Speaking Out For Safety

photo courtesy of CT News Junkie.

State correction officers say the recent closing of Bergin Correctional Institution has worsened inmate overcrowding throughout Connecticut’s prisons, leading to renewed concerns over staff safety and security.

Leaders of AFSCME Local 387 and AFSCME Local 1565 gathered outside Hartford Correctional Center this morning for a press conference to air their concerns about prison over-crowding and to explain the recent injunction their unions filed over the Bergin closing.

“We agree with Governor Malloy that you can’t put a price on public safety,” said AFSCME Local 1565 President Luke Leone. “Closing prisons, and transferring inmates into other correctional facilities without adequate planning, is more than penny-wise and pound-foolish. It jeopardizes the health and safety of the workers we represent.”

Local 1565 and Local 387 of Council 4 AFSCME filed a temporary injunction Aug. 9 against the State of Connecticut in Hartford Superior Court.  A hearing is set for Sept. 23 at Hartford Superior Court.

The unions are seeking to prohibit the closing of Bergin in part because the State did not provide adequate information about whether the plan was accurately studied and whether adequate safeguards were out into place.

“Let’s not be fooled by any decrease in the prison population. Connecticut’s prisons are still over-crowded and under-staffed. That’s the bottom line,” said AFSCME Local 387 President Lisamarie Fontano. “We call on the Malloy administration and the Department of Correction to address our concerns before someone gets hurt.”

Local 1565 President Luke Leone, left, and Local 387 President Lisamarie Fontano speak to reporters about overcrowding.