The Connecticut Judicial System Today and Tomorrow: Attorney Michael Blanchard to make opening remarks at Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut's Business Breakfast

Attorney Michael A. Blanchard will make the opening remarks at an upcoming Business Breakfast for the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut. The event will be held at the New London Holiday Inn at 7:45 a.m. on April 7, 2015.

Judge John Newson, Superior Court Judge, Criminal Division, will discuss the system as a whole, diversion programs, and probation services designed to reintegrate criminal offenders into the community to best serve our state. Also, guests will learn what might happen with the Governor's new proposals for "second chance" programs.

On February 3, 2015, Governor Malloy's office issued a press release titled "'Second Chance Society' Initiatives to Further Reduce Crime, Re-Integrate Nonviolent Offenders into Society." Below is the announcement:

Governor Dannel P. Malloy today gave a major public policy address at Yale Law School in New Haven, where he unveiled a series of "Second Chance Society" initiatives designed to continue the progress being made in reducing the state's dropping crime rate, which is currently at a 48-year low, as well ensuring nonviolent offenders are being reintegrated into society and become productive members of Connecticut's economy.

"These initiatives build upon the progress we've made in recent years reducing crime rates across Connecticut. They will help break the cycle of crime and poverty that hurts too many families and communities," Governor Malloy said. "Make no mistake, a crime is a crime. Offenders should be held accountable and there should be punishment. But punishments for nonviolent offenses should not last a lifetime. They should not destroy a person's hope for redemption or a better future. These initiatives will allow our law enforcement professionals and our courts to focus on serious crime and to better pursue and punish violent felons, putting them behind bars for longer sentences."

Governor Malloy is proposing to take action on five key areas:

- Reclassifying certain nonviolent offenses
-Eliminating mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug possession
-Streamlining our parole system to make it more efficient and effective
-Streamlining our pardons system to give ex-offenders a greater chance at employment
- Creating real job and housing opportunities for ex-offenders

The Governor noted that these policy initiatives come as a new, bipartisan national consensus is building behind a Second Chance Society in states across the country, including in Texas, Mississippi, Georgia, and Alabama.

Over the last four years in Connecticut, a number of new initiatives have been implemented that are having a strong impact on reducing the crime rate in the state. These include:

-Reforms to the juvenile justice system, working to close the school to prison pipeline
-Restoration of the state's crime lab to eliminate backlogs and restore it to best-in-the-nation status
-Integration of federal, state, and local law enforcement into communities through community policing and programs such as Project Longevity
-Removal of dangerous guns from the streets with gun buy backs, and approval of gun violence prevention legislation
-Targeting violent offenders in communities and putting them away for longer sentences

Statistics for Connecticut show that today, crime is at a 48-year low. Over the last four years, violent crime is down 36 percent and criminal arrests have decreased by nearly 28 percent. Violent crime in the state's three largest cities has fallen 15 percent since 2008.

"Because of these policies, fewer innocent people have been victimized and violent offenders are serving more time in prison than ever before," Governor Malloy said. "But we can't be a perpetually punitive society. We have to do better in Connecticut. We have to become a Second Chance Society where we don't permanently punish nonviolent offenders, swelling our prisons and creating lifetime criminals out of people who made one mistake. Let's focus on effective solutions that break the cycle of crime and make our communities safer."

The Governor's initiatives will be included in his legislative package of proposals for the 2015 session of the General Assembly. He will continue to roll out executive action furthering the goals of his Second Chance Society initiatives in the coming days and weeks.