Today, along with several veteran advocate organizations in the State, CVLC signed a letter urging Governor Ned Lamont to safely reduce the population of Connecticut’s prisons.
On April 1st, five prisoners in the Willard-Cybulski Correctional Institution tested positive for COVID-19. This outbreak in Connecticut’s only prison with a Veterans’ Services Unit necessitates a rapid response to stem the spread of the virus and safeguard public health by protecting incarcerated veterans and other prisoners from exposure to the virus.
The letter urges the Governor to include veterans among the targets for release for three reasons: 1) veterans are likely to fall into groups at high risk from COVID-19; 2) veterans have access to existing community support networks; and 3) many incarcerated veterans and especially those at Willard-Cybulski CI fall into one or both of those categories.
Rapid collaboration between the Department of Correction, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Department of Housing will prove vital to curbing the spread of the virus in Connecticut’s prisons. They must identify housing placements for people released through the above mechanisms that are safe for both prisoners and the community and adequately fund the creation and maintenance of such transitional housing.