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Prison officials in Connecticut want lawmakers to pass a bill that would label inmates who commit lewd acts in their cells, including masturbation, as sex offenders.
It's an ongoing problem at prisons. In 2011, 94 inmates committed 390 indecent exposure violations of this type, according to the bill.
At the high-security Northern Correctional Institution, some inmates masturbate in front of staff, often a female staff member, a Correction Department spokesman said.
Lisamarie Fontano, president of the union representing prison workers, said more than 500 such incident reports were written up at Northern last year.
Internal discipline hasn't deterred the behavior, but she believes inmates will stop if they know they will have to register as a sex offender when they leave prison, Fontano said.
The bill would make “lewd exposure” of “intimate parts” a “class D” felony.
It has passed out of committee and is awaiting action by the full Legislature.