IMRP Heads to Norway for Look Inside Prison System Seeking to ‘Create Good Neighbors’
A delegation from the University of Connecticut (UConn) visited Norway's prisons to observe the country's correctional system, which centers on rehabilitation and creating good neighbors. During the visit, the delegation discovered that the holiday party thrown by Norwegian correctional officers represented a stark difference between Norway and the US. Connecticut does not throw holiday parties for its correctional officers, and the average life expectancy for correctional officers in the US is lower than that of the general population. The delegation's visit was part of an ongoing effort to learn about and enact changes in Connecticut's prison system.
UConn Today - February 23, 2023
Racial Profiling Prohibition Report
UConn Policy Institute Releases First Statewide Report on Police Use of Force
Connecticut residents got their first look today at statewide statistics on police use of force in a report from the Institute for Municipal and Regional Policy that shows the biggest cities with highest number of arrests – Bridgeport, Hartford, New Haven, and Waterbury – have the most incidents. The new reporting system requires departments to note more than just the type of force used and asks for more detail. According to the report, 40% of individuals who force is used against are in mental health crisis. The vast majority of people involved in a force incident were unarmed and force is used only about 1% of the time when compared to all arrests. Connecticut became one of the first states to require the reporting of use-of-force incidents.
After pandemic surge, car thefts decline in Connecticut, expert says
According to preliminary crime statistics from state and local police departments, car thefts in Connecticut declined between 4% and 10% from 7,773 incidents in 2020. This decline coincided with a nationwide increase in property crimes. The data was compiled by the Institute for Municipal and Regional Policy at the University of Connecticut and presented to a legislative committee overseeing juvenile justice. Although car thefts are often associated with youths, roughly a third of people arrested for car thefts are under the age of 18, with a significant number in their early 20s. In the early 1990s, youths made up nearly half of those arrested for car thefts, however, the overall number of thefts has been declining and reached an all-time low in 2019 with 5,964 incidents.
CT Insider - March 17, 2022
How Berkeley Could Remove the Police From Traffic Stops
The Berkeley City Council is considering a proposal to prohibit the city's police officers from conducting traffic stops and have it done by unarmed public works officials instead. The plan is being considered as cities in the US are examining ways to reduce the role of their police departments. The legislation was proposed by a councilman named Rigel Robinson who co-sponsored it with the Mayor and two other council members. The proposal aims to de-escalate roadside situations, reduce racial bias in traffic stops, and create a city department of transportation with unarmed public works officials who would conduct parking enforcement and stop cars for violations. If passed, the legislation would start the process of examining the pilot project and its implementation in the next fiscal year. Ken Barone, a researcher at the University Connecticut who studies racial profiling, believes the Berkeley plan is "heading in the right direction."
The New York Times - October 31, 2021
Racial Disparities In Traffic Stops Decrease, But Inequalities Remain
The disparity between the rate of police traffic stops of Black and Hispanic drivers and their white counterparts shrank for a second consecutive year, according to the Connecticut Racial Profiling Prohibition Project (CTRP3). Though the gap is shrinking, the fifth annual report, which analyzed 2018 traffic stop data from law enforcement agencies statewide, found that Hispanic drivers are the most likely to be pulled over by state police during the daytime.
Connecticut Public Radio - May 6, 2020
Children with Incarcerated Parents
Aileen Keays on BBC News discussing the impact of parental incarceration. Learn more about the CIP Initiative.
Learning from Norway: Reconstituting hope in our justice system
Thirteen Connecticut justice system stakeholders recently visited Norway to explore the country's world-renowned correctional service system. Norway has turned around its system in the early 90s and 2000s by committing to human rights, high standards and reinvention. The Norwegian correctional service believes that the punishment for a crime is the sentence and loss of freedom, with the goal being to create good neighbors through rehabilitation. By treating people humanely and with normality, Norway's system has become both effective and cost-effective, resulting in greater societal safety. The U.S. is viewed as doing a disservice to all those whose lives it touches, while Norway is seen as doing something right, making it worthy of emulation.
CTmirror - January 4, 2023
Holiday Party for Kids of Incarcerated Parents Aims to Illuminate Their Bright Futures
A holiday party for children of incarcerated parents in Hartford was held by the Children of Color Organization (COCO) to help the children feel loved and supported during the holiday season. The event, which was attended by about 60 kids, included visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus, the opportunity to take home gifts, and the chance to meet local police officers and firefighters. The party was also an opportunity for the children to celebrate Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Hanukkah with other kids who are going through similar experiences. The goal of the event was to provide hope and faith to the children and show them that their futures can be bright.
NBC CT -
Their children need us
Three police officers were shot, with two killed, while responding to a call about a suspected violent crime. The officer who was killed was a father to two young children and a third on the way, while one of the alleged perpetrators was also a father to two young children. The children of the fallen officer will be impacted by the loss of their father, while the children of the alleged perpetrator may face stigma, shame, and shared blame from others, as well as bullying and harassment. It is important for the community to support all child victims of crime, including those connected to the alleged perpetrator, with love, compassion, and gentleness, and for schools to provide support and compassion to affected children and report any negative behavior towards them.
CT Viewpoints - October 14, 2022
Playground at York Correctional Will be Newest Tool to Connect Incarcerated Moms With Their Kids
Nearly more than half of the women at York Correctional Institution in Niantic are moms. It’s why the prison is now taking a new step to help incarcerated parents maintain a bond with their kids by installing a new playground at the facility later this month. “We’ve learned that maintaining the relationship during separation is crucial for children’s wellbeing and health,” UConn’s CT Children with Incarcerated Parents Initiative Manager Aileen Keays said. “We also think for the public as it also demonstrates to reduce recidivism if you can maintain family connections during the separation.”
NBC CT -
Symposium Explores Solutions for Criminal Justice System
The problems facing the criminal justice system, including mental health issues and money bail, were discussed at a recent symposium, "Criminal Legal System at a Crossroads." The keynote speaker, James Bianco, a judge of the Superior Court in California, focused on mental health in criminal justice and the benefits of collaborating with mental health professionals in the courtroom. The first panel also focused on mental health services in the criminal justice system, while the other panels discussed reforms in the criminal justice system, including juvenile justice and pretrial justice. The symposium was organized by the Connecticut Sentencing Commission and co-sponsored by the Center on Community Safety, Policing and Inequality at the UConn School of Law.
UConn Today - November 25, 2022
New Jersey mostly got rid of cash bail. Why hasn’t Connecticut?
The Connecticut Criminal Justice Commission Chair and Supreme Court Justice, Andrew McDonald, highlighted the negative consequences of the state's money bail system. He pointed out two recent cases to show the discrepancy between the public's perception of how bond recommendations are made and how they are actually determined. The consequences of the money bail system have in some cases led to individuals being incarcerated for years because they cannot afford to post bail. New Jersey abolished its money bail system and saw a decrease in the number of individuals held in jail.
CT Mirror - August 7, 2022
The problem of cash bail in CT: ‘They just cannot claw their way out’
There are 450 people in Connecticut who, like Conquistador, are being held on bail between $20,000 and $50,000 while they await their trial. If they post bail, they can fight their case from outside jail. If not, they will remain in jail until the resolution of their case.
CT Mirror - July 31, 2022
Legislation would examine Connecticut inmates’ growing mental health crisis
In Connecticut's prisons, there are inmates who are facing both detention and mental health challenges. Some have experienced a decline in their mental well-being while incarcerated, while others had mental health difficulties prior to their imprisonment.
WSHU - February 14, 2022