Sen. Kissel Calls For Mandatory Notification of ALL Prison Assault Cases

March 7, 2008

Says notice of incidents must be given to the legislature and town officials within 24 hours

State Senator John A. Kissel, R-Enfield, today announced that he will propose legislation in the form of an amendment that would require the Connecticut State Department of Corrections (DOC) to report all documented prison assault cases to the legislature and all local elected officials within 24 hours of the incident. Sen. Kissel said that a recent string of attacks between inmates and corrections officers warrants notification to state and community leaders. His announcement comes after a report that the state police are investigating two attacks on correctional officers at the Northern Correctional Institution in Somers. Last month, there were three separate incidents between inmates at the Enfield Correctional facility and the Osbourne Correctional facility in Somers.

“Assaults within our state’s correctional facilities will not be tolerated,” said Sen. Kissel. “Should such incidents occur, notification of these assaults must be made known immediately. We have a responsibility to make sure that we are doing everything we can to ensure the public’s safety and the safety of those who have the very difficult jobs of working at our correctional facilities. If there is something we need to do in terms of pushing forth more safety measures, then we need to know about it immediately and that is the purpose of this legislation.”

Under Sen. Kissel’s legislation, any assault, no matter how minor (either inmate on inmate or inmate on corrections officer) that is documented by the DOC, must be reported to the legislature (all senators and representatives in host communities and all adjacent communities) within 24 hours of the incident. In addition, the measure also requires notification to all chief elected officials in the towns located in close proximity to the facility (host communities and all adjacent communities) where the event occurred. Last month, Sen. Kissel renewed his call for the legislature to pass a measure to increase staffing levels at all the state’s correctional facilities. He said this is another component to make sure that everything is being done to enhance safety and security.

Sen. Kissel, who serves as Ranking Senator on the legislature’s Judiciary Committee, today sent a certified letter to DOC commissioner Theresa C. Lantz stating his intention to move an amendment on any bill that comes out of the Judiciary Committee that deals with corrections. “We need to have better communication with the DOC if we want to prevent incidents like these from happening,” said Sen. Kissel.

“We need transparency. They say ‘What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.’ Well what happens within the walls of the Department of Correction can no longer stay within the walls of the Department of Correction,” concluded Sen. Kissel.