Republicans call state’s early release program a failure [WFSB]

September 11, 2014

WFSB 3 Connecticut

Republicans are blasting the state’s Risk Reduction Earned Credit program and are calling it a failure.

This criticism comes after a Waterbury man who is being accused of fatally stabbing a baby in Bristol was released early from prison.

Arthur Hapgood was arrested in August for the murder of Zaniyah Calloway, and Republicans pointed out on Wednesday that Hapgood had failed three drug tests while he was locked up.

Republicans also said Hapgood allegedly assisted a pair of inmates in escaping a halfway house. However during that time he had accrued credits and was released early.

“The fact is, this murder happened when he was allegedly using drugs, but this policy says that you get out early, treated for drugs, regardless that he got out,” said State Senator John McKinney.

Republicans are calling on the governor to get rid of the program.

“I don’t know how he puts his head on a pillow at night. This guy was bad in jail before he killed a baby,” said State Senator Len Fasano.

The Department of Corrections said that Hapgood served 90 percent of his sentence and would have been out of jail at the time of the stabbing, even if he had served 100 percent of his sentence. He was released in May of 2013.

The Republicans said there is no oversight for the program and no accountability or transparency.

Fasano said drug test results for Hapgood showed he was positive for marijuana and PCP, just one week before he allegedly killed baby Calloway.

A spokesman for Gov. Dannel Malloy issued a statement on Wednesday that stated “while this was a horrific tragedy, the Republicans are simply wrong in their facts. Violent offenders are serving more time under Governor Malloy than they were under prior governors.”

The statement also said Connecticut State Police are reporting an 8 percent reduction in property crime and a nearly 11 percent reduction in violent crime, compared to 2012.