Legislators speak out against early release program

David Labriola

HARTFORD — State representatives Rosa Rebimbas (R-70) and David Labriola (R-131) spoke out this week along with the State’s Victim Advocate on the Risk Reduction Earned Credits (RREC) Program, and the role it may have played in two recent murders.

The program allows criminals to be released early from jail early if they exhibit good behavior while incarcerated. The law has been thrust into the spotlight following two separate incidents involving prisoners 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,” Rebimbas, a member of the Public Safety and Security Committee, said in a prepared release. “As a result, Connecticut families now must face the heartbreaking consequences of weak criminal justice policies.”

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, according to a release issued by the representatives. 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.

Rosa Rebimbas

A coalition of lawmakers, along with State’s Victim Advocate Michelle Cruz has asked Gov. Dannel Malloy to suspend the program and order an investigation into how it is being administered.

Labriola and Rebimbas said, in the release, that 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 Labriola, a member of the Judiciary Committee, in a news release. “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.”