Opinion | ‘We Need to Change the Way Our Prisons Are Run’

To the Editor:

Re “Harassment, Humiliation and Terror” (front page, Nov. 18):

After working in Connecticut maximum-security prisons for 20 years, I find that the story of how women are treated in our federal prisons is very familiar.

There are many problems with our prison system, but the model of punishment and subjugation of prisoners spills out into the way they then treat staff members. We need to change the way our prisons are run.

Treatment, education and a focus on return to the community need to be the new model, not just locking people in cages. Recidivism rates are high, and this is largely because people are not provided the resources while incarcerated to improve their behavior.

Women play a critical role in prisons. Women are more successful at de-escalating situations and understand the loss of being away from family. They bring more compassion and empathy to the correctional environment. The men in charge often marginalize women, especially when they try to change things for the better.

The bipartisan criminal justice bill to reform our system is completely inadequate; we need change to be truly transformational if we want to have a better correctional system.

Eileen Redden
South Windsor, Conn.

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