The Office of the Correction Ombuds will promote and advocate for the health, safety, welfare, and legal rights of individuals incarcerated within DOC facilities and/or on parole by investigating and mediating complaints of a systemic nature, examining conditions in DOC facilities, reviewing DOC policies and procedures, remaining informed about best practices in corrections, and by taking all possible actions to advance the interests of those in DOC custody.
The Office will also educate the Governor, legislature, other government agencies, and the public through periodic reports, recommendations, proposed legislative or regulatory reforms, and other communications.
In consultation with the Correction Advisory Committee, the Ombuds will establish the Office of the Correction Ombuds, hire and manage staff, and perform all ombuds services as set forth in Section 2(a)(2) of Public Act 22-18.
In this role you will be responsible for:
- Recruiting and hiring staff for the Office of the Correction Ombuds, including an Associate Correction Ombuds
- Overseeing the office, including training and management of staff and ensuring compliance with state and federal employment laws
- Developing and maintaining relationships with Correction Advisory Committee, Office of the Governor, Department of Correction, Office of Government Accountability, and Joint Committee on the Judiciary
- Preparing and submitting periodic reports to the Correction Advisory Committee summarizing activities of the Office of the Correction Ombuds, as required by statute and/or requested by the Correction Advisory Committee
- Preparing and submitting annual reports to the Joint Committee on the Judiciary regarding conditions of confinement in the state’s correctional facilities and halfway houses
- Establishing and maintaining a reporting system for the purpose of gathering and collecting data pertaining to the Department of Correction
- Developing procedures for receipt and investigation of complaints from incarcerated persons and their families or advocates concerning serious violations of rights and systemic issues within the Department of Correction
- Identifying trends and providing recommendations to the Department of Correction and Correction Advisory Committee concerning root causes of systemic complaints
- Keeping abreast of developments and best practices in corrections nationwide and internationally
- Working with the Department of Correction and Correction Advisory Committee to develop, implement, and amend regulations, administrative policies, and procedures to promote transparency, accountability, and fairness for incarcerated people
- Assisting incarcerated people and their families in advocating for reforms necessary to improve the wellbeing of incarcerated people
- Acting as an independent and confidential resource for incarcerated persons, their families, and Department of Correction staff, to resolve concerns and complaints
- Developing and delivering training programs on complaint resolution, conflict management, and communication skills for Correction staff and incarcerated persons
- Representing the Office of the Correction Ombuds at public meetings, forums, and conferences on issues related to prison conditions, treatment of incarcerated people, complaint resolution, conflict management, and any training materials or reports generated by the Correction Ombuds
Our ideal candidate will possess demonstrated experience advocating for the rights and wellbeing of incarcerated persons. They will be a proven leader, including supervising diverse teams, and possessing demonstrated cultural responsiveness and experiences serving individuals who have experienced mental health challenges, trauma, and substance use disorder. The selected incumbent will have experience investigating and responding to formal complaints. They will possess experience prioritizing and completing multiple projects and priorities with competing deadlines.
We encourage applications of candidates with personal experience with the Connecticut Department of Correction (e.g., as an incarcerated person or family member of an incarcerated person) or prior experience in Connecticut state government in executive, legislative, or judicial branches.
Submit application package to Correction Advisory Committee, c/o Judiciary Committee, Legislative Office Building, Room 2500, Hartford, CT, 06106, consisting of:
- Cover letter explaining interest in and qualifications for position
- Summary of "year one" plan for establishing office and commencing activities
- List of at least three references. A reference from at least one incarcerated or formerly incarcerated person or a family member of an incarcerated person will be considered a plus
The Correction Advisory Committee will consider applications and conduct interviews on a rolling basis with the aim of interviewing candidates and selecting 3-5 finalists to participate in public hearings in October 2023. Applicants are encouraged to submit materials on or before September 15, 2023.
- The Advisory Committee will provide a ranked list of 3-5 candidates to the Governor for appointment, with the approval of the General Assembly.
- The person appointed shall serve for an initial term of two years and may be reappointed to succeeding terms
- Interested parties are encouraged to contact a member of the Correction Advisory Committee for further information. All of the members are identified on the Committee's website: Correction Advisory Committee - C G A - Connecticut General Assembly
Please note: You do not need to be a Connecticut resident to apply for this position but must be a resident at the time of the interview.
Important Information After You Apply:
- Candidates who are offered and accept a position with the State of Connecticut are bound by the State Code of Ethics for Public Officials and State Employees which is available at www.ct.gov/ethics.
PURPOSE OF JOB CLASS (NATURE OF WORK)
In the Office of Correction Ombuds this class is accountable for directing an office responsible for exercising independent oversight over the Connecticut Department of Correction (DOC) in order to secure and ensure the rights of persons in the custody of the DOC.
EXAMPLES OF DUTIES
- Directs staff and operations of the office;
- Develops a budget for the office within appropriations provided by the Connecticut General Assembly;
- Leads the recruitment and hiring of staff, including outreach, interview and selection;
- Monitors and examines conditions of confinement within facilities operated by the Department of Correction and prepares reports as necessary to advance the wellbeing of those in custody;
- Conducts scheduled and unscheduled inspections of Department of Correction facilities to examine and document conditions and services;
- Reviews and evaluates regulations, policies, and procedures implemented by Department of Correction and individual facilities;
- Investigates complaints and report findings and recommendations;
- Creates and maintains a public website summarizing the activities of the office;
- Acts as an independent and confidential resource for incarcerated persons, their families, and Department of Correction staff, to resolve concerns and complaints;
- Educates the Office of the Governor, legislature, other government agencies, and the public through periodic reports, recommendations, proposed legislative or regulatory reforms, and other communications;
- Performs related duties as required.
KNOWLEDGE, SKILL AND ABILITY
- Considerable knowledge of
- and ability to apply management principles and practices;
- and ability to interpret and apply relevant state and federal laws, statutes and regulations;
- issues related to services and supports of individuals who are incarcerated and/or on parole and their families;
- interpersonal skills;
- oral and written communication skills;
- Ability to use computers.
- A Bachelor's degree or higher in the
fields of civil rights, criminal justice, criminal-justice reform, public
health, social work, or human services
- Ability to work collaboratively with
diverse stakeholders, including incarcerated persons and their families,
Department of Correction staff, other government agencies, and community
- Knowledge of state and federal laws
concerning corrections and the rights of incarcerated persons
- Experience analyzing data
and other information to inform policy recommendations
- A minimum of five years professional
experience working in civil rights, criminal justice, criminal-justice reform,
public health, social work, or human services
The Ombudsperson shall be a resident of the State with expertise and experience in the fields of correction and advocacy for the rights of individuals under the care and supervision of the Department of Correction and/or Board of Pardons and Parole.
AN AFFIRMATIVE ACTION/EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER
The State of Connecticut is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and strongly encourages the applications of women, minorities, and persons with disabilities.