GOP Senators Slam State for Handling of Alleged Baby Killer’s Release, Demand Reform

September 10, 2014

Hartford, CT – State Senator Toni Boucher (R-Wilton) joined Senators Len Fasano, Scott Frantz and John Kissel and Senate Minority Leader John McKinney in demanding the State’s Early Release Program be suspended immediately after the brutal death of a one year old baby girl from Connecticut.

“It is clear, that several years after this program was put in place our public safety remains at risk,” said Sen. Boucher. “This failed policy reduces citizen’s sense of security and damages their quality of life and does not provide justice to victims and their families who are very upset.”

The convicted felon in question, Arthur Hapgood has been charged with allegedly slashing to death his infant niece while he was high on drugs. Remarkably, Hapgood earned credits while enrolled in the state’s Risk Reduction Earned Credit program despite failing three drug tests while in prison. Even worse he helped two inmates escape from custody during an earlier stint at a halfway house in May of 2013.

“We have a public safety crisis on our hands,” said Senator Len Fasano, Senate Minority Leader Pro Tempore. “When violent criminals who reoffend in prison are free to get out early, when inmates who fail drug tests still somehow successfully pass rehabilitation programs, it is time to fix the dangerous flaws in our Corrections system.”

Hapgood, who was arraigned this week on murder charges, was previously serving a 71-month sentence for a 2008 robbery. While in prison, Hapgood accumulated the early release credits by taking part in educational classes, holding a job, and participating in the Offender Accountability Plan. According to Department of Corrections officials, the prisoner also successfully completed an intensive outpatient addiction services program for which he earned credits.

“How can a person fail not one, but several drug tests and be considered “rehabilitated,” asked Sen. Boucher.

“This whole situation makes a complete mockery of the criminal justice system. The officials who turned a blind eye to his repeated drug use and escalating criminal behavior should be held accountable,” said Sen. McKinney.

Senator Boucher believes this policy compromises the state’s number one responsibility, the safety of our public. Boucher points out that Connecticut’s criminal justice policy has become soft during the last several years to include:

  • lessening fines for drug possession,
  • repeal of the death penalty,
  • And utilizing home confinement of DUI and drug offenders instead of sending them to jail.

“These changes send a message that Connecticut is soft on crime. We only have to look to New York City – they eliminated petty crimes and according to Forbes made the city one of the top 10 safest in America,” said Sen. Boucher. “There is a huge deterrent factor that one has to consider when setting these policies. If the safety of our neighborhoods, law enforcement and correction officers is further compromised by weakening public policy, we are failing those who have placed their trust in us.”

The senators suggest having wardens sign off on credits earned and for more oversight when a convict is released into the community.