Contact: Laurence Grotheer
May 27, 2011
State Senator Joseph J. Crisco, Jr. (D-Woodbridge), Senate chair of the legislature’s Insurance and Real Estate Committee, today praised last night’s approval by the House of Representatives—representing final legislative action—for his bill to reform many bail bonding practices in Connecticut. Last night’s House vote was 129—7; Senator Crisco’s bill was approved unanimously by the Senate May 20th and had previously received unanimous support in four separate legislative committees.
Senator Crisco said one of the most important reforms in his bill eliminates so-called ‘undercutting’ whereby defendants were able to make bail without paying anything, but simply by arranging payment plans with bondsmen.
“A well-publicized case in West Haven just last year, in which a man with a criminal record featuring two recent domestic violence arrests, was released once more only this time to murder his wife, underscored the pressing need we had to enact these reforms in our state,” Senator Crisco said. “Now that this bill is to become law we are better able to ensure the public safety, with bail procedures aligned with the original intent of the practice.”
Senator Crisco said his bill gives the state Department of Insurance greater oversight of the bail bond industry, including a new requirement that the department receive proof from bondsmen that their clients—the defendants—have repaid their bail in full.
“We’re told nearly one-third of all criminal cases nowadays involve some form of domestic violence or abuse with highly charged, emotional issues in dispute, and these reforms will help keep suspected aggressors in these cases behind bars long enough to protect the victims,” Senator Crisco said. “The bill also imposes new guidelines to regulate bondsmen in their solicitation of new business to better safeguard against frenzied competition for better and better repayment deals and unjustifiably lenient bail arrangements.”
Senator Crisco said some of the reforms contained in his bail bond legislation are directly attributable to recommendations made by the state’s Domestic Violence Task Force.
Legislative Office Building
Hartford, CT 06106-1591
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