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PNS Daily Newscast - April 14, 2021 


As Maryland repeals its police bill of rights, some say reforms fall short; and the latest on how states are dealing with COVID and vaccines.


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Biden expected to announce full withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11; his administration says Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccines made up less than 5% of shots given; and White House proclaims Black Maternal Health Week.

Could Prison-Closure Funds Be Used to Expand Re-Entry Services?

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Connecticut will save about $12.6 million a year after closing Northern Correctional Institution in Somers this summer. (Adobe Stock)
Connecticut will save about $12.6 million a year after closing Northern Correctional Institution in Somers this summer. (Adobe Stock)
 By Michayla Savitt, Public News Service - CT - Producer, Contact
April 7, 2021

HARTFORD, Conn. - Connecticut health workers and their allies are pushing for greater equity and investment in health services. They're backing legislation in the General Assembly that would, in part, fund reentry programs for people getting out of prison.

Senate Bill 287 would reinvest money from the Northern Correctional Institution, which is closing July 1, into services and programs to reduce recidivism.

Indria Mitto, a discharge planner at Osborn Correctional Institute, said she sees the benefits of health services and re-entry programs firsthand, and is a strong proponent of the bill.

"Preparing these people from the inside, prior to them getting out, and then having a program to continue that, is a major success," she said. "It should be about a change, and trying to change an individual to a better human being."

Mitto said data she's gathered through her position shows the recidivism rate is only 10% for people who are part of a re-entry program connecting them to education, mental-health services, housing and employment assistance. According to the Connecticut Department of Corrections, people who attend a substance-abuse program after their release also are far less likely to be arrested again.

Mitto was also among Connecticut health-care workers who took part in Tuesday's "March for a Moral Budget" in Hartford, to demand that Gov. Ned Lamont include critical health services in the state budget. She said it's another step in creating a more equitable future for all Connecticut residents.

"When you win one battle, you just have to tackle the next battle," she said, "and until we can get a complete reform - which I don't see that happening any time soon - we just have to keep chipping away at that block of ice."

Rallygoers called for $20 million in state funding to expand the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services to increase mobile crisis, addiction treatment and housing. The Joint Favorable deadline for the Judiciary Committee on SB 287 is this Friday.

Citation: Mitto testimony
Citation: SB 287
Citation: Recidivism info
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