This week CTLN Opinion+ had the opportunity to speak with Angel Quiros, Commissioner of the Department of Correction (DOC), for an informative discussion on criminal justice reform and some of the programs available to the youth in Connecticut.
Commissioner Angel Quiros’ main goal as commissioner of DOC is to continue the state’s progress by offering meaningful programming in correctional facilities that give people the tools they need to lead a successful life once they leave prison or jail. He also mentions how criminal justice reform has picked up momentum making available resources and structured programs to guide troubled youth.
We also spoke about how the COVID-19 pandemic created stressors for prisons, and how it raised major concerns for outbreaks, and the continuous need to keep everyone safe. Commissioner Quiros said stopping social visits was a tough decision to make but needed to prevent the spread and protect the community. He also recognized how this situation allowed him to initiate a non-contact visitation to connect families via video communication, creating a free-of-charge virtual social visit to Puerto Rico and across the U.S. However, this does not intend to replace face-to-face social visits. He states that in-person visits are essential to maintain that close contact with family members.
Lastly, we talked about the challenges prisons face. Commissioner Angel Quiros pointed out how staffing shortages across the nation have been an issue, plus how employees’ health has taken a toll because of the pandemic affecting many with medical issues.
Resources mentioned in the video:
Connecticut State Department of Correction Website: https://portal.ct.gov/DOC