Governor Lamont Announces Plans to Close the Willard Correctional Institution
From: Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont
January 25, 2023
Hartford, CT – Governor Ned Lamont on Jan 24th, announced that his administration has developed plans with the leadership of the Connecticut Department of Correction to close the Willard Correctional Institution in Enfield by April 1, 2023.
The decision to close the facility is attributed to the sustained decrease in the state’s correction population over the last decade, as well as a continued commitment to operate government more cost-effectively. Closing the facility will save taxpayers approximately $6.5 million in annual operating costs and focus correction resources more efficiently on the current population.
From 2012 to 2022, the state’s correction population decreased 44%. Over approximately the same period, Connecticut’s violent crime rate fell by 43% and its property crime rate dropped 29%. In the most recent year of available data, Connecticut’s violent crime rate was less than half the U.S. rate.
“Because spending millions annually to operate facilities for a population that is significantly smaller than just a few years ago is not a good use of taxpayer money, Connecticut is continuing to right-size its correction system to concentrate resources more effectively,” Governor Lamont said. “I applaud Commissioner Quiros, along with all of the correctional professionals at the Department of Correction, for their tireless efforts to keep the facilities secure and our communities safe.”
The Willard facility opened in 1990 as a level 2 facility for sentenced male offenders. On Jan 24th, there are approximately 260 individuals at the facility. Over the coming weeks, its remaining population will be methodically transferred to other appropriate facilities within the state’s correctional system. Safety and security will remain the primary consideration of the Department of Correction when deciding where the population will be moved.
Approximately 71 correctional professionals consisting of a variety of job duties currently staff the facility. Its closure will result in no layoffs. Over the coming months, the Department of Correction will work closely with these staff members and their union representatives to redeploy them to other facilities located in close proximity to the Willard facility. This will help to reduce overtime expenses in other facilities and fill vacant positions.
“There is a great deal of work that goes into closing a correctional facility,” Department of Correction Commissioner Angel Quiros said. “From the staff to the incarcerated population, there are a lot of moving parts. Thanks to the professionalism of our staff, I have no doubt that the job will get done in a methodical and seamless manner, just as we did with the Radgowski and Northern facilities.”
Willard Correctional Institution will join several other correctional facilities in the state that have closed in recent years as the incarcerated population has declined. The most recent closures include the Radgowski Correctional Center in October of 2021, and the Northern Correctional Institution in June of 2021.