Sen. Kissel Seeks Protective Kevlar Gloves for Correctional Officers

April 11, 2008

Would protect COs from making contact with bodily fluids during inmate extractions

State Sen. John A. Kissel, R-Enfield, today said he is calling for Correctional Officers to have access to cut proof and pathogen resistant Kevlar gloves to enhance their personal safety. During a joint Judiciary and Appropriations Committee informational forum on prison overcrowding costs Thursday, Sen. Kissel said that testimony presented by Correctional Officers from Northern Correctional Institute in Somers and Garner in Newtown made it clear that these protective gloves are an effective and inexpensive safeguard against the transference of bodily fluids and potential contraction of infectious diseases during inmate extractions.

During the hearing, Sen. Kissel had the opportunity to question Department of Correction (DOC) Commissioner Theresa C. Lantz on the issue and was encouraged by her positive response. “Commissioner Lantz has been nothing but supportive of the many issues pertaining to the safety of our correctional officers,” said Sen. Kissel. “Although she did not commit to having every officer in the state outfitted with Kevlar by the end of the legislative session, she did agree to make a review of the issue one of her top priorities, and that is very encouraging because this is such an important issue that needs immediate attention. Both Commissioner Lantz and Deputy Commissioner Brian Murphy, are very supportive of this initiative, especially as it pertains to concerns by Correctional Officers at Northern and Garner.” He added that Correctional Officers are seven times more likely to be exposed to HIV and Hepatitis than the average person and the latex gloves they currently wear do little to protect from these exposures.

While inadvertently not included in the original meeting at Speaker Amann’s office on Wednesday, March 26th, regarding prison safety at Northern Correctional Facility in Somers, Senator Kissel is committed to pushing forth this initiative from his position as Ranking Senator on the Judiciary Committee, which has oversight authority over Corrections. “It is so important to listen to the concerns of the men and women who work on the front lines and I will do all that I can to support their efforts at attaining Kevlar. They have one of the toughest and most dangerous jobs in our state and we need to do all that we can to ensure their safety,” said Sen. Kissel. “I look forward to working with Commissioner Lantz further to expedite the process so that our COs can get their job done in the safest, most effective way possible.”