Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Prison Information Presented to Bacchiochi, Others

Prison Information Presented to Bacchiochi, Others
Bipartisan group reviewing information about assaults on staff, inmates

A panel assembled to consider concerns over workplace safety in prisons throughout the state pored over data Wednesday morning provided by the Department of Correction.

The bi-partisan Prison Safety Task Force was formed this summer after assaults on correction officers in prisons raised concerns about the safety of men and women employed in state facilities.

Rep. Penny Bacchiochi, a member of the legislature’s Public Safety Committee, is among the Republicans on the panel. Rep. Ray Kalinowski joined her at the Capitol session.

With an organizational meeting under its belt already, the panel began in earnest to review statistics considered vital to figuring out how to safeguard prison employees.

Bacchiochi and Kalinowski took notes regarding the number of times staffers reported assaults by inmates as well as details about prisoners harming each other.

The committee also learned about the reporting process.

The task force is expected to eventually draw up short and long term legislative solutions.

It was an inmate stabbing an officer in the neck with a homemade shank this summer that prompted legislators to take a deeper look at what’s happening behind prison walls.

“Today was the launching point in an effort to better protect people who risk their lives performing jobs that, for the most part, go unheralded by the general public,” Bacchiochi said.

The task force will meet again Oct. 21.

Bacchiochi represents the 52nd General Assembly District covering Somers, Union and Stafford.

Kalinowski, R-100, is a ranking member of the Public Safety Committee.

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