The ACLU-CT supports this bill to establish a working group to study Connecticut’s criminal laws. However, we believe the legislature should create a clear mandate of what the working group should study. We encourage the legislature to require the working group to study, in part, how this state’s criminal laws affect certain vulnerable populations, such as juveniles, immigrants, and people of color, and to make recommendations regarding how to remedy the disparate impact of criminal laws on these groups of people.
We also encourage the legislature to define who the members of the working group would be. The ACLU-CT believes that it is important to ensure that those who have been involved in Connecticut’s criminal justice reform efforts be represented on the working group. Additionally, people who have been directly affected by Connecticut’s criminal laws should be on the working group, because their experiences could provide critical insight regarding the true effects of these laws on people and families in our state.
We further encourage the legislature to require the publication of the report required by the bill. Though the information would be reported to this committee, it is important that the report also be accessible to the public.