Cold Case Playing Cards Dealt to State Prisons

State's prisons introducing cards depicting unsolved murders

Connecticut's Cold Case Unit is looking to give all new meaning to the expression "dead man's hand."

In a move inspired by similar programs in other states, all the playing cards in the state prisons are being replaced by cards that depict victims of unsolved murders, along with info about their deaths.

"They’ll be the only decks available to inmates," said Jim Rovella, cold case supervisory inspector. "It's currently being tried in Minnesota and Florida and a few other states and we decided to give it a shot."

Outside of old folks' homes, perhaps no segment of the population plays cards more than prisoners, and they do love to talk. The hope is that while staring at a handful of unsolved murders during a game of pinochle, inmates may start blabbing about the identity of at-large killers. Who knows, they may even rat on themselves.

The move comes as the Cold Case unit faces budget cuts, just a year after implementation of a program that beefed up their numbers with help from local police departments.

“We’re not going to have the same year in 2009 that we did in 2008,” Rovella told the New Britain Herald. “We won’t have the manpower. The clearing of all these cold cases was mostly a direct result of increased manpower and now we’re down to seven people and losing more.”

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