NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Governor Malloy joined New Haven leaders Tuesday to talk about a “Second Chance Society,” designed to reduce crime and keep people out of prisons, and the effects of mandatory minimum sentences aimed at non violent criminals. He wants to reclassify particular drug offenses, “simple possession,” from a felony to a misdemeanor.
“Criminal justice should not be synonymous with lifelong punishment or a permanent stigma,” said Gov. Malloy. “Offenders should be held accountable, but punishment for non violent offenses should not last a lifetime.”
In cities like Bridgeport, Waterbury, Danbury, Hartford, and New Haven, almost every neighborhood falls within a school zone. East Shore Park in New Haven is one of only two places in New Haven outside of a school zone. The other is the Yale New Haven Golf Course.
“That means residents sitting in their home could be charged with felony drug possession for a small amount of drugs simply because they live in an urban community,” said the Governor. “That is not fair. That is racially discriminatory.”
He says there are currently 500 people jailed in the state on possession charges, but that there’s a better way to handle addiction.
“I think they should put them somewhere, a facility to get them help, mentally help, stuff like that,” said Israel Contreres of New Haven. “If it is a drug dealer, they should get whatever they need to get them out of here.”
“I think programs, we should involve more programs to help the people out with drug problems,” said New Haven’s David Cardona.
Malloy says laws in Connecticut need to be smart on crime.