Malloy’s criminal justice reform gets “second chance” - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Malloy’s criminal justice reform gets “second chance”

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Gov. Malloy visits Waterbury training center. (WFSB) Gov. Malloy visits Waterbury training center. (WFSB)

The governor’s Second Chance plan may be getting another chance.

Lawmakers failed to vote on the criminal justice reform bill during the session, and now Gov. Dannel Malloy has agreed to drop a controversial part of the bill which treats more criminals like juveniles.

On Wednesday, Malloy visited a Waterbury training center that gives former inmates job skills.

A big part of his reform would drop bail for those arrested for misdemeanor crimes.

"We shouldn't have people in jail simply because they are poor,” Malloy said.

He said keeping fewer people locked up will help those arrested straighten their lives out and will save the state millions.

The other part, which has proven to be far more controversial, is raising the age so 19 and 20 year olds would be treated like juveniles for non-violent crimes.

This has become a heated issue, and one lawmakers from both parties couldn’t support, so the governor dropped it.

Despite the compromise, republicans said the governor’s bail reform includes more than just non-violent offenders, and that "60 percent of the people that would qualify for no bail are convicted felons. And 77 percent who would qualify for bond-free release have three prior convictions."

"I don't think we should have any provisions for violent offenders, people who have hurt other people, or predators - or somebody who has a significant felony record, those are all indications of someone we should not let out unless we have a bond,” said Republican Minority Leader State Senator Len Fasano.

"They say they want to save money. This costs us $58,000 a day. Based on the numbers, it goes up to $75,000 at other times of the year,” Malloy said.

The House of Representatives will take up the Second Chance bill on Thursday, and some said it has a better chance of passing, but others still have problems with it.

Several states have passed similar justice reform, including New Jersey and Washington D.C.

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