Episode Information

Criminal Justice Reform
Where We Live - with John Dankosky
Aired:
01/22/2008
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Lawmakers enter special session today, to hammer out criminal justice reforms.

 

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51:59 minutes (24.96 MB)
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House Republican Leader Larry Cafero and House Speaker Jim Amann: Photo by Ryan CassellaHouse Republican Leader Larry Cafero and House Speaker Jim Amann: Photo by Ryan CassellaIt's been six months since a "home invasion" and triple-murder left a Cheshire family torn apart, and a state reeling. It wasn't just the brutal nature of the crimes, but the feeling that the state needed to do something to keep return criminals off the streets. After months of negotiations, Democratic and Republican lawmakers and Republican Governor Jodi Rell all seem to agree on the basic need for a change to the system.

A new proposal which is said to have some 95 percent agreement by all sides would create a new crime called "home invasion", which would be a class "A" felony, carrying a mandatory prison sentence. It also includes a tough "three strikes" law which has been the point of some debate. Republicans want automatic life sentences for those convicted of three violent felonies. Democrats want to leave judges with more discretion.

Either way, the new reforms will be costly, some $6 million in this fiscal year, rising to nearly $18 million by next fiscal year and could stretch a prison system already bursting at the seams. Most of the state prisons are overcrowded, some dangerously so.

Today, House Speaker Jim Amann and House Republican Leader Larry Cafero join us just before the session gets underway to discuss criminal justice reform in Connecticut.

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