State Sen. Dante Bartolomeo (D-13th) said Thursday that she will work with the legislature’s Judiciary Committee in the coming weeks to help craft new tough-on-crime legislation that will change Connecticut’s Risk Reduction Earned Credit program, change the way it monitors parolees, and increase the penalty for people who use a firearm in the commission of a serious felony or who buy a gun for someone else.
The Judiciary Committee recently approved a list of raised bill concepts, the details of which are to be finalized through the public hearing and committee meeting process. The deadline for the Judiciary Committee to vote on any bills is April 19.
“There’s no question in my mind that the state’s Risk Reduction Earned Credit program – what some people call ‘early release’ – needs to be modified to improve public safety,” Sen. Bartolomeo said. “I know this program is aimed at reducing recidivism and the cost of our prison system, however, there are certain offenses that should be excluded from this program. Inmates who remain on waiting lists or who don’t fully participate in and successfully complete rehabilitation classes shouldn’t get any credit. The whole thing needs to be looked at top-to-bottom so the public is assured that when an inmate is released ahead of schedule, they are among the most non-violent offenders and they have demonstrated the highest desire to rehabilitate themselves.”
Sen. Bartolomeo – who is married to a police officer – wants new legislation to toughen the penalty for anyone who uses a firearm or an assault weapon in the commission of a serious felony, such as murder, rape, kidnapping, arson or burglary.
She is also calling for tougher penalties on anyone who purchases a firearm to give to a person who is prohibited from possessing a firearm – so-called “straw purchases.” The idea was proposed to Sen. Bartolomeo by one of her constituents, who noted that the two firefighters who were killed in a December ambush in upstate New York were killed by an ex-convict who was unable to legally purchase a firearm, but who was provided with a semiautomatic rifle by a “straw purchaser.”
Finally, Sen. Bartolomeo said she will seek new legislation to enhance the monitoring of certain parolees in Connecticut. “Right now, a parolee who commits a criminal or technical violation of his parole has to answer to his parole officer,” she said. “But what happens when local police catch a parolee involved in something serious that violates his parole, like associating with a known criminal? The police should be able to remand him for as long as 72 hours until the parole officer can be notified.”
Submitted press release