Sen. Kelly Testifies in Support of Criminal Justice Reforms

March 14, 2022

Today Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly (R-Stratford) will testify in support of a bill raised by the Judiciary Committee that contains portions of the Senate Republican proposal A Better Way to a Safer Connecticut, a legislative package that seeks to improve crime response and remove barriers to intervention services, as well as policies to address the root causes of crime including issues related to trauma, education, housing and jobs.


The Senate Republican proposal is a holistic approach organized into three major sections: 1) crime response, 2) prevention and opportunity, and 3) police support and safe communities. The package of proposals raised by the Judiciary Committee in Senate Bill 365 An Act Concerning Juvenile and Criminal Justice Reforms focuses on the components of the Safer CT plan that aim to address juvenile injustice and improve the adult and juvenile criminal justice system as well as improve access and availability of vital early intervention and support programs.


“It is critically important to have a multipronged plan to address crime, justice, and opportunity in our state,” said Sen. Kelly. “While other portions of the Safer Connecticut plan have been raised separately and some by other committees, I must underscore that this package is intended to be a holistic solution. The sum is far greater than its parts. If we want to accomplish the significant changes that address the root causes of crime as well as response, then we must consider all these policy proposals together. Justice reforms and opportunity must go hand in hand. You cannot address one without the other.”


“A safer Connecticut starts with a stronger Connecticut. It starts with an economy that can support jobs and housing, build hope, and create a path to success for young people. It starts with services to address trauma. It starts with proactive policing, appropriate accountability for high-risk repeat offenders, and ensuring our justice system has the tools to successfully rehabilitate. As we heard from advocates, community leaders, and law enforcement alike, if we are talking only about data and detention, we have already lost. If we are only talking about preventative services, we are missing the need to address serious criminal activity and stop crime now involving high risk repeat offenders. We need action on both fronts. We need all voices working together to make our state a safer place for every family in every city and town.”


The Safer Connecticut package was developed over many months of outreach work communicating with advocates, community leaders, law enforcement, social workers, and many other stakeholders to develop a comprehensive approach that includes justice reforms to improve crime response, support law enforcement, and remove barriers to intervention services, as well as policies to address the root causes of crime including issues related to trauma, education, housing and jobs. The full package is available at


The package of proposals the Judiciary Committee raised in Senate Bill 365 includes the following components:

  • Support for community programs focused on trauma, truancy, mediation, and mentorship.
  • Increase information sharing and modify standards around detention orders.
  • Require next day court for juveniles to expedite access to services.
  • Ensure current programs are effective in addressing recidivism rates.
  • Assessment of services within the criminal justice system, including assessment of all programs for juveniles and adults and an assessment of the recent transfer of services from the Department of Children & Families (DCF) to Court Support Services Division (CSSD).
  • Increase 6 hour hold limit to give more time to enable a judge to review and make a determination on whether to detain.
  • Institute around-the-clock GPS monitoring of juveniles arrested for violent crimes or repeat offenses while they are already awaiting trial for a prior offense. This replaces electronic monitoring which currently only provides notification if a juvenile has left home when under a stay-at-home order between the hours of 9am-5pm.
  • Revise transfer to adult court for high risk repeat offenders with confidentiality of youthful offender docket.
  • Mandatory fingerprinting of juveniles arrested for a felony, a Class A Misdemeanor, a charge resulting from loss of life or serious physical injury, a sexual assault, a serious juvenile offense, or an offense involving use of a firearm.


 In addition to the above policies, A Better Way to a Safer Connecticut also includes the following policies:

  • Workforce development programs to better connect young people to opportunities and careers
  • Partnerships with schools and local businesses to create a pipeline to careers
  • Summer jobs programs to give youth the ability to know where their summer employment will be, to select a field of interest to them, and to have a known source of stable income in the summer months.
  • Vocational program recruitment to ensure Connecticut’s vocational-technical high schools are within reach for youth in urban communities and are being discussed with students at an early age.
  • Safe housing policies including ending hidden ownership, studying the federal Housing Choice Voucher Program to evaluate any disparate impacts the program may have on the development of at-risk children and youth or families, and establishing a housing authority resident quality of life improvement grant program.
  • Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) Pipeline Pilot involving local universities with the goal of recruiting individuals to pursue law enforcement careers at the state and local level.
  • Expand Explorer Programs by creating a high school elective program focused on learning about law enforcement in which a student can earn credit to graduate. These programs have been successful in multiple communities in building interaction and involvement with young people and officers to build better community relationships.
  • Revisions to 2020 police bill focused on refining the legislation to address concerns raised while also preserving its core intended goals.
  • Allow for use of stop sticks (tire-deflation device) used by law enforcement to safely and quickly stop a vehicle.
  • Funding for social/data intelligence to support investigations and proactive policing involving data driven and intelligence driven solutions and the modernization of intelligence tools.


Learn more at

Click here to read the plan.


Testimony Senate Bill 365