HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Gov. Malloy released the second part of his criminal justice reform that he plans to bring to the Legislature this year. It’s called Second Chance 2.0, and is aimed at the youngest of adult offenders. Under his proposal, non-violent offenders will be treated as juveniles up until the age of 21.
At G’s Barber shop on Hartford’s North End, owner Lebert Lester II, believes wholeheartedly in second chances for those coming home from jail.
“What people don’t realize is that after incarcerated, they’re outside of the economic circle,” Lester said.
He brought his concerns straight to Governor Malloy Thursday, after Malloy announced the next steps of his criminal justice reforms. Malloy cites research that the human brain isn’t fully formed until 25, for reasons to up the juvenile age.
“If we want to tackle the cycle of crime and poverty, and we want to change the way we approach criminal justice with long term approaches, then we need to think about this age group today,” Malloy said at a Hartford press conference Thursday.
The governor also wants to eliminate bail for anyone charged with a misdemeanor, non-violent offense. More than 1,000 people are sitting in Connecticut jails right now, because they can’t afford bail of less than $50,000, costing taxpayers money and leading to personal problems.
“You lose your job, you may lose your house,” Malloy said. “You may lose contact with support network or family.”
Back at G’s Barbershop, Lester is trying to do his part. He takes young people in, fresh out of jail, and trains them how to be barbers who can run their own business.
“Once pushed outside, they don’t have means or vessel to be re-introduced (to society),” Lester said. “So as a result, they continue a life of crime.”
All of these proposals have to be approved by state lawmakers. More details will be released next week when the session starts up again.