Democratic Gov. Teams With Kochs To Push Criminal Justice Reform

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Anders Hagstrom Justice Reporter
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The Koch Industry worked together with Democratic Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy to push a criminal justice reform at a Connecticut conference Thursday.

Justice reform is one of the few topics in the nation that both sides have consistently found common ground on in the past eight years, and bringing the famously libertarian Koch brothers together with a staunch Democrat such as Malloy is only the most recent proof. Mallow said the Koch brothers “don’t normally do things with me,” but when he called to ask the Koch Industry to help fund his “Reimagining Justice” conference, they agreed, CTNewsjunky reported.

“There are some pretty strange bedfellows here,” Valerie Jarret, a former senior advisor to President Barack Obama said in a speech to attendees.

Malloy has pushed bail and juvenile justice reform all spring, asking legislators to allow defendants under the age of 21 to be tried in juvenile courts, raising the cap from 18. He also pushed for lower bails to allow more people to live at home off the taxpayers’ dime before trials.

Each policy is part of a national push to lower incarceration rates. If Mallow is successful in pushing his reforms, Connecticut will join a growing group of states that have passed large-scale criminal justice reform this spring, including Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Illinois.

Malloy pushed similar legislation in 2016, but legislators rejected the idea of an omnibus reform package. Malloy has accommodated many of their concerns with his new legislation, breaking it up into several bills and making changes requested by judges and prosecutors.

Malloy has criticized the current justice system for imprisoning, but not rehabilitating, convicts. He hopes to both lower prison populations and reduce recidivism by changing inmates, not just punishing them.

“What we’re trying to do is make sure we are taking all the steps necessary to have a corrections department that corrects behaviors,” Malloy said at the conference.

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