Sen. Kissel Selected to Prison Safety Task Force

July 25, 2008

Speaker of the House appoints Kissel to bi-partisan working group

State Senator John A. Kissel, R-Enfield, has been appointed to serve as a member of the Task Force on Prison Populations and Correctional Officer Safety. The new task force, created by Speaker of the House James Amann, will focus on the health and safety issues surrounding correctional officers and prison staff in Connecticut. Sen. Kissel, who serves as ranking member of the legislature’s Judiciary Committee, has been an ardent supporter of increasing the number of prison guards in the state as a well as providing them with the necessary tools protect their safety and the safety of the public.

“I am looking forward to being a part of this task force. Any effort to address the issue of prison safety is something that I want to be a part of and I thank the Speaker for creating this working group,” said Sen. Kissel. “We need to focus on ways in which we can increase the number of prison guards within the system. I believe there is a correlation between staffing levels and the number of assault cases that are occurring, so it is important that we review that issue.”

During the 2008 legislative session Sen. Kissel offered legislation on a number of areas to help improve the safety of the state’s prison system in addition to increasing the number of prison guards, including providing prison guards with Kevlar gloves and more canine support. While the measures did not pass due to budget concerns, Sen. Kissel said he is hopeful that both measures will be discussed in great detail by the task force.

“Keeping our correctional facilities safe is a complex issue that needs our continuous attention. There is nothing more important than public safety issues. From the corrections officers to the public at large, this has to be our number one priority,” said Sen. Kissel.

In addition to a bi-partisan group of legislators and correction officers, the task force is designed to include representatives from the Department of Correction, State Police, and the State Prosecutor’s Office.