'Second chance' bill rejected by lawmakers - WFSB 3 Connecticut

'Second chance' bill rejected by lawmakers

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Gov. Dannel Malloy visits a Waterbury training center as part of his push for his second chance bill. (WFSB photo) Gov. Dannel Malloy visits a Waterbury training center as part of his push for his second chance bill. (WFSB photo)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

A bill that would have dropped bail for misdemeanor crimes was rejected by state lawmakers Thursday.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle argued against the "second chance" bill. 

They said for some of the crimes, bail is necessary.

The bill was proposed as part of Governor Malloy's goal to reform the state's criminal justice system.

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

The decision was made less than an hour after house members entered session.

Channel 3's Susan Raff spoke with lawmakers who explained why the bill itself failed to get a second chance.

House Speaker Brendan Sharkey (D) said that although he agreed with the bill conceptually, it was not strong enough as a whole. 

"There is certainly unanimous concept for the principal of what the governor is trying to achieve, but there were so many details that are at loose ends right now," said Sharkey. 

Malloy said when people are forced to stay in prison because they can't afford bail, it hurts their chances of getting back on track.

However, Minority Leader Themis Klarides (R), argued the crimes for which the bill would waive bail are too serious.

"You look at the rap sheet...one is rape. One killed a father of five in a drunk motor vehicles tirade. These are very serious crimes these people have committed," said Klarides.

This week, Malloy pushed the bill with a visit to a Waterbury training center where the focus was giving inmates job skills.

The governor blamed the bill's rejection on the upcoming election.

"It's hard to get things done in election years. I think it was hard for folks, particularly when some of the things said, although not true, were scary propositions for folks," said Malloy.

He said had the bill been passed, the state would have saved $15 million a year.

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

Malloy previously dropped a controversial part of the bill. It was a part that would have raised the age for juvenile offenders from 18 to 20.

Republican lawmakers said 60 percent of the people that would have qualified for no bail are convicted felons. They also said 77 percent who would have qualified for bond-free release have three prior convictions.

Now, the state will have to take money from other other places that would have gone to cities and towns for regionalization.

Copyright 2016 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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