Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy has signed his Second Chance Society bill into law, significantly reforming the state’s drug laws.
The new law, in addition to other changes, removes felony charges for the first-time, personal possession of illegal substances, reducing the offense to a misdemeanor. This would reduce the maximum jail sentence to one year, down from seven years.
“By signing this legislation into law, we are making real, systematic change to our state’s crime fighting strategy. We can truly be tough on crime by being smart on crime,” Governor Malloy said before signing the bill. “The cycle our system currently encourages – one of permanent punishment – hurts too many families and communities. When we should have been focusing on permanent reform, we focused on permanent punishment. For too long, we built modern jails instead of modern schools. Because this bill passed, Connecticut has taken a giant step into the future.”
Malloy continued; “That includes assistance with housing, which is in this bill; assistance with job location, which is in this bill; a clearer delineation of pardon and parole procedures and a more activist pardon and parole board, which is in this bill; changing of sentencing requirements, which is in this bill.”
The new law also loosens the penalties for drug possession near schools from a two-year mandatory prison sentence to a Class A misdemeanor.
House Bill 7104 goes into effect on October 1st.