126 layoffs in Judicial Dept., more to follow, courthouses to close

- FILE - Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy (WTNH / Mark Davis)


HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Employees in the state Judicial Department getting the pink slips today across the state as the big down-size of the state payroll continues for the fourth day. Over 400 layoffs of state workers have been either slated or actually made in other state agencies since last Friday. Today, it’s the courts and the planned closing of some courthouses.

126 employees in the Judicial Branch of state government have gotten their notice as of 3 p.m., mostly in the Juvenile Detention area. More are likely. The wheels of justice generally move pretty slowly, but those wheels are likely to be moving even slower starting next month as the Judicial Department reacts to the expected cutbacks in its budget because of the state’s looming billion dollar deficit.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Chase Rogers told employees in a mass e-mail; “We are currently developing plans to close courthouses and offices. We will be realigning and transferring the court business being conducted in some court locations to other court locations.”

The Governor, who was touring the new Amazon warehouse in Windsor today, said that the state-wide court backlog of civil and criminal cases has been greatly reduced, especially because of the decriminalization of marijuana.

“We have made the system substantially more effective, so this may be the right time to make some of the adjustments that can be made,” said Malloy.

Earlier this week, more than 100 state employees were let go at the Juvenile Training School in Middletown. Unlike in the judicial department where they’re getting a month’s notice, employees here were terminated immediately and walked out the door. Like Erica Johnson, a veteran teacher with the Department of Children and Families who worked with this most difficult population for the past two years.

“I was walking out with one of the clinicians and one of the boys I was most concerned about, and have a very good relationship with, had already been taken our and hospitalized because he couldn’t handle the changes,” said Johnson.

“I think that there’s a tremendous opportunity to mitigate layoffs this year and even into next year if those discussions were to evolve but they have not evolved.”

The Chief Court Administrator says the branch may no longer be able to staff the 24-hour lock ups in New Haven and Hartford and will be reducing alternative to incarceration programs.

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