Sen. Kissel Opposes Dept. of Correction Plan to Expand Carl Robison Yet Again

October 25, 2007

After learning today that the state Department of Correction (DOC) is planning a second expansion of the Carl Robinson Correctional Institution in Enfield, state Senator John A. Kissel, R-Enfield, said that he is extremely concerned that decisions addressing prison overcrowding are being made unilaterally and piecemeal. According to Sen. Kissel, today’s announcement that the DOC is going to renovate a third dorm at the prison to allow for an additional 114 inmates is contrary to what DOC Commissioner Theresa C. Lantz testified to last month at a legislative hearing on prison over crowding.

“This comes as a very big surprise,” said Sen. Kissel. “Commissioner Lantz, who I have a great deal of respect for, testified last month in response to a very direct question I posed that the Department was not planning any further expansion of facilities in North Central Connecticut. Today’s announcement means she’s changed her plan and we need to know if there are further changes are on the way. As someone who represents three towns (Enfield, Somers and Suffield) that are home to several correctional facilities, I think it is absolutely imperative that any prison expansion is discussed first with officials of the local communities before any decision are made.”

According to the DOC, the number of incarcerated persons as of today is 19,810 – that is up from 18,864 at the time of the Cheshire murders on July 23rd and up from 19,655 from just ten days ago, when Sen. Kissel and other legislators toured the Willard – Cybulski facility in Somers

“There are many things we need to take into consideration before additional expansion takes place. When all is said and done with the two expansions at Carl Robinson we would be talking about an additional 350 inmates and that inevitably has an effect on the entire community,” said Sen. Kissel who pointed out that the town of Enfield is already dealing with limited sewage capacity.

“There’s nothing more important than the safety of these facilities. From the corrections officers to the public at large, this has to be our number one priority. Nonetheless, the Department of Corrections needs to work with everyone involved if they are going to have the trust of our host communities,” said Sen. Kissel.