As crime decreases in Connecticut, there has been a significant drop in arrests and in pre-trial commitments to jail. The first six months of 2015 were marked by a significant decline in all data relating to new arrests and admissions to jail, compared to the first six months of 2014. It is worth noting that calendar 2014 had the fewest arrests in more than 40 years.
Between 2008 and 2013, the FBI reported that index crime [crime with victims] dropped 18.2% in Connecticut. During that same period, total statewide arrests dropped 27.3% in Connecticut. During 2013, the most recent year for which reported crime data is available, the FBI reported that violent crime dropped 10% in Connecticut, double the national average of 5% for that year.
We can now report that this trend is continuing, if not accelerating, in 2015.
During the first six months of 2015 total statewide criminal arrests were down 9.3% compared to the first six months of 2014. Total arraignments in court for in-custody new arrests were down 4.8%. Total pre-trial admissions to jail were down 9.2% during the same period.
The overall July 1 jail pre-trial population of prisoners being held because they could not post bail dropped 8.3% compared to July 1, 2014. The sentenced population in Connecticut prisons dropped 2.6%, with an overall drop in inmate population of 3.2% compared to July 1 of last year.
One of the consequences of this continuing drop in admissions to DOC has been the closing of jail beds, including the 204 beds at the Bridgeport Correctional Center resulting in a full year savings of $2.1 million in reduced overtime and related costs.
Governor Malloy’s Second Chance Society initiatives are expected to continue to reduce crime over the next few years by focusing on recidivism reduction, prioritization of violent and firearms offenses and appropriate treatment and supervision of non-violent, low level offenders. The recently opened Reintegration Center at Cybulski Correctional Institution is the first of many Second Chance Society initiatives expected to reduce recidivism and returns to prison.
Connecticut was recently selected as a recipient of the MacArthur Foundation’s national “Safety and Justice Challenge Grant” aimed at safely reducing our jail population and, in particular, reducing the racial disparity in our jails. Connecticut was the only state selected as we are one of the few “unified” prison and jail systems in the nation. Unlike our state, 44 states operate jails at the county level and prisons at the state level.
As part of the grant, Connecticut received $150,000 to prepare a plan by December to continue these reductions in crime and the consequent reduction in arrests and admissions to jail. MacArthur will then select 10 jurisdictions nationwide to each receive $4 million over two years to help implement the successful plans.