In spite of the last digit media blitz and threats to line item veto certain elements of the budget, Connecticut Governor Malloy’s effort to pass his Second Chance 2.0 legislation failed to get a vote on the final day of the special session and his bill died.
In a week where it is being reported the homicide and violent crime rates saw a major increase across the country, Governor Malloy was trying to pass legislation that would have increased the age to 21 for which an offender can be charged with a juvenile offense. He also wanted to release misdemeanor offenders on their own recognizance and no guarantee of appearance in court. The problem, too many Democrats and Republicans were not buying into a proposal that, if passed, would have degraded public safety and made it easier on criminal offenders.
The American Bail Coalition with the help of its local agent affiliates and other members of the commercial bail community, played a major role in educating legislators to the fallacy that too many poor people were sitting in jail who could not afford bail. That requiring misdemeanor and felony offenders to post a secured bond is critical if the criminal justice system is to function as intended. Offenders have to be held accountable.
Governor Malloy regularly referred to the 500 offenders sitting in jail unable to post bail. He did just want to let those 500 free on their own recognizance, he wanted all misdemeanor offenders to be released in the same manner. What he didn’t say was most of the offenders in that group of 500 had prior arrests and/or had various holds for outstanding warrants in other counties or probation or parole violations. They had burnt the bridges with family and friends who would typically come to their aid and post bond on their behalf. In most cases those among the 500 had already had their second and third chance. The right to public safety prevailed this week which was not just a win for the bail profession but a win for the citizens.
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