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Testimony to the Connecticut General Assembly Judiciary Committee

In support of Senate Bill 691

March 29, 2019

Co-chairs Sen. Winfield & Rep. Stafstrom; Ranking Members Sen. Kissel & Rep. Rebimbas; and Members of Judiciary Committee, thank you for this opportunity to testify.  I am here in support of SB 691.

My name is Ms. R.  I am part of the Greater Hartford Reentry Council.  

In 2008 I was convicted of a felony for 2 DUI’s for driving under the influence of prescription medication and served 4 months at York Correctional Institute. At that time I had several complicated surgeries and sincerely regret these incidents. I have been denied employment in numerous cases because many employers will not hire anyone with a felony regardless of the circumstances. I applied for an expungement at seven years but was denied because I was told I needed more time.  More recently in 2018 I was convicted of two misdemeanors for larceny in the 6th degree. I was unemployed for 16 months and stole groceries. I know what I did was wrong. I have been denied employment for this as well.

Today I remain clean, sober and healthy. I’ve been fortunate to be hired into a good jobs despite my background because employers see my work and degrees and have been willing to give me a chance. However, should I wish to change jobs, these convictions will continue to haunt me. I have received results of background checks as the reason for denial of employment. I am looking for a second job and the larcenies prevent me from being hired into retail work. The felony still shows up in a background check although it’s been 11 years. I am currently applying for a Masters degree in Counseling and am being asked for an explanation for these convictions. Acceptance is not guaranteed.

I have made serious mistakes and served time, done community service, followed all requirements for probation and other court rulings including treatment. Today I am a productive tax paying employee and wish for second chances and forgiveness. This bill reflects hope for those of us who have been convicted to move forward in their lives and secure housing, credit, and employment. I respectfully request that you approve this bill. I believe strongly that if persons have successfully complied with all requirements and are doing their best to recover and move forward, that we all deserve opportunities for a good future. Thank you again for giving me this opportunity to testify.



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