DOC: Accomplishments in 2004

Accomplishments in 2004

January 26, 2004

As part of the agency priority established by Commissioner Theresa C. Lantz, to improve the programmatic support that is offered offenders as a means of assisting in their successful re-entry into society, a pilot program has been established at the Willard-Cybulski Correctional Institution. Inmates nearing end of sentence at this pre-release facility are offered the Transition Video Program which combines video, a workbook, live instruction and a Discharge Resource Card. The program provides assistance and direction in such matters as restoring a driver's license and social security card, dealing with paternity obligations and establishing community social service contacts. The Discharge Card lists important telephone numbers that may be utilized by the offender once in the community. The program will be expanded by the Fall to the agency's other pre-release facilities.

February 23, 2004

As testament to a more cooperative and open relationship with the agency's labor unions, negotiations begun on this date with the Department's largest labor organization, NP-4 were completed in an unprecedented seven-week time span. The union represents some 4,000 custody, treatment and maintenance staff. Issues involving transfers and wages were quickly and efficiently dealt with resulting in a 0%, 3%, 3%, 3% salary increase over the course of the four year agreement. Commissioner Theresa C. Lantz has committed her administration to a collaborative and mutually beneficial partnership with the agency's labor organizations.

March 2, 2004

The Department of Correction was recognized as a "Patriotic Employer" for its extensive support of our country's armed forces. The Connecticut delegate of the National Employer Support of the Guard and Reserves, Carl Venditto, presented the certificate to Commissioner Theresa Lantz. The Department was praised for its dedication and commitment in supporting its men and women who also serve as deployed and active members of the Guard and Reserves. Through a concerted Department wide effort titled Operation Correction Cares, the agency has sought to maintain a high level of care and concern about not only deployed staff but also their families. The Department had more than 50 soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines on duty at the time, down from a peak of more than 100 deployed in the months following September 11, 2001.

March 18, 2004

Out of concern about the potential for misuse of an offender's correctional history information, particularly in light of the agency's combined correctional system which includes pre-trial offenders, the Department has moved to limit the disclosure of inmate information to only those inmates who are currently incarcerated. As the agency moves to strengthen its efforts at supporting the successful community reintegration of offenders, there were indications based on public inquiries, that information about offenders, even those who were not convicted, was being scrutinized for matters including housing and credit. An agency wide memo was issued restricting the public release of offender information to those who are currently incarcerated with the direction that requests for an individual's criminal history be referred to the Department of Public Safety.

March 23, 2004

The Department has undertaken a comprehensive review and revision of its Protective Custody program which seeks to safeguard offenders at potential risk of victimization by separating them from the general inmate population. The revision requires intensive screening of those being considered for placement into the unit as well as a strict analysis as to which offenders should be further segregated within the unit based on a range of objective risk criteria and subjective personality characteristics.

April 1, 2004

In order to better track the effectiveness of inmate programming, utilize evidence based practices in designing the compendium of programming and to assist individual offenders in their successful re-entry into the community, the Department has created the RT 3-M screen on the computerized inmate tracking system. The various programming opportunities that an offender takes advantage of are recorded for each inmate on the RT 3-M screen. This programming history for the offender not only portrays the progress they are making toward reintegration, but will also be used to gauge the effectiveness of various programming on future recidivism.

April 2, 2004

As part of the legislatively mandated consolidation of the Board of Parole within the Department of Correction, Commissioner Theresa C. Lantz has appointed Robert Gillis, a veteran with more than 33 years of correctional experience, as the Director of Parole and Community Services. In this new role, Gillis will oversee the community supervision functions of both Parole and the DOC's Community Enforcement Unit, which will be merged into one community based component.. Gillis has overseen a committee, which has established the framework for this consolidation. The Board of Parole and its decision-making authority will remain autonomous under its Chairman. The consolidation will ensure a continuum of custody, care and treatment and control of inmates, from the first day of incarceration, through a period of community based supervision for appropriate offenders. It is expected the consolidation will further enhance the rate of successful community reintegration for the inmate population.

April 2, 2004

In collaboration with the state Office for Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities, and in response to a lawsuit filed by that Office, the Connecticut Department of Correction has entered into an agreement which provides for substantial advancements in the management of inmates who are determined to be seriously mentally ill. The agreement additionally institutes a partnership with the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services to conduct evaluations of all Administrative Segregation Phase One inmates as well as offenders classified as Mental Health Level 3 who are housed at Northern CI. Under the agreement, inmates identified as being seriously mentally ill will be transferred to the agency's mental health facility, Garner CI. A mental health professional will be consulted before a planned use of force and prior to the issuing of a disciplinary report to an inmate at Garner or awaiting transfer there. The agreement also provides for changes to the restraint policy for inmate recreation and visiting. Compliance with the agreement will be monitored by DOC mental health staff and two representatives selected by OP&A, with oversight by the court.

April 30, 2004

Under the leadership of Director Sandra Sawicki, the agency's pre-service cadet training program at the Maloney Center from Training and Staff Development has been revised to reflect an adult learning model. Additionally, the 10-week training program has been modified to improve the application of the classroom knowledge. Cadets, who had previously spent the last four weeks of their training at their assigned facility, now spend time each week at that facility immediately utilizing the information learned in the academy classroom. The on the job training component is also being enhanced through the guidance of veteran staff at the facilities who are being assigned as mentors/coaches.

May 13, 2004

Commissioner Theresa C. Lantz has announced the planned agency wide consolidation of inmate medical services in collaboration with the Department's contracted health care provider, University of Connecticut Correctional Managed Health Care. While maintaining offenders at their appropriate security level, the consolidation is intended to improve the delivery of health care services in a fiscally responsible manner by better utilizing available resources through the concentration of high need inmates at designated facilities. It is anticipated the consolidation will ensure a continuum of appropriate health care for the inmate population while also supporting health service staff recruitment, retention and morale. The consolation provides for a phased transfer of inmates to the designated facilities.

May 14, 2004

In compliance with the agency mission of providing safe, secure and humane supervision of offenders, Commissioner Theresa C. Lantz has directed that all unsentenced male offenders who are age 16 and 17, shall be transferred to the Manson Youth Institution upon admission to the Department of Correction. This initiative, while providing this age group with a more appropriate correctional environment will also increase the access of these offenders to programming including mandated educational services. Additionally, this measure will make available additional pre-trial bed space at the intake facilities for the remainder of the male offender population.

June 2, 2004

In collaboration with the state Office for Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities, and in response to a lawsuit filed by that Office, the Connecticut Department of Correction has entered into an agreement which provides for substantial advancements in the management of inmates who are determined to be seriously mentally ill. The agreement additionally institutes a partnership with the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services to conduct evaluations of all Administrative Segregation Phase One inmates as well as offenders classified as Mental Health Level 3 who are housed at Northern CI. Under the agreement, inmates identified as being seriously mentally ill will be transferred to the agency's mental health facility, Garner CI. A mental health professional will be consulted before a planned use of force and prior to the issuing of a disciplinary report to an inmate at Garner or awaiting transfer there. The agreement also provides for changes to the restraint policy for inmate recreation and visiting. Compliance with the agreement will be monitored by DOC mental health staff and two representatives selected by OP&A, with oversight by the court.

June 30, 2004

In keeping with the commitment of the Connecticut Department of Correction to continually review and revise its procedures to insure a best practice standard, and in light of Commissioner Theresa C. Lantz's serious concern regarding a cluster of incidents of offender self-harm, the agency has undertaken a comprehensive and systematic analysis of its suicide prevention protocols. Building upon a sound foundation of detailed policy, extensive staff training, oversight from internal and external mental health experts, and suicide resistant facilities, new initiatives have been undertaken to reduce the opportunity for offender self-harm. These include implementing special inmate housing/ orientation units at intake facilities, increased staff observation of inmates in orientation units, the removal of shoelaces in those units, an enhancement of medical/medical health inmate assessment upon intake and the revision of Administrative Directive 8.14, Suicide Prevention. Through a comparison with the latest national best practice suicide protocol, it was determined that the Connecticut Department of Correction is already employing the highest level of preventative measures.

July 7, 2004

In compliance with a legislative mandate, the Connecticut Department of Correction, in partnership with the Department of Information Technology, has initiated a pilot Debit Telephone Card System for the offender population at the Brooklyn Correctional Institution. The program provides an alternative from the current, agency wide, collect call only inmate telephone system. Under the debit card program, individuals on the inmate's visiting list may provide funds through Inmate Accounts that will be applied to the phone card. When the inmate makes a call, the cost will be subtracted from the card. The cost of the calls under this program versus collect calls is approximately 25 percent less. If the value of the card is depleted, the inmate's calls will revert back to a collect call. If the inmate is moved to another facility the calling card option will go with him. The program will be reviewed after one year to determine its appropriateness for the entire agency.

July 28, 2004

At the direction of Deputy Commissioner Brian K. Murphy, the state's 18 correction facilities have begun to utilize the STARS incident reporting and analysis system to track and identify trends in facility incidents as a means of predicting and proactively responding to inmate behavioral issues before they are able to become a threat to safety, security and order. STARS stands for Statistical Tracking Analysis Report System. It records and displays for facility leadership the occurrence of incidents by housing unit throughout a particular facility. Based on the insight and knowledge gained, the facility leadership is able to address such an identified trend while it is still in an early developmental phase.

August 6, 2004

For the first time in the 36-year history of the Connecticut Department of Correction, a sitting state governor has taken part in the agency’s Annual Award Ceremony. Governor M. Jodi Rell recognized the pride of correctional staff and praised their service to our state. Connecticut’s Comptroller Nancy Wyman also attended the ceremony and expressed the state’s gratitude to the Department’s staff. As part of the agency’s continuing commitment to its men and women who’ve been called to active military duty, the ceremony featured a salute to those who have returned from activation. They received the Commissioner’s Award and signed a special Departmental flag which will serve as a symbol of their sacrifice and courage.

August 20, 2004

At the direction of Commissioner Theresa C. Lantz, the issue of wage compression among mid-level correctional managers has been addressed in a highly positive and beneficial manner. . Under a plan approved by the Office of Labor Relations, staff at the rank of Counselor Supervisor, Captain and Major were upgraded one salary group from their current wage level. This significant first step in addressing the issue was arrived at through the diligent efforts of the Department's Human Resources and Fiscal Services Units and an on going collaborative study with the Department of Administrative Services and the Office of Policy Management.

August 25, 2004

Governor M. Jodi Rell, in consultation with Commissioner Theresa C. Lantz has directed that the 428 Connecticut inmates being housed in Virginia will be returned to Connecticut correctional facilities by the end of the year. This ends the out of state placement of up to 500 offenders which had begun in 1999. The transfer will be possible based on the first decrease in Connecticut’s incarcerated population in more than a decade. The reduction in part is a result of new legislative, as well as systematic, multi-agency based initiatives aimed at supporting the successful reintegration of offenders upon release from confinement. Governor Rell pointed out the transfer will keep offenders closer to their families and communities which provide critical support upon release. Commissioner Lantz stated that the preference of the Department of Correction is to manage offenders in our own facilities with our highly professional staff.

September 7, 2004

The Human Resources Unit in collaboration with the Research and Strategic Planning staff have instituted a Task Tracking System to insure the timeliness and efficiency of the staff disciplinary process. Under the system disciplinary cases and investigations are assigned a completion date and are tracked at each location as they progress through a new revised and streamlined process. The System will not only allow for the development of aggregate performance measures but will also insure that staff accused of disciplinary infractions will be provided with an outcome in closer proximity to the occurrence of the alleged offense.

September 28, 2004

Commissioner Theresa C. Lantz and the Connecticut Department of Correction were recognized for their continuing support of those who serve in the country's armed forces. During the opening of a two-day conference at the State's Veteran's Home on improving the availability of benefits to the state's veterans, Veterans Affairs Commissioner Linda Schwartz presented Commissioner Lantz with a plaque which read, "…for your outstanding service to veterans and the Department of Veterans Affairs." During the same ceremony, the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve presented the Commissioner with the Pro Patria Award. The plaque capped with an eagle in flight recognized the Department of Correction, "…for outstanding service to the national defense through continuing support of the National Guard and Reserve." More than 100 agency staff have been called to active duty in service of our country since September 11, 2001.

October 15, 2004

As a further enhancement to public safety, the Department of Correction has installed the latest of its computerized, telephone phone tree community notification systems in the area surrounding the York and Gates Correctional Institutions. The system can automatically call 240 telephone numbers should the community need to receive information about an event at a correctional facility. This is the fifth such system that has been deployed; the others protect the communities surrounding facilities in Enfield/Somers, Brooklyn, Storrs and Cheshire.

October 18, 2004

In an effort to enhance the safety, security and order of the agency's correctional facilities, Administrative Directive 9.5, Code of Penal Discipline has been altered to include Public Indecency as a Class A Infraction. The violation is described as, "Intentionally exposing one's body or fondling/caressing one's intimate body parts in a lewd manner." The new infraction is also aimed at improving the work environment for correctional staff.

November 7, 2004

According to the latest Department of Justice statistics on incarceration rates in the United States, the Connecticut Department of Correction, as of December 31, 2003, led all states with a reduction of 4.2% in its inmate population over the proceeding year. By comparison, state and federal prisons as a whole experienced a 2.1% increase. Commissioner Theresa C. Lantz attributes the continuing reduction in the state's offender population to a strengthening of the collaboration between the Department, the Executive, Legislative and Judicial Branches as well as other affected state agencies, in pursuing a systematic approach which better supports successful offender reintegration into law abiding society.

December 5, 2004

Safely, securely and without incident, the final Connecticut inmates were returned from their temporary housing in Virginia. This marked a conclusion to the highly successful transfer of 500 inmates to Virginia as a temporary means of reducing crowding and preserving staff and inmate safety in Connecticut facilities. In accordance with statutory authority, the Virginia transfer had begun in 1999 with the transfer of Connecticut inmates to the Wallens Ridge Correctional Institution in Big Stone Gap Virginia. In 2001 those inmates were transferred to the Greensville Correctional Center in Jarratt, Virginia. More than half of the inmates housed in Virginia had asked that they be allowed to stay. Their return was made possible by a continuing reduction of the offender population in Connecticut. Commissioner Lantz announced that at this point in time there were no plans to send additional inmates out of state.



Content Last Modified on 1/5/2006 1:30:52 PM