Gov. Dannel Malloy is taking another crack at more criminal justice reform.
His Second Chance Society proposals passed last session, and now he wants to raise the age of a juvenile from 18 to 20. This would only apply to misdemeanor non-violent offenses and drug possession, not drug dealing.
He said many young people make mistakes, but feels the punishment can be too severe.
"That’s the spring board of avoiding a life of crime, or a life where you can't get housing, you can't get a job ---and you can't get a student loan,” Malloy said.
Supporters said this will give young, low-risk offenders the chance to stay out of prison, but the plan may face opposition from some lawmakers.
"There are thousands of residents in our city who have been permanently been cut off from economic opportunity -- because of mistakes in their past,” said Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin.
Seventy-five percent of those in prison were incarcerated before the age of 25.
The first phase of the governor’s Second Chance Society has already lowered penalties for drug possession and has expedited parole hearings for non-violent crimes.
The community at a church in the North End in Hartford is supportive, but feels more is needed.
"The other thing I am concerned about is having jobs for these people ---who needs that second chance if there are no jobs,” said Muhammad Ansari, of the Greater Hartford NAACP.
The first phase received a lot of bi-partisan support, however some Republicans feel raising the age may be going too far.
"Connecticut has not done a good job of helping people find work out of prison, to deal with some of the emotional and physical addictions they may have. I think this proposal is a cheap way out for state of the Connecticut to deal with its ills,” North Branford State Rep. Vincent Candelora.
The first phase of the Second Chance Society includes a pilot program to help those who get out of prison, get training and get jobs.
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