A temporary sentencing task force created by the legislature may be set to recommend that it be made permanent. The panel will release its findings and recommendations later this month. One thing it will not do, however, is recommend sentencing guidelines (thank God).
“The judges would have a problem with any permanent commission that is a precursor to guidelines,” said Judge Patrick Carroll, the state’s deputy chief court administrator.
Carroll likely has nothing to worry about.
“We’re not into guidelines in this state – not judges, prosecutors or defense lawyers,” said Thomas Ullmann, a public defender in New Haven who headed the task force subcommittee studying the possibility of a permanent commission.
The story says that CT needs a permanent commission in part because there is no communication between various agencies. Yeah, that’s fine and all, but I think CT needs a sentencing commission or task force more because of the severe disparities in sentences – both geographic and racial – and we need to tackle the overcrowding problem somehow.
It would help lawmakers better understand which types of offenders need to be in prison and who is most likely to reoffend after their release, said state Rep. Michael Lawlor, D-East Haven, a former prosecutor and chairman of the legislature’s Judiciary Committee.
“You don’t want the legislature to just guess at what the solutions might be,” Lawlor said. “And I think that’s what the legislature has done a lot of in the past.”
The commission could determine why Connecticut’s prison population has one of the largest racial disparities in the nation, Lawlor said.
I look forward to their report later this month. So should you.