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Connecticut commits to ‘moving justice forward’ with new plan

Molly Ingram
New Haven Superior Court.

The Connecticut justice system has released findings from a study called "Moving Justice Forward” which has been in the works for two years.

The study results have helped to produce an action plan to address inequities in the system.

Moving Justice Forward is a ten-point action plan that includes better prosecutor training, diverse staff recruitment, improving cohesion across the 13 state attorney offices and increasing transparency.

Deputy Chief State’s Attorney John Russotto said the project had input from judges, lawyers, justice-impacted individuals and activists — who all want to make the system better.

“The Division is doing this so that the citizens of our state, those living in our local communities, have faith in their criminal justice system,” Russotto said. “Seemingly on a daily basis, we are confronted with negative stories about our justice system, and in many instances, deservedly so. This has been and will continue to be our greatest challenge.”

Just under 90 individuals with experience in the justice system were interviewed for the project while it was in full swing, which took place over 11 months.

It was funded by the Herbert & Nell Singer Foundation. It examined topics such as case initiation, charging, plea-bargaining, sentencing, bail and prosecutor caseloads in four of the state’s judicial districts; Hartford, New Britain, New London and Danbury.

Chief State’s Attorney Patrick Griffin said the department is constantly examining itself in an attempt to best serve Connecticut residents.

“Justice can't be held in your hands,” Griffin said. “You can't smell it, you can't touch it, you can't feel it. But when it's taken from you, you know it's gone. It's like air, it's like oxygen. We talk about moving justice forward. But that is the crucial aspect of our work to try to seek justice every single day, in every single disposition.”

Moving Justice Forward is a living document that will be updated every year, according to Griffin.

Molly is a reporter covering Fairfield County. She also produces Long Story Short, a podcast exploring public policy issues across Connecticut.