HARTFORD — Hartford officials hosted a Community Forum on the Second Chance Society Bill to discuss the impact of the new public safety law.
Members of the public and representatives from local community groups were in attendance to learn more about the new initiative and have their questions answered by State Rep. Matt Ritter’s State Sen. Eric Coleman (D-Bloomfield) and others.
Connecticut Department of Corrections Commissioner Scott Semple and Undersecretary of Criminal Justice and Policy Planning Mike Lawlor served as panelists at the forum and discussed the predicted impact of the Second Chance Society Law.
“The Second Chance Society initiative will lower incarceration rates for non-violent crimes so that minor offenses don’t carry disproportionate penalties,” Coleman said. “This is a new policy that’s being instituted in states across America, and I think the more the public learns about it, the more questions that are asked and answered about it, the greater the support will be.”
For years, Connecticut’s drug policies have swelled its prisons with nonviolent drug offenders who struggle to reintegrate into society upon release. A “Second Chance Society” will reverse these policies largely by reducing jail time for such offenders.
“Gov. Malloy’s goal is to reduce crime by focusing on violent, high risk offenders. The Second Chance Society reforms will help substance abusers succeed in recovery, find housing and employment and stay out of jail. The barriers to employment and housing that many ex-offenders face will be eliminated for those who have turned their lives around,” remarked Undersecretary Lawlor.
“It is promising to see community engagement with such an important topic on the table. The Connecticut Department of Correction will continue to enhance our Reentry efforts to compliment Malloy’s Second Chance Society,” said Commissioner Scott Semple.