Local 355 Administrative Clerical Employees

Closing Prisons A Bad Idea

Dec. 1 -- Council 4's NP-4 Corrections Bargaining Unit today criticized Gov. Rell's proposal to close Webster Correctional Institution in Webster.

“The governor's decision to close a state prison in a system that is already overcrowded with inmates and understaffed with front-line workers does not make sense," said AFSCME Local 3878 President Dwayne Bickford.

Bickford said Connecticut’s prison system was set up to handle 15,000-16,000 inmates. According to the Department of Corrections, there are approximately 18,500 inmates in the sy stem.

"Overcrowding is dangerous. It leads to higher incidents of assault on correctional staff and between inmates. Closing Webster will put greater strain on already other overburdened facilities and services," Bickford said.

State correctional employees have been fighting to make Connecticut's prisons and surrounding communities safer, particularly in the wake of severe overcrowding. According to a study by the non-partisan legislative Program Review and Investigations Committee, state prisons are short at least 700 front-line staff.

On top of that, Connecticut's prison system has seen an increase in assaults on staff and between inmates.

"Our correctional employees walk Connecticut’s toughest beat, and we will continue to do everything in our power to keep Connecticut safe. Shutting down a prison like Webster is ill-advised. It will not improve public safety," Bickford concluded. 

Council 4 AFSCME represents 35,000 employees in Connecticut, including nearly 5,000 front-line correctional employees in Locals 387, 391 and 1565. Local 387 represents the Cheshire Area Correctional Complex.

Connecticut's prisons remaind overcrowded and understaffed. Photo by WFSB-TV 3.

Take action today to help protect correctional employees and our communities.

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