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Our Connecticut State Legislators,
I am on the Board of Directors of Family ReEntry, an essential nonprofit agency serving released inmates and their families in Fairfield and New Haven Counties.
Some relevant points for you to consider:
Find Another Way: Please attempt to meet the projected budget deficits without devastating the nonprofit human services and criminal justice (CJ) sectors. Even a small reduction in these sectors will have a devastating and lasting ripple effect. In the long-term, these cuts will increase costs and leave a legacy of human and social destruction.
Plan Long-Term: Create a long term State Budget plan that funds human services and community justice at appropriate levels that maintain quality of care and a stable workforce. Nonprofits are businesses throughout the State – vital to the State’s economy and its ability to attract new businesses.
Don’t Compromise Public Safety: Cuts to the criminal justice sector will result in decreased public safety (and commensurate costs) and setback much needed criminal justice system reforms (with commensurate human, societal, and financial costs).
Don’t Retreat: Decimating the community justice sector and the mental health and substance abuse sectors will make future structural changes and savings much less likely. “You cannot build an effective and efficient criminal justice system on a weak crumbling foundation destroyed in fiscal years 16, 17, and 18.”
Consider Alternative Solutions: Although long-term structural changes are needed in the State’s Budget, the only way to achieve the long-term fiscal and policy goals without major setbacks is a combination of carefully targeted and realistic expense reductions and some increases in revenue. Consider other investment strategies in the nonprofit sector, such as Social Impact Bonds and similar instruments.
Focus on Effectiveness: Like other providers in the CJ sector, Family ReEntry is a high-impact, cost-effective provider of community justice services for reentering citizens, those suffering from mental health & substance abuse, perpetrators of family/domestic violence, and at-risk youth and families. These services are proven to decrease costs, increase public safety, reduce victimization, and create a climate for business growth in the State.
I have confidence in you and all the leadership to recognize that Connecticut holds a unique position in this country – we have a safe place to live and work that leads the nation in social reform. It is inconsistent and simply wrong to cut funding at a time when the Federal government and our sister states finally recognize the scope and severity of criminal justice, mental health and substance abuse problems, and are redoubling their efforts and funding to find solutions.
We need to keep moving forward and use justice reinvestment strategies to provide an ever safer, more secure and more enlightened place for our children to grow and prosper. We must keep our eye on the long-term prize, not cave to short-term budget demands. Otherwise, what do we have left?
Please feel free to call upon me if I can provide any service in this regard.
Thank you for your consideration of these critical issues.
Rev. Jeff Grant
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