Public Safety is at Risk Because of New Early Release Prison Program

The Judiciary Committee held a hearing in Hartford and the early release prison program was put under the microscope.

Hartford, CT – Senator Tony Guglielmo (R-Stafford) joins the Office of Victim Advocate (OVA), legislative leaders and the ranking members of the Judiciary Committee in asking the administration to suspend the Risk Reduction Earned Credit Program. At a hearing on Tuesday in Hartford at the Legislative Office Building some startling facts were revealed by the OVA.

“When our victim advocate tells a committee of lawmakers – on the record - that The  Department of Correction has released 7,589 prisoners – many of whom were convicted of violent felonies –under this program in the first year alone and that nearly 34% are now back in jail because they have committed more crimes – it’s disturbing,” said Sen. Guglielmo.

This new Connecticut law allows violent felons to get weeks, months, and even years taken off their prison sentences. In some instances the credits are retroactive to 2006.

A beneficiary of the early release program, Frankie Resto received 199 days of credit through this program and got out of prison early.  But after being out of prison for only two months, Resto was arrested by police for allegedly murdering a 70 year old convenience store clerk in Meriden.

“Resto should still be behind bars,” said Sen. Guglielmo. “Instead he earned credits and was released.  Now a family has lost their father and grandfather in a horrific way.”

The State’s Victim Advocate (OVA), Michelle Cruz says many of the offenders are being granted RREC for simply signing up for a program without completing the program. Cruz also found inmates earning risk reduction credits for enrolling in programs they do not need. (ie - a sex offender who signs up for programs such as study of the Philippines and receives credit for early release.)

“I have had reservations about this program since it was first brought up for debate. I voted against it on the floor of the senate. It is rewarding violent and reckless people who should be serving the time they were sentenced too,” said Sen. Guglielmo.

Senator Guglielmo is a ranking member of the Public Safety Committee.

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Jim G. September 26, 2012 at 05:33 PM
The reductions in sentence are typically trivial - a few percent of the total. While cases like Resto are tragic, does anyone really think another 199 days in the clink would have kept him from another violent crime within weeks of release? So 34% of early release cons were back in the can within a year... is that any different from the overall recidivism rate? The whole argument is a toot in a whirlwind. Oh, and while I'm happy to hear directly from the Senator, I think turning the essay into a boldfaced names column is a little excessive.


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