HARTFORD — State Sen. Joe Markley (R-16) is complaining that the Malloy administration is stonewalling his request for information identifying inmates who have received credits toward early release through a program that he opposes.
Markley is seeking the state Freedom of Information Commission’s intervention to obtain the names of prisoners who got paroled early due to the program. He also wants their release dates, the credits they received toward early release and their crimes.
The governor’s office is denying the Republican lawmaker’s stonewalling charge.
The administration is also saying it is impossible to generate the list Markley wants because no inmates are released solely because of credits they earn toward early release.
“They are getting out when the Department of Correction believes they are ready, and there are at least nine different release mechanisms that can be used, including parole,” said Michael Lawlor, a top adviser to Gov. Dannel Malloy on criminal justice policy
Additionally, the administration maintains that Markley is not asking for data, but analysis.
Markley announced that he filed a complaint Wednesday with the Freedom of Information Commission appealing what he called the administration’s denial of his request.
He told reporters that he is asking for basic information that he believes will reveal whether the program is working correctly. He does not believe that is the case.
“I don’t see how we can be sure we are doing the right thing unless we are monitoring what we are doing,” Markley said.
He said the Department of Correction and the Office of Policy and Management have been giving him the runaround since he submitted his request to prison officials in early August.
“I guess one suspicion has to be that they don’t want give the information up because it will show the program is, in fact, endangering the public,” Markley said.
Lawlor said the senator’s assumption is wrong.
Markley complained that prison officials referred him to Lawlor at OPM and he never responded to a Sept. 30 phone message that the senator’s office left for him.
This was after Markley said prison officials first directed him to refer his request to the legislature’s research and budget offices. Neither office had the information when he checked.
“Basically, they’re stonewalling at this point, in my opinion. They are not making any reply at all,” he said.
Lawlor said he had no recollection of the Sept. 30 message. He said he is willing to talk to Markley or any other legislator with questions about the early release credits.
Lawlor also suggested Markley work with the legislature’s research office to refine his original request, obtain the pertinent information and analyze it.
The legislature and Malloy approved a program in 2011 to allow inmates to earn up to five days a month off their sentences if they participate in qualifying programs and follow prison rules. The program is only open to inmates who were sentenced to a prison term after Oct. 1, 1994.
The credits reduce an inmate’s maximum prison sentence, making the prisoner eligible for parole earlier. The credits can be revoked for cause.
The law initially barred inmates convicted of murder, aggravated sexual assault and home invasion from the program. It was clarified this year to exclude inmates convicted of second-degree burglary and violent crimes involving the use of force, the attempted use of force or threats to use force.