Lawmakers to vote on bail reform bill

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HARTFORD - Lawmakers will vote Thursday on a bail reform bill that would virtually end pre-trial detention for those charged with misdemeanors who can't afford bail.

As part of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's criminal justice reform here in Connecticut, the plan would save the state about $15 million a year in prison costs and eliminate unfair incarceration for poor people charged with minor crimes.

Under the proposal, a judge would be prohibited from setting cash bail for anyone facing only a misdemeanor with the exception of people seems by judges to be an immediate threat to others and those charged with failure to appear.

Judges would be allowed to impose conditions like GPS monitoring.

On Wednesday, the Governor released a statement saying 348 inmates accused of misdemeanors would not be in jail if his proposal was law. He also said studies show low-risk defendants are more likely to re-offend the longer they are detained which ultimately costs the state more money.

The Governor is scaling back his Second Chance Society Legislation. He originally proposed changing the age of a youth offender from 17 to 20, but lawmakers argued it would make the state look soft on crime so Malloy agreed to only move forward with his proposed bail reforms. Some Republicans argue the bail bill's language needs to be more specific.

The House of Representatives will vote on the bill this afternoon while nothing has been set for the Senate.