GOP state rep candidate critiques prisoner release
Cecilia Buck-Taylor, who is running as a Republican for state representative from the 67th District, is supporting House Republican leader Larry Cafero in his call for the suspension of the Risk Reduction Earned Credit program.
Mr. Cafero followed disclosures recently made at a hearing in Hartford by victim advocate Michelle Cruz by stating the state has failed to properly monitor the convicted criminals released early from prison.
Ms. Buck-Taylor said she remembered when she was a special public defender many years ago and assigned to represent a man recently released from prison, who was then charged with robbery in the first degree.
She related the suspect had told her: "What do they expect? I have been in prison for over seven years always worrying about getting a shiv shoved into my back. And now they just dump me out here and expect me to be normal?"
Ms. Buck-Taylor said she now more fully understands what he was saying, having read almost 10 percent of the more than 7,500 early-release offenders have already been re-arrested.
At a hearing in Hartford, Ms. Cruz said the recidivism rate for one month after the program was started was great than 30 percent.
The implementation of the Risk Reduction Earned Credit program was supposed to save the state money, Ms. Buck-Taylor said, but it appears to her it could be an example of the state "kicking the can down the road" and shifting the costs to the local governments.
"Yes, we have fewer people in prison," she said, "but we now have our local police and our local courts needing to deal with these repeat offenders."
Even more disturbing, is that we are not just sacrificing local funding but we are sacrificing lives."
If the state is not able to properly monitor the high-risk offenders provided early release, Ms. Buck-Taylor said, she believes common sense and public safety concerns should dictate the suspension of the program until safeguards are put in place.
At a minimum, she concluded, Gov. Dannel Malloy should disclose how the program is being administered.