Fasano, Klarides Urge Gov. Malloy to Tighten Bail Reform Language

June 1, 2016

Governor’s Incarceration Statistics Include More than Just Non-Violent, Misdemeanor Offenses

Hartford – Based on data obtained from the Judicial Branch, 60 percent of the people that would qualify for no bail under the governor’s original Second Chance 2.0 proposal are convicted felons. In addition, 77 percent of the people who would qualify for bond-free release have three prior convictions.

In light of this data, and the fact that the original bill would also apply no-bail provisions to violent misdemeanor offenses, Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano (R-North Haven) and House Republican Leader Themis Klarides (R-Derby) are calling on Gov. Malloy to tighten the language regarding bail bond reform as initially included in the Second Chance 2.0 proposed bill. Lawmakers have still seen no updated language since the governor announced he would drop the ‘raise the age’ portion of the bill.

“Tomorrow the House is expected to vote on legislation that no one has seen,” said Rep. Klarides. “Based on an analysis of the daily jail population statistics Gov. Malloy has publicly released, the governor is expecting to pass legislation that would remove bond requirements for much more than low level offenses. The governor has released multiple press releases stating the daily number of pre-trial inmates who could be impacted if Second Chance 2.0 were implemented. Using those numbers and looking at the actual offenses, the governor’s estimates include many more people than just the individuals who have committed only low-level, victimless offenses.”

Sen. Fasano explained: “The truth of the numbers is that there are people who must get a bond even for a misdemeanor crime. Our judges are given the discretion to make proper decisions about these violent misdemeanors, including the nature of the crime, prior convictions, and prior history while released on bond. The actual numbers prove this point. Looking at the statistics released by the governor on May 25, of the roughly 400 pre-trial inmates with a misdemeanor or lower, 83 of those individuals were arrested for assault, 39 were arrested for threatening, and 6 were arrested for reckless endangerment. Also of those individuals, 77 percent have three or more prior convictions and 60 percent of them have one or more prior felony convictions,” said Fasano.

“Convicted felons and violent individuals should not be exempt from having a bond set. The language ultimately put in front of the legislature this week should be refined so that it is abundantly clear that any bail reform applies only to non-violent, non-predatory, non-selling drug offenses – and that those who have a history of repeated offenses and felonies are not given the same more lax treatment,” said Klarides.

Klarides continued: “Connecticut needs to remain firm when it comes to violent offenders and predators. We should also make sure our courts always consider a person’s full history before setting their bond. Republicans agree that no one should be kept in jail simply because they are poor and they cannot afford to pay a modest bond. However, in adjusting the law to help poor individuals and to help the state save money, we cannot simultaneously sacrifice public safety.”

Fasano added: “Let’s look at the current justice system in Connecticut. In 2015 there were 77,056 custodial arrests. Of those, 41,883 were released at the police department on promise to appear. Out of the remaining, 15,700 were released after the interview process before being arraigned in court. In addition, 15,606 were interviewed by the bail commissioner’s office and released without bond. The result was that only 3,800 out of the 77,000 arrested were held without bail. That being said, the state can and should do more to allow low-level, non-violent, non-predatory offenders to avoid the long process by eliminating bail for these very low level offenses from the start.”

A full list of state misdemeanor offenses is attached.

State Misdemeanor Offenses