As Crime Rises, Fasano & Candelora Seek More Info on Increase in Prison Releases During Pandemic

October 19, 2020

Following their calls to suspend the police accountability bill, and Mayor Bronin’s claims that increased prison releases are causing crime to increase, Fasano & Candelora want to know what criteria the state is using to release offenders from prison.


HARTFORD – Following a sharp rise in crime across Connecticut and news that the Governor is sending State Police into Hartford to help address the increase in violence, Connecticut Republican leaders are seeking more information on the increase in prison releases that has been occurring in Connecticut during the pandemic.


Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano (R-North Haven) and Deputy House Republican Leader Vincent Candelora (R-North Branford) today wrote to Governor Ned Lamont, Department of Corrections Commissioner Angel Quiros, and Chief Court Administrator of the Judicial Branch Judge Patrick L. Carroll requesting a summary of how many individuals have been released from prison since the start of the pandemic, what criteria has been used to determine whether to release someone, and who makes the final release decision. “The public has the right to know,” they wrote.


Their request comes after Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin on Saturday suggested the rise in crime in Hartford is tied to an increase in the state releasing offenders.


“We are concerned that the increase in prison releases as well as the effects of the police accountability bill tying the hands of police officers and banning proactive policing measures such as consent searches could be creating a perfect storm for increased violence and crime,” Fasano and Candelora wrote.


The President of the Hartford Police Union has also stated that he believes the increase in crime is tied recent police accountability bill passed into law this summer by Democrat lawmakers. Sen. Fasano and Rep. Candelora on Friday called on Gov. Lamont to use his executive powers to suspend the new law to allow for lawmakers to revise it next year, something Democrats promised they would consider when they rushed to pass the bill, but then failed to do during the General Assembly’s fall special session.


On Saturday when Mayor Bronin discussed why the city is seeing an increase in crimes such as shootings he pointed to an increase in the release and failure to incarcerate offenders. He stated: “Many court operations were suspended or not operating at their full capacity. There are, we believe, a number of cases of individuals who might normally been held in custody for their involvement in violent crime were released, because of concerns about COVID.” Mayor Bronin also raised concerns about limited in-person supervision of parolees. He repeated these concerns on social media, tweeting, “too many of the individuals our cops are arresting for serious violence are not being held.  That’s also been exacerbated by the pandemic.”


New Haven Police Chief Otoniel Reyes also raised concerns last month about this same issue pointing to a larger percentage than average of people being released from prison, including on probation or parole.


“Every person deserves to feel safe and secure in their neighborhood,” Fasano and Candelora wrote. “We are deeply concerned that multiple policies in place in our state today are making our state less safe.”


Click here to view their letter.