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Department of Correction

While her husband Jermaine is in prison, Samaris Smith has been struggling to pay the mortgage and raise five kids in the Bridgeport house the couple purchased last year. “We spent everything we had to get this,” Samaris said. Her hat says “No Days Off.”
Yehyun Kim / CTMirror.org

When the stress and anxiety overwhelm her, Samaris Smith kneels at the altar she erected in her home and covers her head with a cloth blessed by her pastor.

CT Child Advocate Report: Adult Prison System Is No Place For Minors

Nov 17, 2020
A window inside a ‘restrictive housing unit’ at Manson Youth Institution in Cheshire.
Courtesy Office of the Child Advocate

The 18-year-old didn’t want to be in jail, he told Department of Correction officials one day in 2019, as he covered the window in his cell with a sheet and mattress. He wanted to be with his family.

He was being held in a “Restrictive Housing Unit” at Manson Youth Institution in Cheshire, confined to his cell for up to 23.5 hours each day. He was upset and wasn’t responding to efforts by prison staff to calm him. Instead, he threatened to hang himself.

Cybulski Correctional Institution in Enfield.
Connecticut Public Radio

A series of emails recently released in a federal lawsuit make clear Department of Correction officials were aware of the shortcomings in the state’s prison health care system in April 2016, two years before the DOC took over inmate health care from UConn’s Correctional Managed Health Care.

Angel Quiros walks toward a building for new-employee training.
Yehyun Kim / CTMirror.org

How is the Department of Correction preparing for the next wave of the coronavirus? How are prisons working to contain the spread of the virus amongst Connecticut's prison population? 

This hour, newly appointed DOC Commissioner designate Angel Quiros joins us to answer our questions and yours. 

Prisons To Resume Social Visits On Oct. 15

Oct 9, 2020
Cybulski Correctional Institution in Enfield.
WNPR

For the first time since March, friends and families will be allowed to visit Connecticut prison inmates beginning this week. The Department of Correction announced Friday it would open its facilities for non-contact social visits on Oct. 15.

Angel Quiros poses for a portrait on Sept. 23 at Cheshire Correctional Institution.
Yehyun Kim / CTMirror.org

If Angel Quiros, nominated to lead the state’s Department of Correction, gets the job, he’ll have a personal stake in the way incarcerated people are treated in the state’s prisons and jails.

Lamont Names Angel Quiros As Next DOC Commissioner

Sep 2, 2020
prison gate
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

Gov. Ned Lamont has nominated Angel Quiros to be the next Department of Correction commissioner.

Quiros, a 30-year veteran of the department who grew up in Hartford, previously had been the DOC’s deputy commissioner of operations and has served as interim commissioner since Rollin Cook stepped down on July 1. He will be the agency’s first Latino commissioner, and will be in charge of overseeing an incarcerated population that is disproportionately made up of Black and Hispanic people.

Lamont Challenged After Seventh Inmate Dies From Coronavirus

May 27, 2020
Barbara Fair, of West Haven, asks Gov. Ned Lamont to explain the lack of testing in the state’s prisons after an seventh inmate reportedly died of COVID-19.
Cloe Poisson / CTMirror.org

A prison-rights advocate confronted Gov. Ned Lamont at an outdoor news conference Wednesday, accusing the governor of indifference to the health of prison inmates during the COVID-19 pandemic, not long after the Department of Correction announced that a seventh inmate has died from the disease.

With just a handful of days to go until the state begins to formally, reopen, testing for coronavirus continues to be a major focal point -- and, on Saturday, the state saw a testing surge. 

Osborn Correctional Institute
CTMirror.org

The Department of Correction placed Osborn Correctional Institution on lockdown Friday after 105 asymptomatic inmates tested positive for COVID-19.

Federal Correctional Institution
U.S. Bureau Of Prisons

Attorneys from a Stamford law firm, Quinnipiac University School of Law and Yale Law School filed a class-action federal lawsuit Monday night to force authorities to take emergency measures to protect the more than 1,000 men and women incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury.

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

A state judge issued a ruling late Friday night dismissing the ACLU of Connecticut’s lawsuit to remove incarcerated people from correctional facilities to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

This hour, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont is calling in to give us the latest on the state’s response to coronavirus

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public

William Outlaw is a natural leader. He's been a key figure in helping to lower New Haven's homicide rate over the last decade. He's a strategist and an organizer who can size up a situation quickly. He can defuse a threatening situation with his charisma and charm. He can run a business. 

As a street outreach worker in New Haven, he uses all the same skills today that he used when he co-ran New Haven's largest cocaine gang in the 1980's. 

Brad K. / Creative Commons

Connecticut's "Second Chance Society" has reduced the number of people going into prison and better prepared offenders for a meaningful life when they get out. 

Ryan Lindsay / Connecticut Public Radio

Before the Hartford Reentry Welcome Center opened, people in the city fresh out of prison didn’t have one central place where they could find housing, counseling or even a clean, safe place to use the bathroom. Now, they do. The center - located in City Hall -  is a partnership between Community Partners in Action, the City of Hartford, the Department of Corrections and more than 40 local organizations.

Jenn Vargas / Flickr

Today, we take a look at a series of disturbing cases of alleged medical malpractice of inmates incarcerated in Connecticut.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

This hour: we sit-down with Connecticut Department of Correction Commissioner Scott Semple. In recent months, Semple’s agency has garnered statewide attention -- specifically with regard to reports involving prison health care and security.

We take a closer look at those issues and talk more broadly about trends within Connecticut's prison system.

Do you have a question or comment for Commissioner Semple? We want to hear from you. 

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Authorities say a missing inmate who escaped from the Carl Robinson Correctional Institution in Enfield may have stowed away under a state service vehicle or garbage truck.

Pexels / Creative Commons

Layoff notices continue to be issued to Connecticut state employees.

Lucy Nalpathanchil / WNPR

In December, the Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Correction captured the attention of criminal justice reform advocates with a proposal for a new facility solely for 18-to-25-year-olds. It's part of a string of initiatives under the leadership of Scott Semple.

Sage Ross / Creative Commons

Lawmakers are considering a bill that would limit the use of seclusion and restraints to individuals aged 20 or older at facilities run by the Departments of Correction and Children and Families.

Thomas Hawk / Creative Commons

Connecticut's Department of Correction is changing the way it rewards prison inmates for good behavior.

Thomas Hawk /thomashawk / Flickr

Connecticut state police and the Department of Correction said they are investigating the death of an inmate at the York Correctional Institution in Niantic as a possible suicide.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

In 2011, the state adopted a Risk Reduction Earned Credit, or RREC program, where certain prisoners can have their sentences reduced by participating in prison programs, and for good behavior. RREC has been controversial, but new statistics show the program has been effective in reducing recidivism rates.

Kudumomo / Creative Commons

Attorneys for the transgender juvenile at a Connecticut women's prison say the Department of Correction will not transfer the teen to Manson Correctional Institution, a male facility.

Aaron Romano, who is representing the juvenile in federal court, is working with the DOC on a plan that he hopes will be more rehabilitative, despite the fact the 16-year-old is in a correctional adult facility.

Prisons Ban Wally Lamb Books, Then Reverse Course

Aug 22, 2013
Chion Wolf / WNPR

 Wally Lamb, the best-selling author, advocate for female prisoners, and frequent contributor to The Colin McEnroe Show, reported last night that the Connecticut Department of Corrections had banned his book "She's Come Undone" and put "I'll Fly Away" on an "endangered list."  

Then we got this statement from the State Department of Correction less than a day after the news broke: 

A habeas corpus trial involving seven death row inmates is scheduled to take place in Connecticut in the coming weeks. The logistics of the trial have been complex.

Connecticut abolished the death penalty earlier this year, but the new law is prospective, affecting only future crimes. It leaves in place the sentences of eleven inmates currently on death row.