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What They're Saying: Support for Gov. Malloy's Second Chance Society 2.0 Legislation

(HARTFORD, CT) - Supporters of Governor Dannel P. Malloy's Second Chance Society 2.0 initiatives are testifying today at a public hearing of the General Assembly's Judiciary Committee, telling lawmakers that the bill will strengthen efforts to be smart on crime.

Testimony of Governor Malloy's General Counsel Karen Buffkin and Under Secretary of Criminal Justice and Policy Planning Mike Lawlor:

"Governor Malloy's Second Chance Society proposal this year is in line with national trends, led by Democratic and Republican lawmakers, governors, policy experts and pundits nationwide who know that our historic commitment to permanent punishment and mass incarceration has failed our country."

 Testimony of the National Juvenile Justice Network:

"Over the past decade, Connecticut has been a leader in juvenile justice reform, significantly reducing its incarceration rate.  The realistic, common-sense policies before you are the next steps in realigning the system with a vision of accountability beyond retribution."

Testimony of the Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance:

"…the Alliance believes in holding young people accountable for misbehavior, in ways that are most likely to help them succeed and transition into productive adulthood.  We start with the belief that system involvement and certainly incarceration should be avoided whenever possible.  When it is necessary, the presumed goal is to change behavior and ensure the young person's success in his or her community.  The proposed changes in SB 18 can help continue to improve the effectiveness of Connecticut's justice systems in order to strengthen young human capital, families and communities."

Testimony of the American Conservative Union Foundation:

"Raising the age of jurisdiction for juvenile courts is a policy with which the American Conservative Union Foundation strongly agrees.  Research shows that young people who go through the juvenile justice system are 34 percent less likely to break the law again than those who go to the adult system."

Testimony of the National Campaign to Reform State Juvenile Justice Systems:

"As people immersed in juvenile justice policy reform across the country, we can say that these proposals are backed by research and best practice.  As Connecticut residents, we believe that this bill will make our own neighborhoods safer and commit fewer of our tax dollars to a system of serial incarceration."

Testimony of the Child Advocate for the State of Connecticut:

"The Office of the Child Advocate strongly supports a juvenile and criminal justice system that protects communities, supports youth, holds youth accountable for their behavior, teaches and rehabilitates youth so that they can become productive members of their communities.  Connecticut has been a leader on juvenile and criminal justice reform, and this Act will ensure that our state's criminal and juvenile justice reforms adhere closely to scientific recommendations and best practices to promote individual rehabilitation and public safety."

Testimony of Connecticut Voices for Children:

"Because brain development directly implicates the decision-making capabilities and relative culpability of young adults under age 25, this proposal rightly considers these differences when deciding how to address our youngest adults who commit crimes."

Testimony of the Connecticut Department of Children and Families:

"It is appropriate to revise certain aspects of our criminal justice system to recognize what we now know about adolescent brain development.  Allowing certain low-risk offenders, ages 18 to 20, to be tried in the juvenile justice system rather than the adult criminal justice system will allow many young people who have committed criminal offenses to be treated as delinquents, thereby allowing them to become productive members of society without the stigma of an adult criminal record."

Testimony of the Connecticut African-American Affairs Commission:

"Given the already stated racial injustices that exist in the criminal justice system, bail reform is a necessary next step in the state."

Testimony of the Connecticut Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission:

"The current 'for profit' criminal justice bail bond system has been found to discriminate against defendants who are low-income and cannot afford bail to be released.  The network of bail bondsmen profit off the current system by collecting a seven percent charge of total bail without returning funds to the accused.  For low-income families, many of whom are of Latino descent, having a family member in jail while awaiting trial can result in harmful socioeconomic consequences - further exacerbating a cycle of crime and poverty."

Testimony of the United Church of Christ, Connecticut Conference:

"The Connecticut Conference of the United Church of Christ supports the need to change our criminal justice system to invest in permanent reform instead of permanent punishment."

Testimony of the ACLU of Connecticut:

"During the past two sessions, Connecticut has passed criminal justice reforms that have served as a model nationwide.  Senate Bill 18 presents another chance for our state to lead the way in creating a twenty-first century justice system."

Today's Judiciary Committee public hearing began at 10:30 a.m. in Room 2C of the Legislative Office Building.  The Governor's legislation is Senate Bill 18, An Act Concerning a Second Chance Society.

**ICYMI: Fact sheet on Governor Malloy's Second Chance 2.0 proposals

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