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Connecticut senators address dangerous working conditions at Danbury prison

The Danbury Federal Correctional Institution
AP Photo/Douglas Healey
The Danbury Federal Correctional Institution

Connecticut’s two U.S. Senators, Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, visited the Danbury Federal prison on Wednesday.

They were responding to a range of complaints that include a shortage of correctional officers and lack of attention to the state’s coronavirus guidelines.

Murphy said they were denied access to the women’s facility and had to fight for access to the men’s detention center. He said it’s unacceptable considering results from COVID-19 testing for inmates at the institution can take up to three days.

“There’s clearly a lack of seriousness about the staff that’s needed in order to deal with this emergency,” said Murphy. “Danbury has one of the highest positivity rates in the federal prison system, and we need more help here to make sure that we can keep this prison running safely.”

Shaun Boylan, the Executive Vice President of the Local 1661 prison union, said 13 of the just over 80 officers are out because of the coronavirus and others are working extensive hours.

“We need correctional officers,” Boylan said. “We need to be able to repair the facility and make it a safe and humane area.

Both senators have called on the Bureau of Prisons and the Department of Justice to address those problems.

Mike Lyle is a former reporter and host at WSHU.