Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced a new initiative as part of his Second Chance Society on Wednesday morning.
The governor announced the opening of a reintegration center at the York Correctional Institute in Niantic.
“Our overall prison population is at its lowest rate in about 20 years, and our crime rate is at its lowest level in nearly 50 years. However, over the past five years, our female population has remained relatively steady. This new center aims to change that – to bring about a reduction in the female population to match the improvements we have seen in the male offender population,” Malloy said in a statement on Wednesday.
This reintegration center is the state's only correctional facility for female offenders, and the new center becomes the third such facility in the state. The program includes job training programs to help former inmates become productive members of society.
“Re-entry programs, giving offenders the tools to stay on the right path, and investing in rehabilitation is smart strategy – it’s working and should be expanded,” Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman said in a statement on Wednesday.
The ultimate goal is to keep more people out of prison.
“The goal of our efforts here is to tackle the systemic issues that result in a cycle of crime and poverty. We’re changing our approach to criminal justice from within our prison walls so that we can lower crime outside of them,” Malloy said.
Inmates need to have less than five years left on their sentence and need to be screened for this select program. They then go through behavior courses and get help finding jobs and housing. Everything they need to be a successful woman once their second chance comes.
"It's all about behaviors and changing our behaviors and the success rate you put yourself in. You get the skills, but it's up to you to use the skills," Tyshema Byrd said.
The reintegration center at the York Correctional Institute will be similar to the Cybulski Community Reintegration Center, which houses men and opened in April 2015, and the Veterans Unit for military veterans, which opened in November 2015.
The reintegration center at the York Correctional Institute currently house 56 women and can hold up to 68 women in the program.
The first phase of the Second Chance Society includes a pilot program to help those who get out of prison, get training and get jobs. The second phase would wants to raise the age of a juvenile from 18 to 20.
The governor said more of these reintegration programs are coming in the near future. The next will be tailored for driving under the influence offenders and then for those who need mental health help.
To read more about Malloy's Second Chance Society proposal, click here.
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