Kelly, Formica, Kissel: Criminal Justice Bill Begins to Address Symptoms, But Fails to Address Root Causes of Crime

April 27, 2022

Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly (R-Stratford), Senate Republican Leader Pro Tempore Paul Formica (R-East Lyme), and Senator John A. Kissel (R-Enfield), ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, are calling on lawmakers to not let the opportunity to address the root causes of crime slip away.


Sen. Kelly, Sen. Formica, and Sen. Kissel released the following statement on House Bill 5417 An Act Concerning Juvenile Justice and Services, Firearms Background Checks, and Larceny of Motor Vehicle.


“The bill anticipated to come before the House begins to address the symptoms of crime in Connecticut, but it fails to address the root causes. It includes important measures to respond to crime. But it does not deter someone from going down a path that leads to crime first place. If passed, this bill will help in responding to crime, but it will not stop crime,” said Sens. Kelly, Formica, and Kissel.


“What Connecticut needs is a holistic approach to address crime, justice, and opportunity in our state. That’s what we heard when we met with advocates, law enforcement, community leaders, and public defenders across Connecticut.  And that’s what Senate Republicans put forward in our comprehensive plan for a Better Way to a Safer Connecticut. We must not only improve crime response, but we must also address the root causes of crime related to education, opportunity, trauma, housing and jobs. We must support law enforcement, address recruitment, and ensure there is proactive policing in partnership with the community in every town and city.


“The sum of our proposal is far greater than its parts. We need a comprehensive solution, and we have offered one. But instead of pursuing a holistic approach, the bill before the House today takes a piecemeal approach. We thank lawmakers on both sides of the aisle for working to advance the measures contained in the House Bill, but the package is incomplete. Justice reforms and opportunity must go hand in hand. You cannot address one without the other.”


The Senate Republican proposals NOT included in House Bill 5417, which Senate Republicans believe are crucial components to advance to prevent crime include:


  • Intervention and Services. Support for community programs focused on trauma, truancy, mediation, and mentorship


  • Opportunity and Jobs.


  • Workforce Development – Path to Career programs to better connect young people to opportunities and careers including through apprenticeship program enhancements, access to financial aid, and information sharing on alternative paths to careers.
  • Pipeline for CT’s Future program with schools and local businesses to provide direct employment opportunities for Connecticut youth and promote entrepreneurship among high school students.
    • Summer jobs program 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. 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 Recruitment & Community Relationships
    • Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) Pipeline Pilot. A pilot program involving local universities with the goal of recruiting individuals to pursue law enforcement careers at the state and local level.
    • Expand Explorer Programs. Expanding successful “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.


  • Law Enforcement Support
    • Funding for Social/Data Intelligence. Investigations and proactive policing have become very much data driven and intelligence driven in recent years. Social media and online data can help officers prevent crime before situations escalate. This proposal seeks to ensure funding is available to assist police departments in budgeting for the modernization of intelligence tools.
    • Targeted revisions to the 2020 police bill to refine the legislation, while preserving its core intended goals to hold bad actors accountable, without having a chilling effect on proactive policing.


Read the Senate Republicans proposed Better Way to a Safer Connecticut.