Senator Len Fasano joined the Office of the Victim Advocate and legislative leaders in asking the administration to suspend the controversial Risk Reduction Earned Credit Program (RREC).
This new Connecticut law allows violent felons including those convicted of rape, murder and kidnapping to get weeks, months, and even years taken off their court ordered prison sentences. The credits can be awarded retroactively to 2006.
“There is no reason to support letting violent criminals out early from prison,” said Sen. Fasano. “After witnessing today’s testimony from the state victim advocate, it is clear that this program is putting our public safety at risk.”
On Tuesday September 18, the Judiciary Committee held an informational hearing on the Risk Reduction Earned Credit Program at the state legislative office building in Hartford. At the hearing the State Victim Advocate (OVA), Michelle Cruz presented a compelling case as to why this program should be suspended.
Cruz revealed 7,589 inmates have been released under the RREC program since it began in October of 2011. In the first month of the program Cruz reports 33.9% of inmates were re-arrested for committing crimes.
“When the RREC was passed into law almost all victims families told my office they felt betrayed by this policy. They’ve lost faith in the system,” said Victim Advocate Michelle Cruz.
On June 27, a 70-year-old Meriden small business owner was shot and killed at his Meriden convenience store. The man who has been arrested for that murder was able to earn 199 days of risk reduction credits while serving time for a robbery conviction.
Sen. Fasano said, “When Governor Jodi Rell was in office, she suspended parole after the Cheshire home invasion - as a matter of public safety. We needed to review and improve our judicial policies. Sadly, we are at a similar cross road. I urge this new administration to take the prudent action of suspending the early release program.”
Fasano also expressed his disappointment that three invited guests to the hearing declined to show, including:
- Under Secretary of Policy and Management Criminal Justice
- Department of Corrections Commissioner
- Pardons and Parole Board Chair