Published May 01. 2010 4:00AM
In July 2007 the General Assembly approved a criminal-justice reform bill with overwhelming support.
Contained in that bill was a provision mandating that the Department of Correction and the Judicial Branch both contract for 12-bed residential sex-offender treatment facilities. The DOC facility would serve as a pre-release program to prepare convicts for return to the community. The judicial facility would house sex offenders already in its probation program.
The idea seemed sound. Pre-release counseling, job programs and the like should improve the odds of an ex-convict safely and successfully re-entering society. A probation facility is a better setting for offenders still considered too much of a risk to return to a home.
Flash forward to 2010: The two facilities have become a single, 24-bed residential center ready to land in Montville. The one bidder, the nonprofit The Connection Inc., wants to operate it where it already has a halfway house - on the prison property off Route 32.
Montville officials and many residents say they don't want it. They have a legitimate beef.
The town is already home to the Corrigan-Radowski Correctional Center, as well as the existing Cochegan House, the halfway house that largely caters to drug offenders. It is fair for town officials to demand that some other community does its share.
In a meeting Friday, correction and judicial officials assured town officials that those running the program would closely monitor clients, transport them to off-site work release jobs and return the ex-offenders to towns of origin when released.
And they said negotiations with The Connection could lead to the facility going elsewhere.
It should, though we're not optimistic it will. Some communities get no respect. The people of Montville should demand it, beginning with a protest planned for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. today across from the prison on Route 32.