Another prison has been shuttered by Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy as the inmate population continues to decline. The announcement was made at the end of 2017 that Enfield Correctional Institute will close in early 2018. In an effort to save $6.5 million annually the 700 inmates from this prison will be moved to other facilities.
The closure of Enfield Correctional Institute marks the fourth prison shuttered by Governor Malloy. The other three prisons closed by the governor include Gates Correctional Institute in Niantic, Bergin Correctional Institute in Storrs, and Webster Correctional Institution in Cheshire. Aside from closing four prisons entirely, the governor has also closed portions of other prisons across the state.
“The closure of yet another prison in Connecticut could bring trouble for current inmates,” Peter Billings of Billings & Barrett, said. “There is the possibility that moving inmates from one location to another will cause overcrowding, which can lead to safety concerns.”
The peak of the inmate population occurred in 2008 at just under 20,000 (19,894). Since that time the total population of inmates has dropped. The state prison system currently houses roughly 14,000 inmates, which is an estimated 863 fewer inmates than in 2016.
Enfield opened back in 1962 as a low-level facility that dealt with pre-release for inmates. The prison now operates as a Level 3 medium security prison. Scott Semple, the Connecticut Corrections Commissioner, credited strong agency reentry efforts, a steady decline in crime rates, and the governor’s Second Chance legislation.
Semple backed the closure of Enfield by citing the financial challenges of the state and the forecast issued on inmate population. He also noted that the safety and security of all the state’s prisons will still be a top priority as other locations close.
There are 190 staff working at Enfield, all of whom will be invited to keep their positions with the corrections agency. All 190 staffers will be offered positions at other prisons where vacancies need to be filled. The representative for the union that represents the 190 employees vowed to keep an eye on the situation and ensure that the safety of the employees is at the forefront at all times.
The union representative was not surprised by the closure announcement but did say that they are concerned with the closures and will monitor the situation.