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Five inmates in the Cybulski building at the Willard-Cybulski Correctional Institution in Enfield have tested positive for COVID-19. The entire facility is now on lockdown.
file photo / Connecticut Public

This story was updated at 1:32 p.m. with a comment from the Lamont administration. 

The ACLU of Connecticut has filed a lawsuit to force Gov. Ned Lamont and Department of Correction Commissioner Rollin Cook to reduce the number of people incarcerated in Connecticut prisons and jails.

prison
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

As advocates continue to warn that overcrowded prisons and detention centers nationwide aren’t prepared to handle an outbreak of COVID-19, among the people affected by such conditions are those detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. 

File: Cybulski Correctional Institution in Enfield.
Connecticut Public Radio

As confirmed coronavirus cases within the state surpassed 1,000, prison reform advocates continued to call on the Lamont administration to do more to address the health and safety of people within the prison system.

Connecticut Public Radio

It is impossible to practice social distancing in a prison. Accordingly, authorities in New JerseyOhioTexasNew York and at least 12 other states have sent home people incarcerated for less serious offenses so they would not be exposed to an inevitable outbreak.

Pixabay

What challenges do people with criminal records face when re-entering society? What is Connecticut doing to help prior offenders reintegrate? 

This hour: we discuss challenges faced after leaving prison. This includes finding gainful employment, getting an education and even finding a place to live.

solitary confinement cell replica
Lori Mack / Connecticut Public Radio

A replica of a solitary confinement cell was displayed in the lobby of the Connecticut state Capitol Tuesday as part of an effort to reform the state’s prison system.

Legislators and visitors are encouraged to go inside the 10-by-12-foot cell, which aims to give people an idea of what solitary confinement might be like. It’s the second time in two years the cell has been at the Capitol as part of a campaign to change the practice. 

It's recreation time at a Los Angeles County jail known as the Twin Towers. Nearly a dozen disheveled young men stand docilely as they munch on sandwiches out of brown paper bags.

They're half-naked except for sleeveless, thick, blanket-like restraints wrapped around them like medieval garments.

All are chained and handcuffed to shiny metal tables bolted to the floor.

"It's lunchtime and they're actually [in] programming right now," says a veteran guard, LA County Sheriff's Deputy Myron Trimble.

Lori Mack / Connecticut Public Radio

A group of activists gathered Sunday in front of the Cheshire Correctional Institution to hold a vigil for incarcerated people who are being held in isolation.

They’re part of the Stop Solitary CT campaign, which is pushing for legislation this session to abolish the use of solitary confinement. 

Advocates Push To Curtail Solitary Confinement In Connecticut Prisons

Jan 23, 2020
Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

It’s been 20 years, and James Tillman still hasn’t forgotten what it felt like the first time he trudged down the narrow, gray hallways into the bowels of Northern Correctional Institution.

“It was like walking into the circle of hell,” said the wrongfully convicted inmate-turned-activist. “The conditions are so terrible – worse than any animals could be subject to.”

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

At sixteen years of age, Reginald Dwayne Betts went to prison for carjacking. Decades later, Betts is a celebrated poet and graduate of Yale Law School. But, like many ex-offenders, the consequences of those teenage mistakes have followed him for years.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

Five Connecticut women returning from prison just got a big gift in time for the holiday season -- a new home.

Courtesy: Thompson Family

State officials and immigration attorneys in Connecticut are welcoming a ruling last week by the federal Board of Immigration Appeals that clarifies its position on the state’s pardon power. The BIA says it will now honor Connecticut’s pardons. That means Hartford resident Wayzaro Walton will be able to regain her legal status and avoid deportation from the U.S. 

DOC Medical Staff Erred In Treatment Of Pregnant Inmate, Internal Probe Says

Dec 8, 2019
CT Mirror

A pregnant inmate had complained of pain numerous times to staff at York Correctional Institution during the week before she gave birth in her cell last year, but medical workers did not perform an assessment that would have determined she was in labor, nor did they tell a doctor about her abdominal pain or send her to an emergency room, according to a report unsealed Friday by a federal judge.

John Atashian

The nonprofit Judy Dworin Performance Project harnesses the arts to build social awareness, staging performances that draw on issues ranging from incarceration to immigration.

And it has been doing this for 30 years.

This hour, we sit down with Judy Dworin to reflect on this milestone. We also talk with performers and colleagues, and we hear from you, too. How has the Judy Dworin Performance Project touched your life?

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. 

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

At sixteen years of age, Reginald Dwayne Betts went to prison for carjacking. Decades later, Betts is a celebrated poet and graduate of Yale Law School. But, like many ex-offenders, the consequences of those teenage mistakes have followed him for years.

After 22 Years, Educating Incarcerated Youth Still A Challenge

Nov 4, 2019
CT Mirror

In 1993, a lawyer at the Center for Children’s Advocacy brought a lawsuit challenging, among other things, the conditions of confinement at the state’s  juvenile detention centers. Four years later, the court approved an agreement that resulted in the Emily J. Consent Decree, part of which required the state to retool its educational services for juvenile detainees.

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. 

Commissioner Cook Talks About Changing Times At Connecticut’s Prisons

Oct 14, 2019
ANDRIUS BANEVICIUS Andrius Banevicius / Connecticut Department of Correction

Much of the criminal justice system has changed over the three decades that Rollin Cook has worked in prisons. At the beginning of his career, the main job of correction officers was to warehouse inmates – make sure the jails and prisons were secure, that the prisoners made it to their court hearings, that the gates opened and closed.

nathanmac87 / Flickr Creative Commons

Cities and towns have laws to keep people from engaging in behavior that may disturb others, like sleeping on park benches, drinking in public, or just plain “loitering”.

What does it mean when just hanging out in a public space puts you in violation of these laws?

Joshua Davis

Over the 21 years Sen. Cathy Osten worked for the Department of Correction, mental illness was so pervasive among Connecticut’s inmates that it was not unusual for her to hear from families who were grateful their loved ones were incarcerated because they were better off behind bars than on the street.

A Connecticut man who was wrongfully imprisoned for 27 years said he’s delighted by the verdict in his lawsuit against four Springfield, Massachusetts, police officers — but not for the reason you might think.

Allen Allen / CreativeCommons.org

The American criminal justice system has become less 'just' over recent decades and prosecutors bear much of the responsibility.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

Right now, there are 941 women in prison in Connecticut. For those that make it out, one of the most difficult initial parts of re-entry can be finding somewhere to live.

A fire recently devastated one home that helps former inmates.

Palm Beach County Sheriff's Department / Wikipedia

The FBI, the Justice Department's inspector general and the New York City medical examiner will investigate how billionaire and convicted sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in his jail cell at Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan early Saturday morning. 

ADAM WALKER CLEAVELAND/FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

A first-in-the-nation bill that would make phone calls from Connecticut prisons free is moving to the next level. 

Allen Allen / Creative Commons

The American criminal justice system has become less 'just' over recent decades and prosecutors bear much of the responsibility.

THOMAS HAWK / CREATIVE COMMONS

Connecticut legislators are hoping to pass a bill that would make phone calls from prisons in the state free. Currently the high cost of communication between prisoners and their families has negative consequences.

Cheryl Senter / New Hampshire Public Radio

A transgender inmate seeking treatment for gender dysphoria is suing state correctional officials.

Adam Walker Cleaveland/flickr creative commons

The Connecticut state Judiciary Committee passed a bill this week that could make prison phone calls free.

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