Sen. Kissel Says Prison Incident Illustrates Dangers Within Prison Facilities

May 14, 2008

One day after the death of an inmate at the MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution in Suffield, state Senator John A. Kissel, R-Enfield, today said that he is concerned about the safety of correction officers at the state’s high security prisons. Sen. Kissel said the incident, believed to be isolated, illustrates the dangers of the state’s prisons.

“What took place at MacDougall-Walker yesterday is very concerning to me. If an inmate wants to do harm to another inmate or god forbid one of our prison guards, this incident shows just how quickly it can happen,” said Sen. Kissel. “From all accounts this assault took place in a matter of seconds, so it really emphasizes the difficult and dangerous working environment in which our correction officers have to deal with.”

Sen. Kissel said the incident sends a clear message regarding the need for additional correction officers. He said he was disappointed that by not acting on a budget during the legislative session (which ended last Wednesday), the state had an opportunity to add an additional 125 correction officers to the state’s prisons system. In fact, Sen. Kissel offered amendments on the floor of the Senate to increase the prison guard ranks which were defeated essentially along party line votes.

“Proper corrections staffing should be a priority going forward,” said Sen. Kissel. “Incidents such as what happened yesterday cannot and will not be tolerated. We need to make sure that our correctional facilities are secure and safe, and that means giving our prison officials the necessary tools and manpower to do their jobs.”