CT Department of Correction sued over undisclosed details for vi - WFSB 3 Connecticut

CT Department of Correction sued over undisclosed details for violent criminals

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(WFSB file photo) (WFSB file photo)

The Connecticut Department of Correction is the subject of a lawsuit filed by a former state senator.

Len Suzio said the state is failing to disclose details of violent criminals who are given early release credits.

"The program is a massive failure," he argued. "It's not rehabilitating these criminals. They are returning to the life of crime."

The legislature said it wants the information to see if the early release program is keeping inmates from returning to prison.

It passed a bill which requires the Department of Correction to provide more details on the early release program.

Some, like Suzio, said they feel the state isn't doing what it was asked.

Suzio said he filed the suit in Meriden Superior Court. He named the commissioner of the department.

He said the commissioner's report is phony and doesn't have the right details.

Suzio is a board member for Connecticut's Victim's Advocate. He claims the state hasn't been truthful about inmates in the early release program. He believes far too many get out and then commit more heinous crimes like rape and murder.

He cited Kezlyn Mendez as an example.

He said Mendez was given days off of his sentence. However, within weeks of being released, he murdered an East Hartford store clerk.

Perhaps the most notorious case was that of Frankie "The Razor" Resto.

Resto had a lengthy criminal past. Officials said he even set his prison cell on fire.

Still, he was able to benefit from the state's early release program. Just 60 days after getting out of prison, he murdered the owner of a Meriden convenience store.

"Under the old system, guys like this got out a lot earlier," said Mike Lawlor, under secretary, criminal justice. "We have established a system based on actual criteria."

Lawlor is in charge of criminal justice under Gov. Dannel Malloy.

He said while Mendez and Resto received credits for early release, they also served lengthy sentences. He said violent criminals are spending more time in prison and recidivism is down.

In 2005, 70 percent returned to prison in three years. In 2011, that number dropped to 63 percent, according to Lawlor.

"Our cities are safer, crime is down this year from last year," Malloy said. "Why don't you ask Len about that?"

However, Suzio said the public should know more about early release and how many of those inmates return to prison.

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