Washington, D.C. — On Wednesday, Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy (D) signed into law a bill—titled “An Act Concerning Pretrial Justice Reform“—that would dramatically reduce the number of people detained in jail while awaiting trial simply because they cannot afford to pay bail. The new statute institutes a presumption of release for most people charged with misdemeanors but provides judges with discretion to impose stricter conditions if compelled by the circumstances of the case. In response, Ed Chung, vice president for criminal justice reform at the Center for American Progress, released the following statement:
The Center for American Progress applauds Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and the Connecticut legislature for enacting a statute that moves the state toward a smarter pretrial justice system. The pretrial justice reform legislation, which bars the imposition of financial conditions for pretrial release in most misdemeanor cases, recognizes that people should not be held in jail solely because they cannot afford to pay bail. The act also is rooted in evidence that money bail is not an effective means of ensuring that a person attends future court appearances or does not commit other offenses.
This statute is the latest in a series of measures, spearheaded by Gov. Malloy, that reduce the jail and prison population while the state simultaneously experiencing declining crime rates. Connecticut is at the forefront of jurisdictions dedicated to criminal justice reform and serves as an example that public safety is compatible with sensible policy changes that make the justice system fairer and more equitable for all.
For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, please contact Tanya Arditi at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.741.6258.