“Allie-Brennan votes to support correctional officers”
by Rep. Raghib Allie-Brennan
Last night I voted against a law that, among other things, limits solitary confinement. While I support the main principles of the bill, I have risen in the House to express my concerns about the lack of representation on the bill’s advisory council for our correctional officers.
There is not one explicitly designated seat for a correctional officer or correctional staff member. I find that unfair and unreasonable. If the purpose of the advisory committee is to inform future legislation and bring issues forward for consideration, all affected people should be represented. Without such inclusion, the recommendations of the advisory board will not reflect everyone affected by the legislation.
In Danbury we have a federal prison and in Newtown we have a state prison. Many correctional officers who serve these facilities live in my district and have been in contact with me regarding safety issues and a disconnect regarding their voices and the legislative process surrounding this bill.
The decision not to vote for this bill was difficult. I support limiting the use of segregation and greater oversight from the Department of Corrections, but not giving our correctional officers a seat at the table and a voice in the room is something that I can’t overcome.
Unfortunately, and with great regret, I voted against this bill in the hope that we can find a way to ensure that the voices of correctional officers and staff are heard in the process. Following my remarks on the floor, the member of the judiciary undertook to find a vehicle in the last days of session to rectify the problem and to ensure that the voice of officers and corrections staff is reflected in the draft of law.
State Representative Raghib Allie-Brennan represents the 2nd District, which includes parts of Bethel, Redding, Newtown and Danbury.