year sentence: no parole until she served her full 50 years. Now, thanks to the rulings from the U.S. Supreme Court {now retroactive}, this young woman has a chance at freedom long before she turns 64. She was just 35. Governor Malloy is a man who is serious about justice reform. He cares about giving young people a second chance. He abolished the death penalty when it surely was difficult, given the horrific killing of the family of Dr. Petit years ago. Thank you for a thought provoking article. I happen to be on the Board of Directors of The Innocence Project of Florida and followed the case of the man Governor Malloy appointed to the Parole Board: a man who spent 21 years behind bars for a crime he did not commit……

  4. As an ex-con who began serving time in Connecticut, in 1980, at the age of 16, in Adult Facilities, I can say, without reservation, the hardest time I did was when I was grouped with prisoners my own age.
    How does the Department intend on channeling the “talent for mischief” of these young rascals?!
    Also, again from firsthand experience, education is the key!
    Will prisoners be taught vocational skills, or given opportunities for undergraduate studies?

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