COVID-19 Assistance for the Justice Community
The ever-changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic requires policymakers and criminal justice practitioners to rapidly adapt their day-to-day operations to the situation at hand. While the pace and scale of the crisis can be overwhelming, the CSG Justice Center is committed more than ever to supporting its members—state and local officials working in all three branches of government in criminal and juvenile justice, behavioral health, housing, and labor.
In partnership with Connecticut state leaders, the CSG Justice Center is working on several key criminal justice initiatives to increase public safety, including Face to Face, Justice Reinvestment, and Improving Outcomes for Youth.
Justice Reinvestment in Connecticut
In 2003, the CSG Justice Center embarked on a Justice Reinvestment approach in Connecticut to help state leaders identify and address the most pressing criminal justice system challenges. With overwhelming bipartisan support, in 2004, Connecticut became the first state in the country to enact justice reinvestment legislation.
In 2004, Connecticut’s prison population had increased 7 percent over the preceding 4 years and the state’s prisons were over capacity by 2,000 people. Between 2003 and 2004, the CSG Justice Center worked with Connecticut state leaders to analyze Connecticut’s criminal justice data, interview stakeholders from across the criminal justice system, and develop data-driven policy options designed to reduce corrections spending and increase public safety. With overwhelming bipartisan support, in 2004, Connecticut became the first state in the country to enact justice reinvestment legislation, which:
- Establishes programs to reduce by at least 20 percent the number of people on probation or parole who are incarcerated as a result of technical violations;
- Requires parole hearings to be held in a timely manner, including mandating people convicted of serious offenses to receive a parole hearing after serving 85 percent of their sentences; and
- Requires the state to develop a comprehensive reentry strategy to promote successful transition from incarceration to the community.
The state reinvested $13 million into reentry programs and initiatives in FY2005. After enactment of the law, individuals housed out of state returned to Connecticut and recidivism rates, measured as return to prison within two years following release, decreased 2 percentage points between 2004 and 2008. In 2006, the legislature established within the Office of Policy and Management the Criminal Justice Policy and Planning Division, which is charged with promoting a more effective and cohesive criminal justice system. Connecticut went from having one of the highest prison growth rates in the country in 2002 to having one of the most rapidly declining prison populations in 2013.
- Presentation to the Connecticut Appropriations and Judiciary Committees (April 25, 2014): This presentation was delivered to the Connecticut Appropriations and Judiciary Committees at their informational forum on Justice Reinvestment.
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