ACLU, commissioner seek to put state prison reforms into law

HARTFORD — Civil libertarians are working with the state’s Department of Correction commissioner to put into state law changes he has made to greatly reduce the number of inmates in administrative segregation, commonly known as solitary confinement.

Connecticut’s ACLU chapter and Commissioner Scott Semple want to ensure such policies remain in place for future administrations, a move that concerns some correctional officers.

Legislation being crafted for the General Assembly to consider would cap the number of days inmates can be placed in administrative segregation. It would also restrict such housing for inmates with mental illness and developmental disabilities, among other changes.

Union leaders representing correctional officers say they’re worried by a potentially permanent push to remove what they consider an important tool for handling problematic inmates.

Lawmakers return to work Jan. 4.