Senator Kissel Welcomes Chief State’s Attorney’s Support for Three Strikes Policy

November 29, 2007

Chief State’s Attorney Kevin J. Kane, in testimony before the Judiciary Committee Tuesday night, said he supports enacting a Three Strikes policy for the state of Connecticut.

Responding to a question from state Senator John A. Kissel, R-Enfield, as to whether or not he would support a well crafted, narrowly tailored three strikes law, Attorney Kane said, “yes… the [three strikes policy] is something we can support and can use as a tool, provided we have discretion as to when to use it and when not to use it.” Attorney Kane added that such a law must be narrowly drawn and the burden should be on the 13 state’s attorneys to have the training and responsibility to make sure their discretion is not abused.

“Chief State’s Attorney Kane supports a narrowly tailored three strikes law that gives prosecutors discretion and this and is exactly what House and Senate Republicans have offered,” said Sen. Kissel.

Senator Kissel, who serves as ranking member of the legislature’s Judiciary Committee and is a co-sponsor of the Senate Republican Three Strikes proposal, welcomed the support. “Having the support of the Chief State’s Attorney is an important step toward enacting an effective three strikes policy for the state of Connecticut,” said Senator Kissel. “It is my hope that the Judiciary Committee Chairmen and ranking members can work in a bipartisan way with the Chief State’s Attorney and other interested parties to enact a three strikes law and make other necessary reforms to improve our criminal sentencing laws and parole processes.”

The three strikes law proposed by Senate Republicans is designed to effectively incarcerate dangerous repeat criminals and deter serious violent crime, without resulting in explosive prison growth. The proposed law is narrowly tailored, requiring mandatory life imprisonment for a third felony conviction of only the most serious violent crimes, including manslaughter, sexual assault, arson, kidnapping and home invasion.

Senate Republicans have also proposed the following changes to our criminal sentencing and parole laws:

• Reclassify Burglary of a Residence (Home Invasion) as a Violent Crime to force those who commit this crime to serve 85% of their jail sentences before applying for parole (under current law, the majority of these criminals are released after serving only half of their sentences).

• Strengthen Connecticut’s Persistent Offender Law by following the state Supreme Court’s recommendation to grant juries the power to determine enhanced sentences on dangerous persistent offenders.

• Require Serious Criminals to Wear GPS Tracking Devices on their person at all times as a condition of their release.

• Reform the Parole System
• Require released offenders to report to their local police station to be photographed and documented within one week of their release
• Require transcripts and other information pertaining to a candidate for parole be provided to Board of Parole members for review at least three business days prior to the candidate’s hearing
• Require more information on the court record at the time of sentencing
• Transfer the Board of Parole from the Department of Corrections to the Department of Public Safety
• Increase membership on the Board of Parole