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Conn. Governor: Treat More Offenders Under 21 As Juveniles

Charles Krupa

Connecticut's governor encouraged the state on Friday to consider raising the age at which criminal offenders can be treated as juveniles.  

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said increasing the cutoff age from 18 to 21 would allow more young offenders to move on with their lives without a criminal record. Connecticut would be the first state in the country to adopt such a change, which would require approval from the state legislature.

It was among several potential initiatives the Democrat outlined during an address at a Connecticut Law Review symposium on criminal justice reform in Hartford.  

"We need to become a society of permanent progress, not permanent punishment. That means we need to continue innovating, and we need to keep leading,'' Malloy said at the event at the University of Connecticut School of Law. "Mass incarceration has, for far too long, jailed a generation of men of color.''

Several elements of the governor's so-called Second Chance Society reforms already have been adopted under a state law that attempts to give nonviolent criminals more opportunities to get drug treatment and successfully reintegrate into society.

Among the other new initiatives, Malloy is suggesting changes to have cases involving offenders between the ages of 21 and 25 heard confidentially, with opportunities to have their records sealed and potentially expunged. 

On bail bond reform, Malloy has asked the Department of Correction to develop a plan to supervise low-risk, pretrial detainees in the community rather than in jail.