DCF Facility's Construction Led to Rowland Corruption Probe
The Juvenile Training School wasn't working. It was costing taxpayers a whopping $500,000 per child per year, and it still wasn't working. It was poorly built, too large and there weren't enough staff to properly supervise the 89 boys who lived there. So Gov. Rell made an easy decision: shut it down by 2008.
In a sense, she's also closing the door on another chapter of the Rowland scandal, further distancing herself from the administration she was theoretically part of for ten years. The Training School was one of the Rowland administration's biggest projects, which, in an administration that was known for constantly launching or proposing big-ticket projects, is saying something. The contracts were awarded through a very suspect process to the Tomasso Group, which had strong political ties to Rowland. The feds eventually caught on, and the investigation that would bring down the governor and his pals began.
It's been clear since that CJTS was never really intended to help kids, but to help Rowland's friends get richer. It's good that it's being shut down. It should be plowed into the ground, but instead it may find new life as offices for other state departments. Pity the poor saps who will have to work there.
In the meantime, DCF's problems continue. Rell has plans for two smaller juvenile facilities, which is in step with national trends and practices, but bricks and mortar, while a good start, won't entirely salvage a sinking department. There simply aren't enough competent staff members in DCF, and leadership has been sorely lacking there. Perhaps the entire department ought to be closed down, as well, and rebuilt as something that works.
Poitras, Colin. "Rell Closing Boys' Prison." Hartford Courant 2 August, 2005.