State Representatives Rosa C. Rebimbas (R-70) and David K. Labriola (R-131) spoke out today along with the State’s Victim Advocate on the controversial Risk Reduction Earned Credits (RREC) Program, and the role it may have played in two recent murders.
The Program, which passed last year despite unanimous Republican opposition, allows criminals who committed crimes such as rape, arson, kidnapping or sexual molestation of a child under 13 out of jail early if they exhibit good behavior while incarcerated.
The divisive law sparked outrage following two separate instances when prisoners were released from jail early and shortly thereafter committed murder.
“I expressed concerns from the beginning that this Program would send some of our most heinous criminals back into the community prematurely,” said Rep. Rebimbas, a Member of the Public Safety and Security Committee. “As a result, Connecticut families now must face the heartbreaking consequences of weak criminal justice policies.”
Neither the Department of Corrections nor the Under Secretary for Criminal Justice Policy, Michael Lawlor, have been willing to explain how the program is currently being implemented.
“This program poses a major threat to our state’s criminal justice system,” said Rep. Labriola, a Member of the Judiciary Committee. “Felons convicted of these brutal, violent crimes simply should not be eligible for “Risk Reduction” Credits. My great fear is we may see additional horrific crimes occur as more and more criminals accrue these credits daily.”
In June a 70-year-old small business owner was shot and killed at his Meriden convenience store. The man arrested for that murder earned 199 days of Risk Reduction Credits while serving time for robbery. In August, an East Hartford store clerk was also murdered. The man arrested, who was previously convicted of robbery and assault, was released early from jail this year due the Early Release Program.
A coalition of lawmakers, along with the State’s Victim Advocate, Michelle Cruz, are again asking Governor Malloy to suspend the Program and order an investigation into how it is being administered and how it affects public safety.
The press conference and informational hearing took place today at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford. To express concerns about the Program, members of the press and public are encouraged to contact Gov. Malloy at 1-800-406-1527 or Governor.Malloy@CT.gov.