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Gov. Malloy Testifies in Support of Criminal Justice Reform Legislation

(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Dannel P. Malloy has submitted written testimony in support of five legislative proposals he introduced that are being considered in the Connecticut General Assembly’s Judiciary Committee aimed at continuing Connecticut’s nationally recognized criminal justice reform efforts. These legislative proposals, which the committee is discussing at a public hearing today, include the fair treatment of incarcerated women, raising the age of the juvenile justice system’s jurisdiction, providing additional procedural protections for 18,19, and 20-year-olds in adult court, and restoring fairness in the use of special parole sentencing.

“People who are involved in the criminal justice system deserve to be treated with dignity, respect, and humanity,” Governor Malloy wrote in his testimony to lawmakers. “Thank you for the opportunity to provide testimony on these five proposals which seek to address fairness for young adults, women, and men in various stages of involvement with the criminal justice system.”

**To read Governor Malloy’s full written testimony in support of these five bills, click here**

The bills include:

  • Senate Bill 13, An Act Concerning Fair Treatment of Incarcerated Women
    • This bill addresses several issues unique to the female prison population in an effort to help reduce recidivism among this group of inmates. This proposal ensures that incarcerated women who are pregnant are provided counseling and written materials, receive appropriate medical care throughout, and after, their pregnancy, and prohibits the inhumane practice of shackling during labor. Additionally, the bill ensures all women receive feminine hygiene products at no cost, and ensures that staff are properly trained in gender-specific and trauma-related issues faced by female inmates.
  • Senate Bill 14, An Act Concerning Special Parole for High-Risk, Violent and Sexual Offenders
    • In the late 1990s, the legislature created “special parole,” a sentencing option which permitted judges to mandate post-release supervision for defendants receiving a prison sentence of more than two years to serve. The specific goal was to make sure that dangerous, high-risk, violent and sexual offenders were not released directly from prison to the community without supervision. Over time, however, special parole has become increasingly used in a broader array of circumstances above and beyond what the legislature contemplated. This bill re-focuses the use of special parole sentences on high-risk, violent, and sexual offenders where there are no less restrictive opportunities for supervision in the community.
  • House Bill 5040, An Act Concerning Adjudication of Certain Young Adults in Juvenile Court
    • Known as “raise the age,” this bill expands the age of the juvenile justice system’s jurisdiction up to age 21 by July 2021. Specifically, this proposal creates a new category within the jurisdiction of the juvenile justice system for individuals between the ages of 18 and 20 called “young adults.” Young adults would fall under juvenile justice jurisdiction in most circumstances, and – where appropriate – would benefit from the protections and services provided by the state’s juvenile justice system.
  • House Bill 5041, An Act Concerning the Transfer of Juvenile Services from the Department of Children and Families to the Court Support Services Division of the Judicial Branch
    • A recently adopted state law passed in 2017 transferred $17.7 million in FY 2019 funding from the budget of the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to the judicial branch’s budget to reflect the Court Support Services Division’s (CSSD) assumption of responsibility for adjudicated delinquents on and after July 1, 2018. This bill implements the transfer of these responsibilities under state statute, as coordinated among all of the key stakeholders in this transition, including DCF, the judicial branch, CSSD, the Office of Policy and Management, the Office of the Chief Public Defender, and the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney.
  • House Bill 5042, An Act Concerning Prosecution of Low-Risk Young Offenders in Adult Court
    • Under current law, certain low-risk, young adults age 17 and under who are transferred to adult court have the opportunity to plead guilty to the charge of being a “youthful offender” instead of to the original charge. Under this legislation, protections currently afforded to individuals age 17 and under in adult court would be extended to individuals up to their 21st birthday to prevent them from having permanent and life-altering consequences from impulsive and reckless behavior typical of their age group. “Youthful offender” status may not be used by individuals charged with the most serious crimes, including class A felonies, and certain types of sexual assault and rape. This bill will also ensure that judges and prosecutors continue to retain discretion to handle each case on an individual basis.

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