HARTFORD – After receiving information which revealed the state failed to properly monitor convicted criminals released early from prison for “good behavior”, State Rep. Rob Sampson, a sitting member of the Judiciary Committee, called for the suspension of the Risk Reduction Earned Credit program.
One of those released early should have been picked up at least four times for violating probation, according to the state’s Victim Advocate Michelle Cruz. That man was later charged in the June 27 murder of a Meriden shop owner. Another store owner in East Hartford was also killed last month by an early-release offender, according to police.
Judiciary Committee Republicans held a hearing after Democrats and Malloy administration officials refused to explain how the controversial program is being administered.
“It should give every Connecticut resident pause to know that approximately 775 early-release offenders have already been re-arrested in the first 9 months of the program according to the State’s Victim Advocate. This is out of a staggering 7500 convicts who were released during the same period because the credits were made retroactive for five years. I believe that our number one priority as legislators is to protect our citizens and this program has failed that test,” said Sampson.
I voted against this program in 2011 because it has never made sense to me to release violent criminals before the sentence they were awarded. I and other Republican members of the Judiciary Committee are calling upon Governor Malloy to suspend this dangerous program in order to safeguard the public. Convicts who show little or no interest in changing their behavior should not be receiving any breaks from the State of Connecticut,’’ Sampson said. “The Democrats claim they need more time to let this program work out but it is already too late for the families of two men who were gunned down this summer.
Based on data from the state’s Victim Advocate, hundreds of inmates who piled up early release credit were not being rehabilitated behind bars. The program calls for prisoners to not only be on good behavior but also participate in education programs aimed at their particular offense. The evidence is that credits are being given without meeting either requirement.
Cruz said that the recidivism rate for one month after the program started was over 30 percent.