Governor Malloy’s Hard Left Turn Connecticut is now soft-on-crime [Commentary]

June 17, 2011

Governor Dannel Malloy wants violent offenders to get out of prison early for earning “good time” while behind bars.

There was no Republican support for their reckless measure. The governor’s plan includes a host of early release and alternative sentencing guidelines for violent criminals; including those imprisoned for manslaughter and sexual assault.

The shortsightedness of this soft-on-crime policy move is shocking. My colleague, Senate Minority Leader John McKinney (R-Fairfield), summed it up when he said, “Passage of this bill is tantamount to a jail break. It will result in the mass release of violent criminals.”

The following is a list of just some of the crimes which would be subject to early release for good behavior:

  • Manslaughter in the first degree (with intent to cause serious injury)
  • Sexual assault in the first degree (sex with someone under the age of 13)
  • Kidnapping in the first degree (intent to inflict physical injury)
  • Arson in the first degree (intent to destroy an inhabited building)
  • Employing a minor in an obscene performance
  • Importing child pornography
  • Contaminating a public water supply or food supply for terrorist purposes
  • Injury or risk of injury to, or impairing morals of, children
  • Abandonment of a child under the age of six years
  • Firearms trafficking (knowingly gives someone a firearm – who is barred from owning a firearm )
  • Cruelty to animals (possess an animal for fighting, intentionally kills a police dog)

Under the alternative sentencing plan set out in the bill, a person who pleads guilty and is sentenced to a term of imprisonment of two years or less would now qualify for an alternative incarceration plan developed by their probation officer and move to have the sentence “modified” after the person serves 90 days.

Consider the potential implications:

  • A 20 year old Seymour man in 2005 was angry with his friend who he was staying with because the friend would not let him have one of his six puppies as a pet.   “If I can’t have them,” he said, “no one can.”  He proceeded to “send the puppies to heaven” by slashing the throats of all six.  Convicted of six counts of cruelty to animals, he was sentenced to two years in jail.  Under Malloy’s plan, he could be released after just 90 days. 
  • A 40 year old Norwalk man, in 2010, was convicted of sexually assaulting a minor repeatedly when she was between the ages of 6 and 12.  Sentenced to two years for risk of injury to a minor, he would be eligible for release after just 90 days under Malloy’s plan. 
  • An East Haddam mother was convicted of risk of injury in March.  She used crack cocaine in the presence of her young daughter, repeatedly left the drugs and paraphernalia in the open, took her daughter along in the car when she went to buy crack, forcing the child to hide under a blanket in the back seat.  Worst of all, she allowed an older male friend to touch the girl in a sexual manner.  For this she was sentenced to 2 years in jail. Under Malloy’s plan she could be released after only 90 days. 
  • In 2005, a former DMV clerk in Norwalk, who turned the office into his own personal forgery studio – selling falsified licenses for cash was convicted of under Connecticut racketeering laws to a 2 year sentence. Under Malloy’s plan, he would need to only serve 90 days before release.

Recently, the city of New Haven launched a ten most wanted list to try and stop the violence. The wanted people are charged with offenses ranging from shootings and stabbings to arson and street robberies.

Under Malloy’s new soft-on-crime policy all ten would be out early, and many might only serve 90 days – depending on their sentence. Rather than letting violent offenders out early for “good time”, why not add time to their sentence if they don’t follow prison rules.

We owe violent crime victims and their families more. They were told the person who hurt them would be serving a specific sentence behind bars. Now we are breaking our promise with them. What a message to be sending.

Our governor says his plan will save money, but what will be the emotional cost to the victims when predators start to emerge from behind the prison walls? Connecticut will pay dearly for the governor’s hard turn to the left.