HARTFORD – A budget bill approved by House Democrats Tuesday would allow all violent criminals except the nine men on death row to shave up to nearly a year off their sentences by obeying correctional regulations, Rep. Larry Cafero said today. The intent of the bill was mischaracterized by Democrats who initially insisted during debate that most dangerous felons would not qualify for the “risk reduction earned credit’’ program to be run by the corrections commissioner. In a letter today to his fellow lawmakers Cafero, of Norwalk, said that the matter should be addressed again because the true intent was not made clear:
“Since the bill’s passage, it has come to my attention from Chairman (Gerald) Fox and the Undersecretary of the Office of Policy and Management Michael Lawlor, that representations made on the House floor were inaccurate. In fact, under the bill we passed yesterday, all incarcerated persons, with the exception of persons convicted of a capital felony, will be eligible for these risk reduction earned credits immediately, retroactive to April 1, 2006. The retroactivity contained in the bill could potentially give certain incarcerated persons up to 300 days off their sentences. These incarcerated persons include felons convicted of murder, rape, sexual assault against a minor, arson, armed robbery, home invasion, and burglary. This is a very different policy then the policy we were led to believe was contained in the bill.’’
Republicans said this legislation shows that Malloy administration is more interested in getting potentially violent felons back on the streets than protecting the public from offenders who might commit new crimes upon release. He called upon his colleagues to revisit the issue immediately.
“I thought it was important that I bring this to your attention before the Senate begins debate on the bill and I remain hopeful we can address the situation in the House before we adjourn June 8,’’ Cafero wrote.