May 19, 2016: Governor Promotes His Second Chance Society Legislation In Norwich Back
Governor promotes his Second Chance Society legislation in Norwich
NORWICH — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy toured a Norwich linen supply and cleaning facility Thursday to tout his Second Chance Society 2.0 legislation, which works with the Department of Correction to employ ex-offenders.
Malloy, accompanied by officials at the Atlantic City Linen Supply plant on Consumers Avenue in the industrial park, state Sen. Cathy Osten, D-Sprague and Norwich Mayor Deb Hinchey, visited with employees on the floor of the linen factory. In one section, workers fed sheets of the cloth into large pressing machines.
“What we’re trying to do here is make it easier for people to find their way back,” Malloy said.
Second Chance will prohibit a judge from setting money bail for anyone charged with only a misdemeanor, except where the judge determines that the accused poses an immediate threat to the health or well-being of another person, or the accused is charged with failure to appear.
The state’s Office of Fiscal Analysis estimates that Connecticut spends $168 per day to incarcerate an individual inmate, and studies have shown that compared to low-risk defendants held for no more than 24 hours, those held for eight to 14 days were 56 percent more likely to be rearrested before trial and 51 percent more likely to recidivate after sentence completion.
The office also estimates there are 431 pre-trial prisoners with a controlling offense that is a misdemeanor. About 350 inmates accused of misdemeanors would not be in jail today if Second Chance were the law.
“We have people in jail awaiting trial that could be there 30, 60, 120 days,” Malloy said. “And then end up getting their case resolved. In the meantime, we’ve put them up in a very expensive hotel that gives advanced degrees in criminal behavior. It just doesn’t make sense to imprison people for very low-level offenses that way.”
Malloy also made an economic case for the program arguing that with the cost to the state to jail all low-risk, misdemeanor pretrial inmates at $58,800, the state would have saved $233,352 in costs had Second Chance been implemented on May 16.
The program has drawn criticism though from Republicans.
“While I do support bail reform for some misdemeanors and even proposed legislation to eliminate bond requirements for non-violent drug offenses, I have serious public safety concerns regarding the governor’s proposed bill,” State Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven, said. ”The governor’s insistence on coupling his bail reform proposals with an aggressive ‘raise the age’ initiative that is unproven makes the bill unpalatable, short-sighted and not well thought out.”
For New Jersey based ACLS, which supplies hotels and casinos with fresh linen products, the philosophy behind Malloy’s program has provided benefits not only to the company, but also about 10 employees who were in the criminal justice system but have found their way back to gainful employment at the Norwich plant.
“My uncle started this company in 1986, and he used to say, ‘We don’t believe in second chances, we believe in third, fourth and fifth chances,’ “ Chief Executive Officer Daniel Goldberg said.