ACLU & CT State Reach Settlement in Lawsuit Regarding COVID-19 Protections in State Prisons; Officials Comment

Report by Paula Antolini, June 11, 2020, 8:30AM EDT

Locations of CT State Prisons.

A lawsuit was settled on Sunday between CT State and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Connecticut regarding a lawsuit filed in April to protect state prisoners from the coronavirus.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 coronavirus in prisoners, the settlement states that the state must now follow specific procedures.

The ACLU originally wanted the widespread release of prisoners but lawyers for the state deemed that danger to public safety. No prisoners will be released according to the new agreement.

Governor Lamont, Attorney General Tong, Correction Commissioner Cook Statements on Agreement With ACLU

(HARTFORD, CT) – June 7, 2020 – Governor Ned Lamont, Attorney General William Tong, and Department of Correction Commissioner Rollin Cook today released the following statements regarding a settlement agreement reached with the ACLU of Connecticut to resolve a lawsuit regarding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the state’s correctional facilities:

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Governor Lamont said, “This settlement affirms the approach that the Department of Correction has been taking since the beginning of this pandemic. The department will continue to act in this responsible manner as identified by the court and by this settlement.”

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Attorney General Tong said, “We are pleased the parties were able to work together to resolve these difficult issues collaboratively and with the best interests of all involved.”

Commissioner Cook said, “I am pleased about the agreement. Both parties came to the table with mutual interest in codifying practices that best protect people who are incarcerated and the dedicated employees that care for them. Unity and collaboration will always prevail. Today is an example of that. This has been an unprecedented time in our country and I am most proud of how our staff and leaders have selflessly performed their essential duties to ensure the health and safety of those entrusted to our care. Their courageous efforts have saved lives and positively impacted our entire community. In fact, I believe Connecticut will be viewed as the balanced, compassionate and collaborative example to follow during such crisis in the future.”

The agreement is pending approval from a federal judge.