International Justice Exchange
Over the past two decades, Connecticut has taken several steps to reform and improve its prison and overall justice systems. Much of this reform has been guided by the exploration and subsequent utilization of best practices. This includes a historic trip to German prisons by former Governor Dannel Malloy and Department of Correction Commissioner Scott Semple. These experiences were documented in multiple high profile media events, including an examination of the TRUE and WORTH units created at the CT DOC and modeled after aspects of the German prison system.
Guided by a belief that direct exposure to alternate systems is paramount to gaining perspective, the International Justice Exchange is a program designed to provide ground level stakeholders firsthand experiences with justice systems outside of the United States. The first phase is focusing on Norway and Germany, two systems noted for their humane prison conditions, evidence based sentencing practices, and low recidivism and prison rates. The IJE will document these experiences to share with non-participants and support efforts to develop model laws, policies, and regulations to be implemented within Connecticut.
The Institute for Municipal and Regional Policy (IMRP) has been an active stakeholder in criminal justice reform for over 20 years, especially on topics such as: prisoner reentry, sentencing, racial profiling, supporting children with incarcerated parents, and police transparency and accountability. In 2020, the IMRP collaborated with the University Network for Human Rights to both recognize and provide recommendations for justice reform in Connecticut, particularly in light of the Covid epidemic. In Spring of 2022, IMRP expanded this work by establishing relationships with leaders in corrections across the Atlantic. This included the IMRP sponsorship of three webinars on Norway’s corrections systems as rehabilitation, as well as a July 2022 Connecticut/Baden-Württemberg Human Rights Research Consortium (HRRC) workshop in Tübingen, Germany, where Director Clark met with the former director of the Criminology Institute of the University of Tübingen, Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Wulf. This visit laid the groundwork for a Spring 2023 visit by additional Connecticut justice system stakeholders to Tübingen and the state of Baden-Württemberg to learn more of their justice system and continue reform efforts back in Connecticut.