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Connecticut to Shutter Another Prison

Harriet Jones
The York annex sits on a 558-acre campus in Niantic.
It's not yet clear what will happen to the building, but it's possible it could be demolished in the future.

Credit Harriet Jones / WNPR
Gov. Dannel Malloy makes the announcement at the York Annex with Commissioner of the Department of Corrections Scott Semple.

The state of Connecticut is to close an annex to the York Correctional Institution, the fifth prison closure in recent years. 

The York prison itself is the state’s only women’s facility, but the annex in Niantic houses male prisoners.

The last few inmates will be transferred elsewhere by this weekend as the unit is shuttered. Governor Dannel Malloy visited the facility to announce the closure.

"This is the direct result of the lowest prison population in nearly 20 years, and the lowest crime rate in nearly 50 years," said the governor. "We have far fewer people entering prison today than at any time in the last quarter century."

Malloy said the state has seen a 23 percent drop in the prison population over the last eight years.

Credit Harriet Jones / WNPR
A mural at the annex shows another, previously shuttered institution, JB Gates.

The governor has met with many inmates in recent months as he continues the implementation of his "Second Chance Society" initiative.

"And they all say the same thing: that they do not want to spend their lives in a cycle of crime, prison and poverty," he said. "But they need the tools that will help them succeed, and we are doing our best to provide those tools in a way that will allow these individuals to live out their dreams."

The York annex at one time housed almost 600 inmates. They were transferred to the unit because of a previous closure - that of J.B. Gates Correctional Institution, which sits on the same Niantic campus.

It's not yet clear what will happen to the building, but it's possible it could be demolished in the future. The closure of the annex is slated to save $7.6 million a year, but that number won’t include layoffs — the staff are all being transferred to other work.

The other prisons closed in recent years are Webster Correctional in Cheshire, Bergin in Mansfield, which is in the process of being reused by UConn, and a unit at Bridgeport Correctional Center.

Harriet Jones is Managing Editor for Connecticut Public Radio, overseeing the coverage of daily stories from our busy newsroom.

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