Senator Kissel Meets with Commissioner Arnone to Reform Prison Library Policies

October 6, 2010

Senator Kissel Meets with Commissioner Arnone to Reform Prison Library Policies

Hartford, CT – State Senator John A. Kissel (R-Enfield) recently met with Connecticut Department of Corrections (DOC) Commissioner Leo Arnone to discuss reforming policies regarding the content of library books at state prisons.

Senator Kissel first voiced his concerns about prison library policies in July after learning that Steven Hayes had possibly been in possession of books that depicted murders and graphic violence while incarcerated prior to committing the Petit home invasion and murders for which he was found guilty of today.

Senator Kissel, whose district includes six state prisons housing over 8,000 inmates, met personally with Commissioner Arnone on Friday and said he is pleased with the efforts the DOC is making to improve its library policies.

“Commissioner Arnone and I have agreed that the best way to establish a prison library policy for Connecticut is to examine what is already working at federal prisons like Leavenworth, Marion and Florence and model Connecticut’s policy accordingly,” said Senator Kissel. “To that end, Commissioner Arnone has instructed DOC staff to work with the Federal Bureau of Prisons and learn as much as they can about rules and regulations that work in federal prison libraries and how free speech and other issues have been litigated.”

Senator Kissel said Commissioner Arnone believes the research will be complete in about a month or so and that the DOC will keep the Senator apprised of its findings and new policies as they are implemented.

“It is important that we do our homework and establish a policy that not only keeps books like “In Cold Blood” out of the hands of violent criminals like Steven Hayes, but also a policy that will stand up to any legal challenges that are thrown its way,” said Senator Kissel. “Common sense is on our side and I believe we will be able to establish an effective policy without having to pass new legislation.”