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Congresswoman Esty Proposes Criminal Justice System Reforms

U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty
U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty Photo Credit: File

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (CT-5) has partnered with Republican Bruce Poliquin (R-Maine) to co-sponsor the bipartisan Safe, Accountable, Fair and Effective Justice Act of 2015, which follows a two-year comprehensive review of the federal criminal justice system by the U.S. House Judiciary Committee’s Over-Criminalization Task Force.

The legislation seeks to reduce recidivism, concentrate prison space on violent and career criminals, increase the use of evidence-based alternatives to incarceration, curtail over-criminalization, reduce crime and save money.

“For far too long, we have added criminal codes to the books, invested in our prison system, and failed to implement smart reforms that effectively deter recidivism and strengthen our communities,” said Esty. “There’s no need to reinvent the wheel here. States across the country, including Connecticut, are repealing ineffective policies that harm our families and communities. It’s time for the federal government to do the same.”

"This is yet another example of bipartisan, common-sense criminal justice reform. As we have demonstrated in Connecticut, these reforms will reduce violent crime by equipping law enforcement professionals with the tools needed to focus their efforts on high-risk, dangerous criminals, keeping our communities safer," said Gov. Dannel Malloy.

Since 1980, Congress steadily has increased the size and scope of the federal criminal code, and today there are more than 4,500 crimes on the books. During the same period, federal prison spending increased annually by 595 percent, adjusted for inflation.

The proposed legislation will reduce the cost of federal sentencing and corrections and will reinvest the savings in law enforcement and community initiatives, Etsy said.

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