Judiciary Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

SB-1114

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING THE COMMISSION ON RACIAL AND ETHNIC DISPARITY IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM.

Vote Date:

4/9/2015

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Substitute

PH Date:

3/23/2015

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Judiciary Committee

REASONS FOR BILL:

To implement the recommendations of the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparity in the Criminal Justice System.

Substitute Language “A representation of a coalition will made up of…

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Division of Criminal Justice: Supports this bill. After nearly fifteen years in existence, the Commission assembled a working group to review its mission. This legislation is the result of that thoughtful process. The changes proposed will make the Commission more inclusive by providing for a representative of the Asian Pacific American community and better focus the efforts of the Commission, particularly with an emphasis on multi-agency forums and training.

Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparity in the Criminal Justice System, Honorable Lubbie Harper, Jr., Chair: Supports this bill. The purpose of this bill is twofold. It would; (1) expand the Commission's membership and purview by broadening the populations it represents; and (2) refine the Commissions' charge to more closely reflect the Commission expertise and strengths, as evidenced by the good work that the Commission has engaged in for nearly 15 years.

African-American Affairs Commission, Subria Gordon, Legislative Analyst: Supports this bill. This legislation inserts language about the mission of the commission making it clear that the goal is to address overrepresentation of minorities in the criminal justice system. The new language removes language that relates to juvenile justice, as in recent years there have been a number of new groups and commissions formed that are dedicated to dealing with juvenile justice issues. Also a part of this bill is the deletion of requirements that are unable to be fulfilled due to the fact that this is a volunteer board with very little staff resources.

State Victim Advocate, Natasha M. Pierre, Esq.: Supports this bill. The OVA participated in the discussion on the Commission and the following amendment seems to have been omitted from the bill: In Section 1. Section 51-10c(b) insert the following sentence after “Communities.” The commission's purview shall include consideration of the impact that racial and ethnic disparity in the criminal justice system has on victims of crime.

Office of the Chief Public Defender: Supports this bill. The goals that have been set for the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparity in the Criminal Justice system are important ones. In actual practice, however, a number of individual mandates have proven overly burdensome to a Commission with a small budget and volunteer staff. The Commission now seeks to change its statutory charge without diluting the overall goal of reducing disparity in the administration of justice through a narrowed focus on manageable and measurable objectives. Additionally, expansion of its membership and revision of its charge will also make the Commission more efficient and effective.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyers Assoc, Elisa L. Villa, President: Supports this bill. This bill articulates the Commission's mission more precisely and includes improved descriptive language concerning the particular manner in which the Commission shall proceed in the future to accomplish its mission. Subsection (1) thru (6) of Section 1(b) explicitly outline the avenues the Commission will follow to be more inclusive, to educate stakeholders and policy makers, and to effectively address the factors that lead to racial and ethnic disparity in the criminal justice system.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

None submitted

Reported by: George Marinelli

Date: 4-21-15