Oxford state Rep. David K. Labriola was among several Republican lawmakers who joined the state’s victim advocate in speaking out against the controversial Risk Reduction Earned Credits (RREC) Program, and the role they say it may have played in two recent murders.
The program, which passed last year despite unanimous Republican opposition, allows criminals who committed violent crimes -- including rape, arson, kidnapping or sexual molestation of children -- out of jail early if they exhibit good behavior while incarcerated, according to a news release from the House Republican Office.
The law sparked outrage following two separate instances when prisoners were released from jail early and shortly thereafter committed murder, the release states. Victim Advocate Michelle Cruz says that under the program, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's administration has reduced sentences for some inmates who have failed to complete education, counseling or other re-entry programs, a claim that the administration says is false, according to CT Mirror. The Mirror says Democrats did not attend Tuesday's rally, although Republicans say they were invited, and called the GOP effort an election year stunt.
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, the release states.
Labriola, R-Oxford, whose 131st District covers Oxford and parts of Naugatuck and Southbury, said the program "poses a major threat to our state’s criminal justice system."
A defense attorney and member of the House Judiciary Committee, Labriola said: "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.”
The news release from the House Republicans uses these examples to make its point:
- 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.
Cruz and Republican lawmakers are asking Malloy to suspend the program and order an investigation into how it is being administered and how it affects public safety.
To express concerns about the Program, members of the public are encouraged to contact Gov. Malloy at 1-800-406-1527 or Governor.Malloy@CT.gov.