In the midst of passing massive gun control legislation in the Nutmeg state, Connecticut lawmakers plan on moving sick prison inmates to a nursing home in Rocky Hill. Although some Connecticut state legislators appear confident the inmates will not be a threat to the neighborhood, State Sen. John Kissel (R - Enfield) is not buying it.
"What if it was your mom or dad or grandparents in this nursing facility and one whole wing is dedicated towards prisoners?" Kissel told the CT Mirror in February. He added that the kinds of crimes the inmates were convicted of would make a difference. If there were 25 convicted murderers in a facility, he said, "I don't care how old they are, I would not feel good about it." :
Kissel said having a separate facility dedicated to parolees would cause fewer concerns, although he said 95 beds is a lot and could raise questions about location, staffing and security.
"I don't care if they're 80 years old," he said. "They're incarcerated for a reason."
Rep. Craig Miner, R-Litchfield, said it could make fiscal sense to have people with significant health issues receive care in lower-cost settings. The state currently spends just under $100 million on health care for prisoners, a figure that's drawn scrutiny from lawmakers.
But Miner said it will be critical for the plans to be clearly disclosed and explained so people understand what's happening in their communities.
"I try not to be an alarmist, but I do think there are a lot of reasons for concern and a lot of hope that if done the right way, it can save the state some money, allow us to, as Secretary [Benjamin] Barnes said, rebalance this asset of a nursing home in some other productive way, and not upset the community in which they exist," he said.
Miner likened the situation to group homes opening in communities. In some cases, it worked well, with no tension, while in other cases, it didn't go as well, the result, Miner said, of not having the communication to make neighbors understand what was happening.