Advice to Gov. Malloy: “Join Sen. Suzio”

February 25, 2018

(The attached Waterbury Republican-American editorial offers some sage advice to Gov. Malloy. Think he will take   it?  Send me your thoughts at [email protected] and call the governor during business hours at 860-566-4840. Thank you!)

Risk-reduction program: Don’t rest on crime laurels

Waterbury Republican-American Editorial

February 24, 2018


Throughout his tenure, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has been fond of noting crime has been on the decline in Connecticut. Consistent with this, Gov. Malloy announced Feb. 19 that data from his Office of Policy and Management indicate recidivism and the prison population are down.

“Our criminal-justice reforms are producing tremendous results for the people of Connecticut,” said the governor. “We have far fewer people committing crimes and entering our prison system than ever before.” (It is worth noting that The Crime Report, a publication of the New York City-based John Jay College of Criminal Justice, reported in December 2016 that the crime trends can be attributed in part to a reform authorized in 2004 under former Gov. John G. Rowland.)

Conspicuously absent from Gov. Malloy’s commentary was a reference to the Risk Reduction Earned Credit early prison-release program.

The governor has been borderline indifferent to problems with this controversial program, and that should change.

The program was established in 2011 by the legislature and Gov. Malloy.

Team Malloy saw it as a means of, among other things, preventing recidivism.

Many inmates in Connecticut state prisons can have as many as five days taken off their sentences each month, provided they behave while behind bars; take classes to prepare for productive post-prison lives; and serve at least 85 percent of their sentences. If managed properly, the program can serve as an important criminal-justice tool.

However, the Malloy administration’s management is questionable.

Between 2012 and 2016, Frankie “The Razor” Resto, Arthur Hapgood and Edwin Glass were released early via the program despite records of poor behavior in prison, and all later faced serious charges. 

Resto and former Waterbury resident Hapgood have been returned to prison, possibly for the rest of their lives.

This record amounts to disrespect for crime victims, their families and inmates earnestly attempting to reform themselves, but also represents a threat to public safety.

Yet as we noted in a March 25, 2017 editorial, “Gov. Malloy long has downplayed problems. He has chosen to focus on the program’s positive aspects.”

Especially alarming is an Oct. 3, 2016 report from WFSB-TV that the Malloy administration tried to keep the Glass case out of the news media, something the governor personally denied.

Since the legislature’s regular 2018 session opened this month, Sen. Len Suzio, R-Meriden, has pushed hard toward reaching his longstanding goal of bringing meaningful reforms to the early-release program. 

For the sake of the people who twice elected him, Gov. Malloy is advised to take the blinders off his eyes and join forces with Sen. Suzio. 

The primary objective should be ensuring ill-behaved inmates are removed from the program.

Legislation that would have done as much passed the House last year but stalled in the Senate.

It should be revived.

If Gov. Malloy, a former prosecutor, doesn’t join Sen. Suzio, he will tarnish his own criminal-justice legacy.