New Unit for Young Female Prisoners Is Opened in Connecticut
NIANTIC, CONNECTICUT – July 9, 2018
The opening of a newly-created corrections unit for young female inmates is taking place on Monday morning. Governor Dannel P. Malloy, Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman and Department of Correction Commissioner Scott Semple will be on hand when the new W.O.R.T.H. Unit opens at the York Correctional Institution in Niantic. W.O.R.T.H. stands for Woman Overcoming Recidivism Through Hard Work, WTNH reports. The unit is for young women between the ages of 18 and 25, who are working to achieve successful lives when they’re released.
According to report made public February, 2018 by the Office of Policy and Management, Connecticut has made steady if modest progress on how many released inmates wind up committing new crimes.
State Correction Commissioner Scott Semple has introduced several programs to try to taper recidivism among different offender subgroups. Semple said the effort complements Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s call for a “Second Chance Society.”
Semple’s approach to combatting recidivism evolved after he visited German prisons with Malloy in the summer of 2015 and saw a facility designated for inmates age 18 to 25.
The Cybulski Community Reintegration Center, a prison in Enfield dedicated to preparing inmates for re-entry into the community, is another one of those initiatives.
The prison has general and specialized units that engage different prisoner populations in programs involving job skills, resume writing, and educational and vocational opportunities.
Semple said the facility, which has three units that each house slightly more than 100 inmates, also acts as a therapeutic community where prisoners hold each other accountable and work together as a community.
“There’s a benefit there. You’re improving not only one’s ability to succeed in the community — they’re not coming back into the system — but you’re also sending a message to the overall population, that there is this place and you can get there if you do the same things that we’ve been trying to influence these other folks to do,” Semple said.
State Sen. Len Suzio, an advocate for stiffer sentencing, says he won’t be satisfied with progress on recidivism as long as he can point to violent crimes committed by ex-convicts, especially those released early with Risk Reduction credits.
The Malloy administration’s Risk Reduction Earned Credit (RREC) program is aimed at encouraging good behavior among offenders. It allows inmates to earn a maximum of five days a month off their sentence. Prisoners convicted of some of the most violent crimes are barred from earning credits.
Suzio calls the crimes “scandalous” evidence that the state’s correction system is failing past and future victims.
Suzio said he had counted hundreds of charges of murder, rape and other violent offenses against inmates who had earned some amount of time off their sentences since the RREC program took effect in 2011. He said he had identified 119 murders, 154 rapes and almost 2,000 assaults among charges racked up by the first cohort of inmates released early under the RREC program — however, not necessarily charges that occurred before they would have been released if they served their full sentence, The Connecticut Mirror reports.