A national debate urging for criminal justice reform has transitioned from passionate conversations to bipartisan supported legislation here in the state of Connecticut. While the United States is frequently criticized for incarcerating more of its citizens than any other country in the world, our state was witnessing a significant reduction in crime rates with a correlating plummet in our total prison population. The Governor of the state of Connecticut, Dannel P. Malloy embarked on what would come to be known as the “Second Chance Society” reforms, which in turn created the perfect storm for the Department of Correction to take a look at our current reentry strategies and take a bold step in a new direction, in line with the Second Chance Society.
What are the Second Chance Initiatives?
They were in fact a series of legislative proposals that aimed to give formerly incarcerated individuals a fighting chance at success and get away from the philosophy of permanent punishment that our society had invested in for far too long. The initiatives initially focused on an expedited pardon process, and eliminated mandatory sentences for simply drug possessions – reclassifying those charges from felony to misdemeanor classifications. A future goal of the criminal justice reform themed legislation is to address bail reform and juvenile sentencing.