June 18, 2012

Feared Montville sex offender facility off to quiet start

6-18-2012 Connecticut:

Montville, Conn. — Months after plans for a sexual offender rehabilitation facility in Montville were met with a firestorm of protests and outrage, the January Center has quietly filled most of its 24 beds with sex offenders.

Located on the grounds of the Corrigan Radgowski Correctional Center at 984 Norwich-New London Turnpike in Uncasville, the facility, as of Friday, housed a mix of 22 offenders, convicted of everything from first-degree to fourth-degree sexual assault.

At present, according to the state’s sexual offender registry, 12 of the offenders were convicted of first-degree sexual assault, and half of those involved assault of a child younger than 13. One man is listed as “non-compliant” because he hasn’t verified his address.

Offenders are treated at January House after they undergo a risk assessment and serve their prison sentence and before they are released into the community. The January House is operated by the nonprofit Connection Inc.

Montville Mayor Ron McDaniel, elected after the placement of the facility was assured, said only that “it’s been very, very quiet.”

Town keeping track

McDaniel said the town is well-informed about who is housed at January House and what they have done. A detective with the Montville Police Department maintains a file on each convict.

Resident Trooper Sgt. Troy Gelinas said people have already come and gone from the facility without issues. Procedures are in place should a security issue arise, much as there are at the prison, he said.

“Luckily, they haven’t had to use them,” Gelinas said.

While Department of Correction spokesman Brian Garnett said there have been no major issues, some Montville residents are still leery of the facility.

Former Town Councilor Ellen Hillman said, despite the assurances, she is skeptical that treatment even works and that citizens are safe.

“We have reason to be mistrusting,” Hillman said. “We were promised they wouldn’t be the worst of the worst, but just look at who is there. If you’ve been a violent sex offender and incarcerated for 25 years, what’s your first thought when you get out? To me, it doesn’t matter where you put it ... the program can’t work. I just think it’s a matter of time.”

The placement of the facility in Montville stems from a 2008 law mandating that the Department of Correction and judicial branch establish such a facility. The law was an attempt to address the period after release from prison when offenders are more likely to re-offend.

One side effect of the placement is to boost the number of sex offenders in town to 39 — 22 of whom are living at the January Center.

“The Department of Correction pledged to the people of Montville that they would not suffer any ill effects from this facility,” Garnett said. “We have fulfilled that promise and will continue to do so.” ..Source.. by GREG SMITH, The Bulletin

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