Safety concerns inside CT prisons

Hartford (WTNH) _ News Channel 8 has new information on the prison brawl between two death row inmates and the security concerns it raises.

The prison complex called Northern in Somers is the most secure place in the state prison system. It’s a maximum security facility where death row inmates are held in isolated cells for most of the day.

Sources tell News Channel 8 that inmate Daniel Webb was returning from a shower and stood in front of Russell Peeler’s cell door instead of his own. The source says a guard saw him at the door, apparently assuming the correct door, and pushed the button that opened the door to Peeler’s cell. Webb went in, they both came out and Webb started beating Peeler.

State police are downplaying the incident, calling it a minor fist fight. Peeler was taken to Johnson-Memorial Hospital where his injuries were determined to be non-life threatening. He was released from the hospital today, one day after the fight.

The incident at Northern came just a day after inmate Kevin Cales was beaten to death at the McDougall-Walker prison in nearby Suffield.

Both facilities are in state senator John Kissel’s District (R-Enfield).

“I think that it’s either a freaky coincidence that they took place on the heels of one another…or that there’s some issues within each of these facilities. I think it definitely raises concerns regarding safety and security for the corrections officers in the facilities,” Kissel said.

The brother and the uncle of the two victims of Russell Peeler voiced their concerns to News Channel 8 about how the Department of Correction handles death row inmates.

“The only thing I don’t understand is…given the situation with people on death row they should not have had contact with anybody else,” said Oswell Clark, the brother of murder victim, Karen Clark.

Our sources say that death row inmates seem to be out of their isolation cells much more than the public has been led to believe and are out without restraints or a prison guard.

source: http://www.wtnh.com/global/story.asp?s=8331685

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