The Justice Imperative: Will Reform Threaten The Safety of Connecticut Citizens?
When one raises the specter of reform aimed at diverting offenders, right-sizing our prisons and facilitating re-entry, the first reaction of many law-abiding citizens understandably is focused on “WHETHER I AND MY FAMILY WILL BE PLACED AT GREATER RISK?” Without being able to answer this question in the negative, the prospects for enacting reform and effecting a meaningful cut in our prison population likely vanish.
In the face of this political reality, the editors of this book have endeavored to keep the public safety implications of reform top-of-mind in assessing the wisdom of alternative approaches to incarceration. In our consideration of “best practices” and in making specific recommendations, we have rigorously considered whether adoption of a specific practice or approach will place the public at greater risk of physical harm. If, in our collective judgment, the answer was yes, we eliminated any such practice or approach from further consideration.
We believe, with a high degree of confidence, that adoption of each of our recommendations will not jeopardize the public. Our belief is rooted, in large part, in the experience of other states that have implemented prison or sentencing reforms and/or right-sized their prison populations, including most notably New York. New York has achieved a significant reduction in its prison population over the past decade, while reducing the level of criminal activity, including violent crime rates.
Relevant statistics in Connecticut strongly suggest that a dramatic cut in the number of incarcerated individuals can be realized at no cost in terms of public safety. Indeed, reform, if carried out properly, may yield improvements in public safety, particularly in urban areas where the overwhelming majority of violent crime occurs in Connecticut (i.e., Hartford, New Haven, Bridgeport and Waterbury). In suburban communities, one would not expect any adverse impact from the reforms recommended herein. The taxpayers in such communities would likely realize tax relief and/or better results for their hard-earned tax dollars.
See More: Please go to Chapter Thirteen in “The Justice Imperative”