Prison facility moving forward

Montville - The number of beds proposed for a sexual offender treatment facility being considered for the Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center property is back to 24.

Last week the Department of Correction announced it had chosen The Connection Inc. to open a 12-bed facility for prisoners nearing the completion of their sentences.

The same day, the state's Judicial Branch also accepted a bid from The Connection for the agency to oversee a 12-bed facility for offenders who had completed sentences and were working with the adult probation department.

The Connection currently operates the Cochegan House, a halfway house, on the state prison property, and since 1983 has worked with sexual offenders at various facilities statewide.

The two departments are currently negotiating a contract with The Connection - the only agency to bid on the proposal - with state officials hoping the facility would be opened after July 1.

The issue has rattled town officials and residents, who vehemently oppose the plan and have been working to defeat it.

"This doesn't change the sentiment of this community. The town of Montville - no, New London County - should not be the dumping ground for the rest of the state," Town Council Chairwoman Donna Jacobson said Tuesday evening.

The plan was originally proposed in 2008. At that time, it called for the two state entities to pool their resources - $2 million in total - and open a 24-bed facility with 12 beds apiece being overseen by the judicial branch and corrections department.

In January, that partnership appeared to have dissolved when state officials announced they had to circulate a new request for proposal, as the project had fallen victim to the state budget crisis.

On Tuesday, representatives from the state judicial branch court support services and DOC said the departments have returned to an original proposal to pool the state resources given to the two entities and work together to open a 24-bed facility.

The purpose of working together is to provide better services and management of a facility rather than spending the money to operate two separate facilities.

"We have the same goal," DOC Director of External Affairs Brian Garnett said Tuesday.

While state officials work on a contract, town officials and residents are organizing to continue to oppose the plan.

A petition against the proposal continues to circulate and a rally has been planned for May 1 to demonstrate the community's disdain for the proposal.

If you go:

What: A rally to protest the state plan to locate a sexual offender treatment facility on the Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center property on Norwich-New London Turnpike (Route 32)

When: May 1 from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.

Where: The property across the street from the correctional facility.


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