Northern Correctional Institution, Connecticut’s first supermax prison, closed Friday morning, three weeks earlier than anticipated

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The Northern Correctional Institution has officially closed Friday morning, three weeks earlier than anticipated when Gov. Lamont announced the shutdown in February.

Over the last year, the facility didn’t hold any more than 100 imprisoned individuals, and about 3,400 people around the state have been released from incarceration in the last 15 months, a news release said. Connecticut is seeing its lowest total incarceration population at 9,000 compared to the states all-time high in February 2008 when it nearly topped 19,900 individuals.

The correctional institution was initially set to close by July 1.

“New prison admissions in Connecticut have declined significantly over the last decade and the incarcerated population is currently at a 32-year low,” Lamont said. “This is even as violent, high-risk inmates are serving more of their original sentences than ever before. Spending millions of dollars annually to operate facilities for a population that continues to get smaller and smaller is not a good use of resources, especially as we work to reduce the cost structure of state government.”

The inmates and staff from the facility have been transferred to other locations around the state.

“There were a lot of moving parts that needed to be coordinated, and they were able to do so – during a pandemic – without negatively affecting the safety of the incarcerated population, their fellow staff members, or the public at large,” Correction Commissioner Angel Quiros said.

The state will save around $11.75 million in yearly operation costs following the closure.

The Northern Correctional Institution was opened in 1995. The most inmates it held was 510 individuals in 2003.

Jessika Harkay can be reached at jharkay@courant.com

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