Steven Hayes has been in state custody for more than a year, awaiting trial for what police say was his part in the July 2007 murders of Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two daughters Hayley and Michaela. During most of the time he's been incarcerated, he has reportedly been on suicide watch.
"For more than a year, Steven Hayes was given one to one supervision by corrections officers, in other words, typically they would bring in an extra duty, overtime corrections officer to sit outside the cell of this inmate and just watch him 24 hours a day," said State Representative Mike Lawlor of East Haven.
Lawlor said the one-to-one supervision is costing the state hundreds of thousands of dollars.
"The cost of doing that is three, four, five hundred thousand dollars, and I think when people hear about that, knowing the tremendous budget crisis we face, knowing how short-staffed the department of corrections is to start with, people start saying is there something wrong here," he said.
Lawlor sent an email to Department of Correction Commissioner Theresa Lantz requesting a copy of the expense report on Hayes. He also asked for information on the supervisory programs.
"We're asking these questions because when the session begins in January, we intend to review these policies, because our main goal next year will be cutting state spending and this seems like an obvious place to start," said Lawlor.
Hayes has been moved to Garner Correctional in Newtown, where Lawlor said he is no longer under 24-hour supervision.
The Department of Correction said it will respond to Lawlor's request.
"The Department of Correction will fully respond to Representative Lawlor's inquiry and is ready to detail when and why a heightened observation status is appropriate in a correctional setting," said spokesman Brian Garnett.