Government and International Relations Honors Papers

Document Type



MaryAnne Borelli

Publication Date



This paper is restricted to users on the Connecticut College campus until May 18, 2024.


This thesis investigates the Connecticut Sentencing Commission (CSC), evaluating its contributions to reforming the Connecticut criminal justice system. Throughout its first decade, the CSC, an independent agency in the executive branch, has devoted itself to researching and recommending pretrial detention and bail reforms. Its reports have had profound implications for the administration of justice throughout all three branches of the state government, particularly the judiciary. This thesis examines the power and potential of the Connecticut Sentencing Commission by looking at the origins, internal dynamics, and reputation of the CSC, which is uncovered through direct interviews with Commissioners and participant observation of the Commission. The implications of this research push beyond the borders of the Connecticut legal system. Issues and inequities within the criminal justice system persist nationwide, with a specific interest in bail reforms being brought to the forefront in the twenty-first century. With no other comprehensive research being undertaken on the CSC, or its work with bail reform in the state’s criminal justice system, this thesis provides the information and the knowledge to move forward with desperately needed legal change.



The views expressed in this paper are solely those of the author.