Friday, August 17, 2012
Courant OK’s Defective Risk Reduction Earned Credits Program
The Hartford Courant has ignored its own admittedly unscientific poll, which asks “Should inmates beable to earn early release with re-entry programs?”
Of the 508 responses received by the paper, 89 percent of respondents answered that question “No.” The number of those answering “Yes” was a slender 11 percent. On the basis of a recent editorial, “Give Inmates A Better Chance On The Outside,” one must assume the Courant editorial page editors fall among the 11 percenters.
Had the editorial department asked a somewhat different question – Should the hastily enacted Risk Reduction Earned Credits program be reviewed and readjusted in the light of the recent murder in Meriden allegedly committed by Frankie Resto, a prisoner who earned early release credits under the program? – the percentage of respondents answering “Yes” very likely would have been even higher.
In its most recent editorial questioning the sound common sense of legislators who believe the program should be reformed to disallow violent prisoners from earning early release credits, Courant editors have swallowed, hook line and sinker, the line fed them by extremely persuasive Malloyalists, Governor Dannel Malloy’s undersecretary for criminal justice policy at the Office of Policy and Management Michael Lawlor among them, who are averse to beneficial reforms of the program.
As suggested by the title of the editorial, the Courant asserts that the Risk Reduction Earned Credits program, which provides early release credits that reduce by five days a month the court ordered sentences of participating prisoners, aims to reduce intolerably high recidivism rates “by providing classes and other activities to prepare inmates for a crime-free life when they re-enter their communities.”
Rather unfortunately, Frankie Resto was not improved by his classes – very likely because the program is itself deficient and greatly in need of reform.
The Courant mentions Mr. Resto, though not by name, in its editorial. Mr. Resto’s murderous activity in Meriden – video shows him fatally shooting in the chest co-owner of an EZ Mart store Ibraham Ghazal -- after Mr. Ghazal acceded to his demand to give him cash from the register.
Mr. Resto has been shown in various news reports to be a violent criminal. During a 2010 parole hearing he was told by the chairman of the state's Board of Pardons and Paroles: “You’ve got nine disciplinaries ... you set fire to a mattress, you’re a Latin King, you’re not working when you’re on the outside, you’ve got no sponsor. I don’t know, the future don’t look too bright outside for you. You’ve got to change your lifestyle, Mr. Resto. You can’t keep robbing people, you’re robbing people on the street.”
The quote above is mentioned in a letter sent by Sen. Joe Markley to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy urging the governor to temporarily suspend the state’s new poorly drafted early release program
Risk Reduction Earned Credits program.
“It's too early in this year-old program,” the paper avers, “to come to such a conclusion. One failure, even one leading to a fatality, is no justification for scuttling the entire program.”
No one has suggested scuttling the entire program. There are dozens of Courant reports stating that senators Len Suzio and Joe Markley, among other Republicans, merely want a temporary suspension of the program until it can be reviewed and reformed by members of the General Assembly who, unlike Courant editorial page editors, are not content to wait upon the commission other violent crimes, perhaps in their own communities, before they conjecture that the Risk Reduction Earned Credits program, as presently constituted, exposes everyone in the state to risks not contemplated by the architects of the bill, Governor Dannel Malloy or his undersecretary for criminal justice policy at the Office of Policy and Management Michael Lawlor, both of whom have shamelessly suggested reform minded legislators are simply posturing over pools of blood left by Mr. Resto in Meriden for campaign reasons.
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