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Key Questions for CT's Next Chief State’s Attorney

Reform advocates hope the next chief state’s attorney will support closing Connecticut's supermax prison, the Northern Correctional Institution in Somers. (aquatarkus/Adobe Stock)
Reform advocates hope the next chief state’s attorney will support closing Connecticut's supermax prison, the Northern Correctional Institution in Somers. (aquatarkus/Adobe Stock)
December 13, 2019

HARTFORD, Conn. – Connecticut needs a new chief state's attorney, and criminal justice reform advocates want to know where the candidates for the job stand on issues of mass incarceration and racial justice.

With the resignation of Kevin Kane earlier this month, the Criminal Justice Commission will soon appoint the state's next top prosecutor.

The American Civil Liberties Union’s Smart Justice Campaign is asking those seeking the job to answer a list of 17 questions on criminal justice reform.

According to Gus Marks-Hamilton, a field organizer with Smart Justice, this will be the first time the state has chosen a new chief state's attorney since 2006.

"This is an opportunity for everyone in Connecticut to learn about the values and priorities of the candidates who want to be the most powerful prosecutor in our state," he states.

The ACLU is asking candidates to respond to the questions by the end of this month. Officials hope to have a new chief state's attorney appointed by February.

The top prosecutor supports the 13 state's attorneys and plays a major role in shaping Connecticut's criminal justice policies.

Marks-Hamilton maintains the state needs a head prosecutor who is focused on what he calls "de-carceration."

"Finding alternatives to incarcerating people, finding ways to rehabilitate people, finding ways to treat people as opposed to putting them in jails and prisons," he explains.

Over the past decade, many states across the country have sharply reduced their jail and prison populations.

The number of people incarcerated in Connecticut has been reduced by about one-third.

Marks-Hamilton predicts the process of appointing a new chief state's attorney will set the stage for what comes next.

"It's an opportunity for us to keep the momentum going, so that we can make Connecticut a stronger state – a more fair state – for all of our residents, including people who are involved in the criminal legal system," he states.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - CT