As Connecticut’s new legislature and Governor Ned Lamont begin governing, legislative leaders and advocates from the ACLU of Connecticut Smart Justice announced their 2019 legislative priorities for criminal justice reform during a press conference with elected officials and allies.
During the 2018 gubernatorial election, a statewide poll found the majority of Connecticut voters believed it was important to reduce the number of people imprisoned in the state, and large majorities supported specific legislative proposals to reduce incarceration. In 2018, Connecticut incarcerated the fewest people in 24 years and reported the lowest crime rate in 50 years. Last month, members of Governor Lamont’s transition team criminal justice reform policy committee, including several members of Smart Justice, provided the Governor with a list of recommendations for additional justice reform policies.
Smart Justice leaders Tiheba Bain, Anderson Curtis, Sandy LoMonico, and Gus Marks-Hamilton spoke about two bills for which the ACLU Smart Justice Connecticut campaign will advocate in 2019: a bill to create transparency about what prosecutors do, and a bill to prevent discrimination against people based solely on their criminal record. At the podium, legislative leaders Representative Robyn Porter, Labor Committee Co-Chair (New Haven & Hamden, 94th State House District) and Senator Gary Winfield, Judiciary Committee Co-Chair (New Haven & West Haven, Tenth State Senate District) both pledged to push for the bills and voiced their support for Smart Justice. Standing in solidarity with Smart Justice in the room were Representative Steven Stafstrom, Judiciary Committee Co-Chair (Bridgeport, 129th State House District), and representatives from the NAACP, CHRO (Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities), Connecticut Voices for Children, Connecticut Alliance for Nonprofits, Stop Solitary Campaign, and more.