Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy signed several bills into law on Wednesday that he says will reform the state’s criminal justice system and make it easier for poor people to make bail, and avoid incarceration.
At the signing ceremony at the Faith Congregational Church in Hartford, Malloy said lessening the burden of bail on the poor will go a long way in helping reduce the number of people convicted of crimes in Connecticut.
“If you are in jail for 10 or 14 days or three months, on something that you are wrongly accused of, you are more likely to plead guilty to that offense or some lesser offense because you simply want to get out of jail. And you have no other option. And the damage that that has the potential of doing – and it has done this damage to individuals – is momentous.”
Malloy says 90 to 95 percent of people arrested in Connecticut are able to make bail.
“So what we are talking about is a small audience of individuals. Almost entirely, not exclusively, black and Hispanic, remaining in our prison system as a result of their poverty, not the crime they are accused of committing.”
Malloy says there are about 450 people currently sitting in jail because they can’t make bail of $2,000 or less. He says they’ll now be able to take advantage of the new law. Some of the other laws signed by Malloy are aimed at helping make it easier for people who were incarcerated to re-enter the community.