PA 18-155—sSB 521
AN ACT CONCERNING THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION
SUMMARY: This act makes various changes in the statutes governing the Department of Correction (DOC). Principally, it:
1. requires the DOC commissioner, within available appropriations, to establish a wellness initiative for employees who interact with inmates at correctional facilities (§ 1);
2. makes the Criminal Justice Policy Advisory Commission (CJPAC), instead of the DOC commissioner, primarily responsible for quarterly reporting to the legislature about earned risk reduction credits awarded to reduce any inmate's sentence (§ 2);
3. requires the DOC commissioner or his designee, instead of the warden at the correctional facility from which an inmate will be released, to review the inmate's records and verify that the inmate earned any risk reduction credits being applied to reduce his or her sentence (§ 3);
4. allows, instead of requires, the DOC commissioner to approve the establishment and maintenance of an optical shop to produce prescription eyeglasses for inmates (§ 4);
5. adds benefit corporations to the entities that may purchase articles, materials, or products produced or manufactured by correctional institution industries (i.e., Correctional Enterprises of Connecticut) (§ 5);
6. eliminates the law, which was never implemented, that required the DOC commissioner to establish inmate discharge saving accounts and makes conforming changes (§§ 6-10); and
7. makes other minor, technical, and conforming changes.
EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2018
§ 1 — EMPLOYEE WELLNESS PROGRAM
The act requires the DOC commissioner, within available appropriations, to establish a wellness initiative for department employees who interact with inmates at correctional facilities. The initiative must include the following:
1. employee assistance and peer support programs,
2. stress management training and critical incident stress response,
3. military peer support,
4. an employee safety and health committee,
5. periodic wellness fairs, and
6. other programs that have demonstrated effectiveness in addressing the needs of employees who interact with inmates.
The commissioner or his designee may apply for federal, state, or private nonprofit funding to support and advance the initiative's objectives.
§ 2 — EARNED RISK REDUCTION CREDITS REPORT
Under the act, beginning by January 1, 2019, CJPAC must report quarterly to the General Assembly, after consulting with the DOC commissioner, on any earned risk reduction credits awarded to reduce an inmate's sentence. Under prior law, the commissioner was responsible for reporting this information after consulting with CJPAC. By law, the report includes (1) the number of inmates released early due to receiving credits, (2) the inmates' crimes, (3) the amount of credits received, and (4) recidivism data.