York Correctional Facility

Emily Pyka

This past December, students from Mr. Arnold’s civics classes were granted the opportunity to tour the York Correctional Facility in Niantic, Connecticut. The prison houses inmates with security levels ranging from two to five, five being the most dangerous offenders. On 201 West Main Street, only a short drive from Waterford High School, 1,030 women are imprisoned. This field trip allowed Mr. Arnold’s students a rare glimpse inside.

“It was really eye-opening. You always drive by it, but you don’t really think about who’s on the inside,” said Cat Ward, a junior.

It is very seldom that classes are given the chance to see the prison as an inmate would. In one building, classes permitted to step inside of an empty cell and experience the women’s typical living conditions. In another area of the prison, they saw the family visiting room and where the inmates go to school.

“It was awkward to meet the prisoners and a little creepy since one of them murdered someone. I felt uncomfortable. They all seemed like they had changed and regretted what they did. Some of the girls who were drunk driving took it really hard because they had killed their best friends,” explained Amy Calci, a junior.

After a tour, students were led into a room where they sat face-to-face with inmates. These female offenders chose to share their stories with Mr. Arnold’s classes.

“Most of my students find the trip to be educational and also fun,” stated Arnold.