Connecticut Passes Sentencing Reforms, Taking Effect July 1st 6/15/01

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Faced with prisons stuffed with drug offenders and skyrocketing prison costs, the Connecticut legislature has passed and Gov. John Rowland has signed a bill allowing judges to waive mandatory minimum sentencing requirements for nonviolent drug offenders. Senate Bill 1160 allow judges to deviate from the mandatory minimums, but requires that they must state a reason for doing so in court. An amendment to the bill bars judges from reducing the two-year mandatory minimum for those convicted of distributing drugs to minors or employing them in the drug trade.

In an indication of broad support for relaxing drug penalties, the measure passed both houses of the General Assembly by broad margins: 131 to 17 in the House and 29 to 7 in the Senate. Gov. Rowland signed the bill on June 6th.

At press time, the Connecticut Department of Corrections did not have figures on the number of persons doing time in Connecticut's prisons for drug charges. Since 1990, the state's overall prison population has nearly doubled from 9,000 to 17,000, at a cost of $71 per day per prisoner. Corrections spending in the state during the same period has increased from $186 million in 1989-90 to $470 million in 1999-2000.

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Issue #190, 6/15/01 Dedication: Peter McWilliams, One-Year Later | Editorial: Death Penalties | Supreme Court Nixes Warrantless Heat-Sensor Searches, Oregon Grow-Op Case Updates Fourth Amendment to Deal With New Technologies | Interview: Arnold Trebach on Drug Treatment Abuse, Legalization and the Reform Movement | US-Mexican Border Governors Agree to Look at Drugs as Health, Not Crime, Problem -- Legalization Talk Making US Embassy Nervous | Follow That Story: Tennessee Cop Walks in Botched Drug Raid Killing | New Zealand Parliamentary Cannabis Decrim Inquiry Underway: Medical Association Says Okay, Green MP Leads the Way | The White Dog Goes to Amsterdam -- and You Can, Too | BC Marijuana Party Fissure: Taylor Resigns, Cites Emery's Leadership Style, Plans for Compassion Club Offensive | Connecticut Passes Sentencing Reforms, Taking Effect July 1st | The HEA Campaign and You | Clarence Aaron Clemency Petition | Action Alerts: Drug Czar Nomination, HEA Drug Provision, Mandatory Minimums, Medical Marijuana | Call for Submissions: Fortune News to Examine Crack Cocaine Issues | Job Listings in Harm Reduction Practice and Research: Indiana, New York, California, Missouri, Washington State | The Reformer's Calendar
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