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Press Release – Willard Prison Closure

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, January 24th, 2023

Contact:  

Yonah Zeitz, yonah@katalcenter.org | (347) 201-2768

Follow on Twitter @KatalCenter | #CutShutInvestCT

Following A Decade-Long Decline in the States Correction Population, and Under Pressure from Community Groups, Governor Lamont Announces the Closure of the Willard Correctional Institutional 

Hartford, CT – Today, in the face of continuing demands from community groups to shut down prisons in Connecticut, Governor Ned Lamont announced plans to close Willard Correctional Institution on April 1, 2023. Over the last decade, community groups and advocates have pushed for decarceration, and the prison population has declined by nearly 45%. During this same period, there was also a 43% reduction in violent crime in Connecticut. This closure will save taxpayers in Connecticut at least $6.5 million annually. 

Statement from Lorenzo Jones, Co-Executive Director, Katal Center for Equity, Health, and Justice.

“Closing the Willard Correctional Facility is the right thing to do. Willard is the third prison to be shut down in the last two years, and this is a testament to decades of organizing in Connecticut to end mass incarceration. At the Katal Center, our membership has organized to cut the correctional population, shut down prisons, and win investments in real community safety – housing, health care, education, jobs. So it’s good to see Lamont announcing a prison closure, but it’s not enough. Lamont needs to take the necessary next steps here. First, the savings from this prison closure must be invested in the Black, Brown, and low-income communities most harmed by criminalization and mass incarceration in our state. Second, Connecticut’s prison population has decreased by 5,000 people in the last five years, yet the size of the Department of Corrections has remained relatively constant.  The DOC remains one of the largest departments in the state, with more staff than the Department of Transportation. Lamont should cut the size of the Dept of Corrections and shutter more prisons. Every day, Katal organizers are talking with Connecticut residents, and every day, we hear the same thing: communities want investments in the things that produce real safety – housing, health care, education, jobs. Now is the time for sustained action to end our reliance on incarceration and advance racial justice in Connecticut.” 

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