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Lamont’s pick for DOC ombudsman seeks to reassure critics

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont.
Molly Ingram
Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont.

Hilary Carpenter, Governor Ned Lamont’s pick for the newly created ombudsman job at the Connecticut Department of Correction, has tried to reassure skeptics she’ll be independent.

Carpenter said she understands why prisoner rights advocates are concerned that her years as a public defender would hinder her ability to serve as an independent ombudsman.

“I want to thank the advocates for highlighting the critical role that public defenders can play in deciding cases. And I hope that the office of the ombuds will be able to advocate for greater access to representation for Connecticut’s poor and disadvantaged communities so that these experiences are not repeated” she said at a press briefing called by prisoners rights groups on Tuesday.

Advocates are concerned that Carpenter was chosen for the job over civil rights attorney Ken Krayeske, who the advisory committee had recommended.

“I work with DOC on a regular basis calling them, meeting with them, and everything that I ask for is always a fight. So if you are not here to fight, you don't deserve this position," said Barbara Fair, a advisory committee member.

Lamont has said he chose Carpenter because her experience as a public defender would make her a strong advocate for the safety and rights of inmates and correctional staff.

Her appointment awaits confirmation in the House and Senate.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.