Zupkus calls for changes to early release program

Lezlye Zupkus
Lezlye Zupkus

HARTFORD — The Judiciary Committee is drafting new eligibility requirements for the program that gives early release credits to inmates convicted of violent crimes following legislation submitted by state Rep. Lezlye Zupkus (R-89) and other Republican lawmakers.

Zupkus introduced H.B. 5317, “An Act Eliminating Risk Reduction Credits for Violent Criminals,” to prohibit anyone sentenced for a violent crime from either earning or retaining the early release credits they’ve accumulated since the program was adopted in 2011.

The program allows an inmate to cut as many as five days a month from his or her sentence for good behavior behind bars and participation in rehabilitation programs. Current law allows people convicted of serious crimes such as sexual assault or arson to receive credits, according to a release issued by Zupkus’ office.

“The fact that a person convicted of a truly awful crime such as assaulting a pregnant woman, or even sexually molesting a child, can qualify for these early release credits is simply unacceptable,” said Zupkus, a member of the legislature’s Public Safety Committee, in a statement. “If we can’t disqualify more of these types of crimes, then we really need to eliminate the program altogether.”

Members of the Judiciary Committee voted on Feb. 13 to create legislation regarding an inmate’s eligibility for the program, a small step Zupkus said is a move in the right direction.

Zupkus said she looks forward to providing input via testimony as Judiciary Committee members work on the issue in the coming weeks. Constituents who want to comment on the issue can email Zupkus at Lezlye.Zupkus@housegop.ct.gov.