Sen. Kissel Optimistic as Criminal Justice Reform Moves Forward

January 8, 2008

Calling it a “major step” towards reforming Connecticut’s criminal justice system, state Senator John A. Kissel, R-Enfield, commended Gov. M. Jodi Rell for her leadership following her announcement earlier today of a series of recommendations aimed at improving the system. Sen. Kissel, who serves as Ranking Senator on the legislature’s Judiciary Committee, said that many of her recommendations can be taken up immediately when the legislature convenes in special session possibly as early as January 22nd or 23rd.

“Today’s announcement by Governor Rell opens the door for the special session on criminal justice reform to begin,” said Sen. Kissel. “When you take a good look at the proposals offered by the Governor and the respective legislative caucuses there is agreement on so many measures that I am optimistic that we can pass meaningful criminal justice reform in a few short weeks.”

Sen. Kissel said that the reclassification of burglary/home invasion as a violent crime, a measure he introduced last summer, is one area of consensus that can be taken up right away. “Making burglary a violent crime has widespread bipartisan support. Your home is your castle, it’s a place where you should feel secure and to have that security violated is an act of violence,” said Sen. Kissel. “With today’s announcement by the Governor and statements made by the Speaker of the House and Senate President, I am very confident that we can pass this important reform.”

In addition to the increased penalties segment of her proposal, Sen. Kissel commended the Governor for seeking a workable “Three Strikes” law for repeat violent offenders, a measure legislative Republicans unveiled this past fall. “Repeat dangerous felony offenders pose a serious threat to everybody in the state of Connecticut. This law would help address those concerns while not placing an additional burden our state’s criminal justice system. This is an important measure that prosecutors can use when dealing with violent repeat offenders.”

“The number one responsibility of state government is to protect the public’s safety and well-being. That is what we’ve been seeking through our proposals and with the Governor echoing our call for mandatory minimum sentences today I am very hopeful that our colleagues on the other side of the aisle will embrace these measures,” said Sen. Kissel.

Sen. Kissel said that other areas of agreement include the increase use of GPS monitoring and reforms to the state Board of Pardons Parole.