Connecticut voters support reducing the prison population and investing in rehabilitation instead of incarceration. That’s according to a new poll released Tuesday by the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut.
The research was conducted by the Benenson Strategy Group on behalf of the ACLU.
The group carried out 507 telephone interviews in early September.
Katie Connolly, Senior Vice President of Benenson, said one of the key findings is that the tough on crime mindset doesn’t resonate with Connecticut voters.
“We have a statement here that 82 percent of voters agree with,” Connolly said. “That is an overwhelming majority and really cuts across partisan divides -- 92 percent of Democrats, 80 percent of independents and 71 percent of Republicans agree that people who have been convicted of a crime can turn their lives around and become productive members of our community if they can get the right kind of help.”
Connolly said most voters do believe that some form of punishment is necessary for people who’ve been convicted of a crime. However, they also feel that the criminal justice system has a responsibility to rehabilitate during incarceration.
She said all of the respondents were registered Connecticut voters who indicated they were likely to vote in the upcoming November election.
In addition, the poll found that 86 percent of Connecticut voters support the existing Earned Risk Reduction Credit program, including 53 percent who strongly support it.
The poll also said that the majority of Connecticut voters recognize racial bias in the criminal justice system – only 38 percent agree that everyone, regardless of race or ethnic background, is treated fairly by the criminal justice system in Connecticut.
The results come one day after Governor Dannel Malloy put out a mid-year crime statistics update showing that crime in the state in 2017 was at a 50-year low.