Gov. visits York Correctional, inmate says new program helps her anger

York Correctional Institution in Niantic.

NIANTIC, Conn. (WTNH) — The Department of Correction just launched a new re-integration program at the York Prison in Niantic, aiming to reduce their inmate return rate.

With the local reporters circled around them, each inmate told Governor Dannel Malloy what they believe they need to succeed.

“I know intellectually why I’m here. I self destruct. I need somebody to tell me how not to do that anymore,” said Amy Gully of Danbury, who also said she battles addiction.

“This program is going to help me so much with my anger,” said Damaris Torres of New Haven.

Torres got her first taste of prison when she was a teenager.

“I’ve been here when I was very young when I was 16 and 19-years-old. I only did 2 weeks, 45 days,” said Torres.

Then, 20 years later, she came back when she attacked her boyfriend.

“He cheated on me and I lost it and I went crazy and I did something stupid that I regret everyday. I live with it every single day,” said Torres.

Governor Malloy says there are more female repeat offenders than male in the state. They are hoping this re-integration program at York will combat this. They can serve 60 women and it provides them with therapy, education, and faith. There are tools to help them when they get out.

“So what I’m trying to do is that we have smart policy regardless of what our financial circumstances are,” said Governor Dannel Malloy.

State leaders say it’s not costing the state additional tax dollars. Right now, it costs the state on average $120 per person per day to be behind bars. That’s $700 million a year.

The Commissioner of the Department of Correction Scott Semple says these low security units are cheaper than high security lock ups because they rely on volunteers for the programs. Inmates have to apply, interview, and show they’re motivated to succeed.

“It’s important that the warden or the review board be convinced that this person is actually going to contribute to the success of the other people in the program. What you don’t want is to put a person in this program that’s not going to contribute,” said Malloy.

“I am a strong woman and I made it through and I can honestly say maybe God had a plan for me. Maybe he put me through this experience to become a better person,” said Torres.

“I want to be somebody I don’t want to turn around and say, ‘Wow. I came to jail and did not do anything.”

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