With another legislative session about to begin, Governor Dannel Malloy has announced new proposals under his Second Chance Society initiative. One of his ideas will change how the state defines a juvenile delinquent.
Malloy wants to raise the age of juvenile jurisdiction to age 20 by 2019. This means low-risk offenders from 18 to 20 years old would not be tried in the adult system.
Malloy explained his proposal Thursday before a legislative panel that's been evaluating the juvenile justice system in the state. "The data shows if we can keep a young person from entering the adult criminal system before he turns 25, we can often keep them from ever entering that system," he said.
Meanwhile, Malloy is calling on lawmakers to expand youthful offender status to 18 to 20 year olds by October 1, 2016. This means that if they're charged with a low-risk crime, their cases would be kept confidential, and their record would be sealed, as long as they don't re-offend within four years of a conviction.
Malloy said this will help them avoid stigma, and keep them from getting re-arrested. The governor has also proposed reforming the bail bond system in the state.
He said individuals charged with misdemeanors shouldn't have to sit in prison if they can't come up with their bail money. The proposal would prohibit a judge from setting bail for anyone charged with a misdemeanor, except cases where the accused is deemed an immediate threat.
Malloy said there are almost 600 people in pre-trial proceedings today in Connecticut jails because they can't make bonds. The governor said this unfairly impacts the poor.