The "New Haven Jail", as New Haven's Correctional Center was known in the past, was built in part in 1851.1 The "new" wing of the jail was floated up from SingSing in 1896 when it was declared obsolete in that institution. Legislative commissions constituted in 1932, 1934, 1936 and 1938 decried the inadequacy of the facility and called for the construction of a new plant. But conditions in the jail have remained substantially the same for the last fifty years.
There are a total of 300 cells, each about 5' x 8'. Since there are no plumbing facilities in the cells, buckets are used to serve the sanitary needs of the entire population. A few toilets and showers exist at the end of each cell block and are available to inmates when the cells are unlocked. The furniture in each cell consists of an iron cot and the cell bucket. The cells are built in tiers of three. Each cell block has a day room connected to it, with benches, tables and a TV set. Most of the inmates crowd into these day rooms 10:30-11 :30, 1:00-3:50 and 4:45-10:00, their only "free" time. The ·rooms strike the outside observer as grotesque: they are filled with a few card-players, rows of humans of every description lining the walls staring sightlessly into the center of the room and a constant babble of voices cut through by the booming tones of a TV set whose unwinking white eye is always open.
"Presumed Guilty: The Pre-Trial Detainee,"
Yale Review of Law and Social Action: Vol. 1
, Article 2.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/yrlsa/vol1/iss4/2