The ACLU-CT supports this bill to ensure indigent people accused of crimes have the legal representation they are guaranteed by our constitution. This bill would help protect funding for the constitutional right to counsel for indigent people. It would require the Office of Policy and Management to alert the Chief Public Defender of proposals that would reduce the allotment for the Division of Public Defender Services. This would give the division notice about the reduction and allow them to submit their objections. This provision is incredibly important to maintaining the ability of the division to provide legal representation to people who cannot otherwise afford it, as required by our constitution.
Senate Bill 1056 would also increase access to diversionary programs for people who cannot afford them.