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East Hartford, CT criminal defense attorney

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States, people across the country have been advocating for the release of some of the inmates in the prisons and jails across the country who are either unable to post bail or who do not pose a risk to the community or who have been incarcerated for low-level offenses. COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that spreads easily through respiratory droplets when people are in close contact with one another. Prison conditions make this an ideal environment for COVID-19 to run rampant among populations, making it a concern for many. According to the Marshall Project, there have been more than 102,000 COVID-19 cases among the prison population as of August 18. The pandemic affected every aspect of life, but it affected prison systems exceptionally so, with issues reaching into the Connecticut Department of Corrections.

Mental Health Services Have Suffered

One of the biggest issues that the prison system has faced during the pandemic has been figuring out how to manage the mental health needs of the current and incoming inmates while maintaining safety measures. Throughout the pandemic, mental health services available to inmates have been limited and routine elective outpatient psychotherapy was suspended for most inmates.


Hartford criminal defense lawyer coronavirus COVID-19The United States has quickly become the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the number of cases surpassing even China, the country where the virus originated. As of April 15, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that there were more than 600,000 cases in the U.S., with more than 24,000 related deaths. Because of the ability of the virus to spread so rapidly, states have been doing what they can to curb the spread. Recently, more individuals have become concerned with the prison population and how states are taking measures to protect inmates.

Problems With Prisons and COVID-19

The CDC has issued certain guidelines for people to follow to decrease their risk of contracting COVID-19, also known as coronavirus. These guidelines include social distancing, meaning keeping a distance of at least six feet between yourself and others, wearing cloth masks to reduce the likelihood of the virus spreading, and frequent and thorough hand washing with warm water and soap. In prison, many of these guidelines are impossible to adhere to. Because of this, the number of inmates and correctional workers who have tested positive for the virus is increasing. In Connecticut, there are currently 166 inmates and 104 staff members who have tested positive for the virus.

Connecticut Still Has No Official Plans for Inmate Release

In light of this, the state of Connecticut has still not released an official plan for inmate release. However, some inmates have been released from custody, according to information from Rollin Cook, the Department of Corrections commissioner. Cook stated that the inmate population in Connecticut has dipped below 12,000, the first time it has done so in 25 years. He also stated that the releases have not been mass releases, but releases have been limited to inmates who are elderly or have medical conditions that cause them to be considered high risk.


juvenile, Connecticut criminal defense attorneyAt the moment, there is just one prison in the entire state of Connecticut for juveniles who commit crimes that are not serious enough for the “adult” court system. That prison, however, is in the process of closing, leaving many wondering what will happen to the juveniles currently being held there and those who commit such offenses in the future.

Secure Facility

The Connecticut Juvenile Training School in Middletown is a high-security correctional facility designed to hold the most troubled boys in the state’s juvenile justice system. The juvenile delinquents committed to the center have not necessarily committed the worst crimes—those offenders are typically transferred to a standard or adult criminal court and prison system, as necessary. Instead, the boys are essentially the most in need of careful supervision, as many are dealing the effects of physical trauma, mental illness, drug abuse, and dysfunctional families.


mentally ill, Hartford criminal defense lawyerThe town of Preston, Connecticut, is home to a site popular among enthusiasts of the strange and paranormal. The crumbling remains of an asylum—most recently known as the Norwich State Hospital, but once called The Norwich Hospital for the Insane—have been used as a backdrop for haunted house reality television shows and as a project for paranormal investigators. Apart from being scary and disturbing, the abandoned asylum—which closed in 1996—begs an altogether different question. If asylums were once common throughout the country as a home or care facility for the mentally ill, what are we doing with such individuals now that most such facilities are closing? The answer, according to many, seems to be that we are simply holding them in different institutions now—institutions known as correctional facilities or prisons.

Staggering Estimates

According to data collected by the Treatment Advocacy Center (TAC), a nonprofit organization which helps the mentally ill get the treatment they need, the American prison system currently houses more inmates with severe mental illness than are in state psychiatric hospitals—and the numbers are not even close. The TAC reported that in 2012, more than 350,000 inmates with severe mental illness were incarcerated, but only about 35,000 severely mentally patients were under the care of state hospitals.

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