A plan that focuses on giving people who were jailed for driving under the influence a second chance at life goes into its next phase on Friday.
Gov. Dannel Malloy said he's opening up a unit at the Cybulski Community Re-integration Center in Enfield to help DUI offenders.
He began the initiative last year as a means to cut down on the amount of non-violent offenders who are behind bars.
The governor saw the plan in action earlier this month.
The unit at the prison in Enfield will support those incarcerated for driving under the influence with tailored services to reduce the rate of repeat offenders and lower crime, according to Malloy.
"We want to lower recidivism," Malloy said. "There is a certain reality people, who come to prison, are people, who have been here in the past."
Malloy visited the facility on Friday and met with repeat offenders.
"It gets you more educated on how to cope with it, so you don't find your self going through this problem," Richard King, who is a DUI offender, said. "In other words know when you need to get a little help, more support on the outside."
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that about 2 percent of adults in Connecticut said they drove after drinking too much in the past 30 days.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving said more than 40 percent of all traffic deaths in Connecticut last year were connected to drunk drivers.
"I hope you will own your crime and speak to our young people in Connecticut and other offenders and impact panels because it's your story that makes the difference," Janice Hegge Margolis with Mothers against Drunk Driving said.
A similar program is in place for incarcerated war veterans.
Malloy's push for criminal justice reform brought him to Germany last year where punishment is far different. Prisoners are allowed organized sports, video games and keys to their own cells. It may seem strange, but German prisons cost less and produce far fewer repeat offenders.
When Malloy and Department of Commission Commissioner Scott Semple were in Germany, they were interviewed by 60 Minutes.
“As opposed to what the American system became, which was primarily punishment, their punishment and reform,” Malloy said. “We have to spend as much time and energy and money on helping people reform their behaviors."
60 Minutes was in Germany doing a story on criminal justice reform. The story will air on Channel 3 on Sunday evening.
Malloy's plan come as the state continues to work through a projected $220 million budget shortfall to end this fiscal year.
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