CT Senate GOP Leaders’ Statement on Criminal Justice Reform Bill Passed Today

May 4, 2022

Kelly, Formica, Kissel: “This bill begins to address symptoms, but fails to address root causes of crime.”


HARTFORD – 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, released the following joint statement regarding the Senate’s passage of House Bill 5417 An Act Concerning Juvenile Justice and Services, Firearms Background Checks, and Larceny of Motor Vehicle:


“This bill begins to address the symptoms but fails to address the root causes of crime. We applaud many of the measures contained in this bill to improve how Connecticut responds to crime involving juvenile offenders. But we are disappointed that our colleagues voted against our amendment to adopt a holistic approach to not only establish appropriate consequences to respond to crime, but also to prevent crime, to create opportunity and hope, and to rehabilitate by looking at the big picture.


“When we met with advocates, law enforcement, community leaders, and public defenders they all agreed that Connecticut needs a holistic approach to address crime, justice, and opportunity. And that’s what Senate Republicans proposed in our Better Way to a Safer Connecticut plan, and what we offered in the amendment we proposed. That’s what’s missing from the bill approved today. It includes important measures to respond to crime. But it does not deter someone from going down a path that leads to crime in the first place. If passed, this bill will help in responding to crime, but it will not stop a life of crime from starting,” said Sens. Kelly, Formica, and Kissel.


The amendment Senate Republicans offered, which was rejected by Senate Democrats would have added the following policies:


  • 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.