After listening to testimony from family members of homicide victims at a public hearing before the Judiciary Committee, state Rep. Thomas O’Dea (R-125) expressed his opposition to early release (good time) credits for violent criminals.

The committee is considering proposed legislation to repeal the program that allows Connecticut inmates to earn credit toward early release for good behavior.

“After hearing today’s public hearing testimony, it is clear to me this program is putting our public safety at risk,” Mr. O’Dea said on Friday, March 22. “Our duty as legislators is to safeguard and protect the public and although having inmates serve their full sentence may not prevent them from hurting someone again, it does send the right message that Connecticut is about preventing crime.”

The program currently allows inmates to earn up to a maximum of five days a month off their sentence for complying with certain programs, and for their accompanying good behavior. The credits can be revoked.

The program permits the commissioner of the Department of Corrections to award the credits to inmates for good behavior retroactive to April 1, 2006. Felons ineligible for the program are those convicted of murder, first-degree sexual assault and home invasion. According to Mr. O’Dea’s office, it  allows criminals who committed crimes such as rape, arson, kidnapping or sexual molestation of a child under 13 out of jail early.

A press release from his office cited an incident in June 2012, in which 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. Another citation occurred in August 2012, when an East Hartford store clerk was also murdered. The man arrested, who was previously convicted for robbery and assault, was released early from jail this year under the early release program.