An inmate, who got out of prison seven months early because of the early release program, was rearrested six weeks later. Some people said that's just one unfortunate failure in a series of successes, while others contend more has to be done to keep criminals behind bars.
In a follow up to Monday’s I-Team investigation into the arrest of East Hartford resident Edwin Glass, Eyewitness News explores the pros and cons of the program with people on both sides of the aisle.
"My question is how you let criminal give him a credit, for what,” Middletown resident Fapyo Ghazal said.
That emotional plea was made by Ghazal, whose father Ibrahim was murdered in 2011 by Frankie Resto, who was an early release inmate.
Resto received 199 risk reduction earned credits and was let out of prison early in 2012. Then, police said Resto killed Ibrahim Ghazal two months later.
"I still believe that Resto he doesn't have that credit,” Fapyo Ghazal said. “My father would be still be alive this time."
Glass, 35, was released seven months early from prison. Glass was rearrested for a home invasion and sexual assault six weeks later.
Commissioner of the Department of Correction Scott Semple said he recognizes there is no fool proof program and added that we hear far more often about the failures.
"This is a risk management business. We're not batting a thousand,” Semple said. “But, the public generally does not get to see what success looks like. I can tell you we have success."
According to data recently released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, violent crime in Connecticut dropped by 8.5 percent in 2015. Last month, the inmate population in Connecticut dropped below 15,000 for the first time since 1997.
Changes have also recently been made to the early release program. Earlier this year, Semple incentivized the risk reduction earned credit program meaning the highest risk offenders will receive the least amount of credits, therefore serving longer sentences.
"I do believe internally we have done some things that hold the offender population more accountable in achieving these credits and I think that's important to acknowledge,” Semple said.
Some critics said more needs to be done to make sure what happened to the Ghazal family doesn't happen to anyone else.
"Let's take a look at this program and see if it's really working the nuts and bolts of it,” former Executive Director of the Board of Pardons and Paroles John Lahda said. “Bring in the people that really know these things."
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