HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – While lawmakers gathered inside the Capitol on Wednesday, dozens of advocates gathered outside.
They are urging lawmakers to take action on a bill that Governor Ned Lamont has vetoed in this session.
Advocates want Lamont to reverse course on a bill he vetoed, which they say he told them he would support.
Advocated with Stop Solitary Connecticut say they are shocked Lamont vetoed a bill he appeared to support.
“He said, ‘Oh, I have no problem with it,’” said Barbara Fair, Lead Organizer of Stop Solitary Connecticut.
The Protect Act would have limited solitary confinement and made other changes to benefit inmates at the Department of Correction. It passed this session with bipartisan supported, but was then vetoed by Lamont.
“DOC had come out that same day with their same story about this is necessary what we’re doing. Their same story, this is all about public safety. Because of that, we believed he caved into DOC and took them as the expert on this issued and decided he didn’t need to do anything,” Fair told News 8.
Lamont says he supports the purposed of the bill and signed an executive order urging DOC staff to increase out-of-cell time inmates. His veto message read in part, “I am not signing this legislation because, as written, it puts the safety of incarcerated persons and correction employees at substantial risk.”
But advocates for Stop Solitary CT who gathered at the Capitol on Wednesday, at the same time lawmakers were in special session, say his order falls short.
“The order right now is calling for two hours of out-of-cell time. Our bill is advocating for six and a half hours. Two and a half is not enough time for healthy socialization. It is not enough time to do any programming, do your hygiene, contact your family, it’s not enough time to do anything,” said Keynesha Boyd, Board Member of Stop Solitary CT.
Advocates say the governor’s order has major loopholes, places no limits on abusive restrains, fails to provide enough DOC oversight, and doesn’t help inmates maintain bond with loved ones.
At least one Democratic lawmakers in attendance says he will continue pushing this issue.