The ACLU of Connecticut supports this bill, which would take important steps toward curbing this astounding uptick in Connecticut's use of special parole. In the 1990s, the Connecticut legislature created special parole as a sentencing option intended for people whom the court deemed to be dangerous, high-risk, violent and sexual offenders. Since then, the courts have used it far more often than was originally intended and in circumstances where it is not necessary, including against people whose cases do not merit this highly restrictive form of state supervision. Right now, Connecticut courts are sentencing people to special parole most often for drug offenses. Since 2008, while the number of people sentenced in Connecticut overall has declined by 34% and the number of people on non-special parole has decreased, the number of people on special parole has increased by 142%. In 2008, only 17% of all people on parole were on special parole; today, nearly half of all people on parole in Connecticut (46%) are on special parole. This does not reflect an uptick in the number of high-risk cases coming before the courts; it reflects the over-use and misuse of an incredibly restrictive punishment against people for whom it was never intended. Despite the fact that Black and white Americans commit crimes at the same rates, Connecticut is also disproportionately sentencing people of color to special parole and disproportionately sending Black people who are on special parole back to prison. 

Status

Passed both chambers

Session

2018

Bill number

S.B. 14

Position

Support

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