Lawmakers discuss changes to Risk Reduction Earned Credit Progra - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Lawmakers discuss changes to Risk Reduction Earned Credit Program

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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

It’s been a controversial law for years and it enabled some prisoners to earn up to five days off their sentences per month. 

Proponents call it an incentive; however, those opposed said the state is creating a safety issue. 

The Risk Reduction Earned Credit Program was established back in 2011.

It enables most prisoners to earn up to five days off their sentences a month all while promoting good behavior and program participation.

The state's Department of Correction recently refined the program. The updated policy creates an incentive for offenders to progress to the lowest security risk level, one where the potential for earning credit is the greatest.

However, inmates convicted of eight crimes are exempt from this program.

It was originally six. It included murder, felony murder, arson murder, capital felony, aggravated sexual assault, and home invasion.

Now there's a push for four more crimes to be added to this list. 

"They're going back to their life of crime, they're not really being reformed, they're just being let out of jail early and some people pay a horrible price," said Sen. Len Suzio, a Republican representing the 13th District.

Suzio has been an outspoken critic of this program.

"Last year, we actually got it through the committee and it passed through the Senate. But, it got hung up in the house," he said. "I'm pretty confident we'll pass it through the Judiciary Committee and we should get it through the Senate again. The key is for someone to carry the ball in the house."

During an interview on Tuesday, Suzio cited what he's calling the failures of this program.

For example, the first so-called graduates of this program had a prison re-admission rate of nearly 96-percent.

But, there's been pushback from some - including, the Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyers Association.

CCDLA opposed the bill because it said it seeks to lengthen prison sentences, remove a powerful incentive for good behavior and rehabilitation and fails to reduce mass incarceration in the state.

A public hearing starts at 10 a.m. on Wednesday.

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