Adult Criminal Justice Policy & Planning

This section of the website gives you an overview of the adult criminal justice system in Connecticut

Connecticut's Adult Criminal Justice System

Connecticut has a centralized, unified adult criminal justice system. Because there is no county government, and Connecticut is divided into 169 municipalities, there is no overlap of functions such as might arise with county government or a multi-tier court system. The Judicial Branch operates a single tier, unified court system with an intermediate appellate court and a supreme court. With the exception of local police services in the larger communities, all adult criminal justice functions are provided by state agencies.

The adult criminal justice system in Connecticut is a vast array of complex systems, services and program activities designed to ensure public safety. Policy development, planning and budgeting activities in the criminal justice arena must allow for collaboration, coordination and communication among the three branches of State government – executive, judicial and legislative as well as three levels of government - federal, state and local in order to provide for efficient and effective delivery of those services. The total State appropriations for criminal justice system relevant agencies total almost $1.5 billion dollars annually or approximately 10% of the entire state budget.

There are 8 major State organizational entities which comprise Connecticut's adult criminal justice system: The Department of Public Safety (which includes the Connecticut State Police), the Division of Criminal Justice (The Division is in charge of the investigation and prosecution of all criminal matters and consists of the Chief States Attorney and the States Attorneys for the 13 Judicial Districts), the Judicial Branch, the Division of Public Defender Services, the Department of Correction, the Board of Pardons and Parole, the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, and the Office of the Victim Advocate. Each agency plays a significant role in the delivery of programs and services across the spectrum of events in the adult criminal justice system. These programs and services can be found throughout law enforcement action, prosecution, pretrial diversion/release, adjudication, sentencing, incarceration, and community supervision.  Though not within the criminal justice system, the Department of Social Services, the Department of Labor and the Department of Education play a significant role in ultimately helping offenders re-integrate into the community post-release.

In addition, there are 87 local police departments, public college and university police forces in Connecticut which make a substantial contribution to the maintenance of public safety. They assume the responsibility in their jurisdiction for deterring criminal activity, serving and enforcing warrants, writs and other orders of the courts,  providing first response to emergencies and threats to public safety, protecting certain public facilities and infrastructure, and maintaining public order.