State Senator Will Haskell, whose district includes Redding and Ridgefield is a new member of the Judiciary Committee. He plans to tour prisons during his term, and started with Manson Youth Institution which house around 450 young people,ranging in age from 15 to 21.
Haskell said in some ways it’s a school building filled with teachers, a library and a cafeteria. In other ways, it couldn’t be more different. He noted that the young people who had made mistakes are trying to rebuild their lives through education and work experience.
Manson used to have professionals meet with each inmate in the months prior to release and prepare them for the outside world, but the numbers have been cut due to budget constraints. Haskell learned that around 40% of inmates walk out of prison without any ID, making it hard to get a job or housing. One corrections officer said if money were no object, she'd like to see a driving school established so teens can thrive once they're released. He says that could help reduce recidivism.