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ACLU Poll Shows Strong Support for Criminal Justice Reform

The Hartford Courant details our poll on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut which found there is strong support for criminal justice reform.

A new poll commissioned by the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut found strong support for criminal justice reform.

Nearly 75 percent of respondents—including a sampling of Democrats, Republicans and unaffiliated voters— support alternatives to prison and said offenders should be encouraged to work to improve themselves. The overwhelming majority said the purpose of the criminal justice system is to deter people from committing crimes and “to get offenders back on a path to being good, law-abiding people.”

Only 20 percent said the purpose of the system is “to punish people.”

Nearly 60 percent said it is very important or somewhat important to reduce Connecticut’s prison population— with most saying that doing so would help communities save taxpayer dollars that could be reinvested to prevent crime and rehabilitating offenders.

The survey, conducted between September 5 and September 10, included 507 telephone interviews with registered Connecticut voters across the state who said they were likely to vote in the 2018 gubernatorial election. Thirty-five percent of participants identified as conservative, 34 percent as liberal, and 29 percent as moderate.

Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has been a strong proponent of criminal justice reform. But Malloy gets low ratings in this poll: just 28 percent of respondents had a favorable view of him while 63 percent expressed an unfavorable view.

The two men running for governor—Republican Bob Stefanowski and Democrat Ned Lamont—remain unknown to a large swath of the voting population, according to the ACLU of Connecticut survey: 25 percent have no opinion or haven’t heard of Lamont, while 39 percent said the same of Stefanowski.


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