The Judicial Branch laid off 126 employees Thursday, but that’s only the beginning.
Most of the layoffs involved juvenile detention officers and trainees, but more are expected.
Judge Patrick L. Carroll said they are reviewing Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s latest budget proposal to determine the impact it will have on court operations, but it appears to cut $11 million more than it did in February. This means the total cut to the Judicial Branch would be about $75 million, according to Carroll.
“This is a significantly disproportionate cut, since the Judicial Branch budget represents only 3 percent of the overall state budget,” Carroll said in a statement.
Carroll said a $75 million cut will have an impact on the services the branch is able to offer.
“We want to be clear that a cut of this magnitude would severely restrict, for the foreseeable future, the substantial gains the Branch has made in access to justice; in diversifying its workforce; and in providing opportunities for adult and juvenile offenders to become productive citizens through its alternatives to incarceration programs,” Carroll said.
After an unrelated event Thursday, Malloy said he doesn’t run the court system so any changes to that branch of government would be up to the administrators of the court system.
“I think that in the last number of years we’ve cut the backlog of civil cases,” Malloy said. “We’ve cut the backlog of criminal cases. We’ve eliminated a lot of criminal arrests, as a result of decriminalizing marijuana … so we have made the system more effective and efficient.”
But Carroll pointed out that even with the smaller cut issued in February, the branch was going to have to lay off employees and close courthouses.
The February budget cut already would have resulted “in a significant number of layoffs, the closing of courthouses, the reduction in alternative to incarceration programs and the discontinuation of the Branch’s long-standing policy of staffing the 24-hour lockup facilities for the cities of Hartford and New Haven,” Carroll said.
He encouraged the executive and legislative branches to provide the necessary resources to the Judicial Branch so it can fulfill its responsibilities.
There are currently about 3,900 full-time judicial branch employees and judges. There are more than 31,200 executive branch employees, not counting higher education. Malloy has said he plans on reducing the state workforce by 2,500 positions.