Conn. prison to close by end of year

Radgowski is one of three state correctional facilities marked for closure in the 2022-23 state budget


By Sten Spinella
The Day, New London, Conn.
        
MONTVILLE, Conn. — Gov. Ned Lamont announced Wednesday afternoon that Radgowski Correctional Center, one of two buildings in the Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center on Route 32, will be closed by the end of the year.

Radgowski is one of three state correctional facilities marked for closure in the 2022-23 state budget. The Corrigan Correctional Center will remain in operation.

According to a news release from Lamont's office, the state will save more than $7 million annually by closing Radgowski.

"The decision to include the closures as part of the state budget is largely attributed to the significant drop in the state's incarcerated population, which has decreased by more than 3,200 individuals over the last 17 months," the release reads. "The total population among all state-operated correctional facilities currently stands at about 9,200 individuals, which is substantially down from the all-time high of 19,894 in February 2008."

There are currently slightly more than 100 people incarcerated at Radgowski, a medium-security facility for men which opened in 1991. The center's highest population was 734 in 2014.

"Connecticut's incarcerated population has been steadily declining for more than a decade and is now at a 32-year low, even as those identified as being more high-risk are serving more of their original sentences than ever before," Lamont said. "Spending millions of dollars in annual operating costs on buildings that have historically low numbers of incarcerated individuals inside is just not a good use of resources. By relocating them to other facilities that have available capacity, we can deliver on our administration's goal of reducing the cost structure of state government."

Ahead of the Dec. 31 closure, the state Department of Correction will be moving the inmate population "to appropriate facilities within the state's correctional system," the release reads. The department will also be working with staff "to redeploy them to other facilities that are within close proximity." Some will be reassigned to Corrigan.

Department Commissioner Angel Quiros said in the release that such closures are an extremely complex process, but "I am confident that we will be able to successfully close this facility ... in a well-planned, methodical manner while preserving jobs and continuing to protect the public's safety."

The Corrigan building is named after Raymond L. Corrigan, who at his death in February 1983 had culminated a 14-year career with the Department of Correction by attaining the position of chief of engineering services.

Corrigan opened on Dec. 30, 1994, as a high-security facility.

Radgowski was named after former State Rep. Stanley J. Radgowski Sr., who ran the commissary at the prison — what used to be the Montville Correctional Center — for the last 10 years of his life.

The state Department of Correction had to find a new name for what was the Montville Correctional Center, opened in 1957, because of an agreement it struck with the town. Before building the replacement for the existing prison, the department agreed not to name it after Montville. Everyone forgot about the agreement, The Day reported in 1991, and when the $15-million building was dedicated in December 1990, it had a sign with the words, "Montville Correctional Center," which was promptly changed.

(c)2021 The Day (New London, Conn.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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