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Old 07-31-2003, 06:00 AM
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Default Our Response to CT DOC Editorial on Transferring Inmates

This was in the Hartford Courant, 7/31/03

Commissioner Lantz justifies prisoner transfers by suggesting that the Department of Correction should be run more like a business and, as a business, should benefit from the cost savings of outsourcing. She gives a token nod to the safety of the general public. But let's face it, this decision is all about the money.

Lantz (and her boss, Gov. John G. Rowland) are focusing on the hard costs (the ones immediately visible on paper) and not considering the soft costs (these are harder to determine but must be considered in effectively evaluating any business decision).

There are many hidden costs, such as transportation and security during transfers, loss of state jobs and resultant unemployment costs and the very real potential for litigation from inmates or their families. Why are costs so much lower in other states? By selling our prisoners to the lowest bidder, what are we giving away?

Lantz speaks of "outsourcing inmates" as if they are paper clips or the payroll department. The reality is that we are not just talking about 2,000 prisoners. We are talking about 2,000 Connecticut families - wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, husbands, fathers, sons and brothers who will be affected by these transfers. Is there no concern for these innocent residents - families who will be devastated by this so-called cost saving measure?

Connecticut already has a problem with recidivism. Transferred prisoners are more likely to offend again. Prisoners with no family support network are less likely to rehabilitate themselves.

Only 30 percent of Connecticut prisoners are violent offenders, which means that most of them will soon be in our communities. Instead of shuffling them out of state, shouldn't we be keeping them here and giving them the tools they need to make it on the outside?

Joanna Ferris


The writer is director of the Connecticut chapter of Making The Walls Transparent, an advocacy group that focuses on reforms in the correction system.
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Old 07-31-2003, 07:22 AM
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This is a wonderfully written and effective article! Great...
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