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Posted inCT Viewpoints

Gov. Malloy, you can grant parolees the right to vote

Six months ago, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order that provisionally pardoned the people on parole in the state – 35,000 in all. It was the fact that the New York State Assembly had just refused to refranchise paroled would-be voters that motivated Cuomo to take bold action. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy needs to follow Cuomo’s example and take action by himself to restore voting rights to people who are currently on parole in Connecticut.

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Disenfranchising felons from the vote isn’t just wrong; it’s dumb

House Bill 5418, An Act Restoring Electoral Privileges to Felony Convicts Who Are on Parole, already has 31 Democratic co-sponsors but no public Republican support. As the bill nears a vote in the final days of the 2018 General Assembly, this is a mistake for Connecticut’s GOP. Connecticut Republicans need to support HB 5418 because they stand to gain as much as the Democrats do by refranchising parolees in Connecticut.

Posted inCT Viewpoints

CT prison education cuts likely to hurt rehabilitation effort

Just this month, The Crime Report – a publication out of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York – congratulated Connecticut as a model of prison reform, saying the rates of imprisonment in the state are the lowest they’ve been in 20 years. The party seems premature, even undeserved when one knows what’s really happening inside the state’s prisons. As a part of Gov. Dannel Malloy’s budget cutting frenzy, Connecticut’s correctional education – the programming most likely to aid a prisoner’s rehabilitation – is disappearing.

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Prison gerrymandering should end in Connecticut

In the two years since I left York Correctional Institution, I’ve earned a reputation for having an opinion on anything related to prison. Shifting inmates to hospitals instead of prisons? Don’t bother – the treatment in both are the same. Ban the Box? Nice start – but doesn’t go far enough. Our Governor, Dannel Malloy, is the ultimate criminal justice reformer? Not really, at least not yet. On prison gerrymandering – the practice of counting prisoners in the town in which they are incarcerated instead of their hometowns for the U.S. census – I have an opinion, too; the phenomenon should be called something else.

Posted inCT Viewpoints

Paid family leave act could help CT economy and prevent foreclosures

As part of my work for the Women’s Economic Agenda for Connecticut Working Families, I spent the legislative session collecting the stories of women who earn, on average, $15,000 per year. Many don’t have any health insurance outside of Title 19 and they have no savings. Lack of paid family leave devastated their lives when they gave birth or underwent surgery. As a result, many have lost all hope that they can ever own a home. But higher income Connecticut residents – homeowners – are affected by the lack of paid family and medical leave as well, perhaps in even more drastic ways and they don’t even know it. Here’s why a state-funded study on the issue is essential.