Lawmakers discuss reforming 3 strikes law

The July homicides of a Cheshire woman and her two daughters has spurred state lawmakers to investigate making parole and sentencing reforms in Connecticut.

An informational hearing was held Monday where criminal justice experts from across the country addressed a Legislature committee on possible reforms to state parole and sentencing guidelines.

One proposal offered would add mandatory sentencing to the state's "three strikes law" for repeat violent offenders. Other reforms being suggested include the reclassification of home invasions to a violent crime and expanding the use of the GPS system in monitoring parolees.

"We are certainly open to reform if that is appropriate," said state Sen. Andrew J. McDonald (D - Stamford/Darien).

Others, like David Samuels of the Clean Slate Committee, said longer sentences aren't necessarily the solution.

"The call is always get tougher, hang them higher," said Samuels. "What we are saying is time has proven that does not work. We need a new public safety model. We need rehabilitation for inmates, vocational training."

Lawmakers said they are planning public hearings to continue discussion on the issue.

Related information:Judiciary Committee Testimony on Parole and Sentencing GuidelinesThree Strikes and You're Out: Stop Repeat OffendersA Better Way Foundation

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