Malloy supportive of Lamont’s pick for prisons chief

December 27, 2018

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Outgoing Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and members of his administration had high praise Thursday for Democratic Gov.-elect Ned Lamont’s nominee to lead the state’s prisons.

The Democratic Malloy, who made criminal justice reform a major focus during his eight-year tenure, told reporters that everything he has heard about former Utah Department of Corrections Executive Director Rollin Cook would indicate he’s “a good pick” for the job.

Cook will replace Malloy’s Department of Correction Commissioner Scott Semple, who said Cook’s philosophies on criminal justice and prison reform are “very much the same” as the Malloy administration’s thinking. Malloy has focused on heavily on the rehabilitation of inmates and their re-entry into society. At a meeting Thursday of the Criminal Justice Policy Advisory Committee, it was noted how such efforts have led to less violent crime and fewer young people behind bars during Malloy’s tenure.

Connecticut’s overall prison population, for example, has dropped from a peak of 19,894 in 2008 to 13,191 as of Thursday. Michael Lawlor, the state’s undersecretary for criminal justice policy, predicted the state is on track to see its prison population drop to 10,000 over the next two-to-four years.

“I think that we will continue to move the needle on criminal justice reform and correctional reform here in our state,” Semple said. “I’m very, very pleased that Rollin has agreed to come here.”

Semple said Cook has been “highly recruited around the country” since he stepped down from his job in Utah earlier this year.

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