The chief justice of the state Supreme Court objected Wednesday to a provision of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s budget that would absorb employees and court services provided by the Judicial Branch into the Executive Branch.
The proposal, which was included in Malloy’s “Second Chance Society” initiative, would take court-run supervision and re-entry programs as well as about 1,500 employees of the Judicial Branch and reassign them into the Correction Department and Department of Children and Families.
Chief Justice Chase T. Rogers issued a statement objecting to Malloy’s effort to “dismantle” the judiciary’s Court Support Services Division.
“Our concern is that we have seen no evidence substantiating how this proposal will result in greater efficiencies or better outcomes in the criminal justice system, the juvenile justice system, or the family court system,” she said. “Additionally, we do not agree that the proposal will result in budgetary savings.”
Rogers said the division’s programs and assessment tools have been crafted over 30 years and are nationally recognized.
“These programs and tools are fully integrated into the court process and are utilized by judges every day to best serve the criminal justice system, the juvenile justice system, and the family court system in Connecticut,” she said.
Malloy’s budget director, Office of Policy and Management Secretary Benjamin Barnes, said the administration was seeking to consolidate “overlapping” functions between the Executive and Judicial branches to save money.
“These are alternative to incarceration programming … supervision of people out on parole or probation or other kinds of early release programs, reentry programs,” he said. “We’re providing these both in the Judicial Branch and in the Executive Branch.”
Barnes said the consolidation would “streamline” the services and make them more cost efficient. In her statement, Rogers disagreed.
Asked if the administration could make the change over the objections of the Judicial Branch, Barnes said it was up to lawmakers, who received Malloy’s roughly $40 billion two-year budget Wednesday.
“The matter is, as of today, in the hands of the Legislative Branch. … The decisions about budgeting is a function of the legislature and the governor. The Judicial Branch is free to express their opinions about that, as they have done today,” he said.