Rep. Petit Testifies on Bills to Increase Public Safety

Posted on March 11, 2019 by jpheasant


HARTFORD – State Representative William A. Petit Jr. (R-22) testified in front of the Judiciary Committee on behalf of three pieces of legislation designed to increase public safety by reforming the state’s current Earned Risk Reduction Credit Program.

HB-5525, would require inmates complete eligible programs in order to earn risk reduction credits. Anyone who fails to adhere to the inmate’s offender accountability plan, or tests positive on a drug test would face a loss of any or all of such earned risk reduction credits. Under HB-5526, anyone who was sentenced prior to the abolishment of credits from receiving additional credits.  HB-5527, seeks to prohibit certain serious felonies such as; murder, sexual assault, burglary, robbery, manslaughter, kidnapping, and arson from being counted toward the earned risk reduction credit program.

“The purpose of our judicial system is to protect and prosecute,” Rep. Petit said. “Victims have rights that are well enunciated in our constitution and I feel it is the primary role of government to protect the public. I realize that there are some who will never be rehabilitated but if the state cannot do a better job of representing victims and protecting potential future victims, it has failed terribly in its role.”

 Beginning in 2011, the General Assembly passed legislation to permit the Department of Corrections Commissioner to award earned credits toward a reduced sentence for eligible inmates provided they had not been convicted of a violent crime which included; murder, capital felony, felony murder, arson murder, first degree aggravated sexual assault, and home invasion.

Two years later, the General Assembly amended the Risk Reduction Earned Credit program to require inmates who have been convicted of one or more of the violent crimes serve 85% of their sentence before being able to utilize risk reduction credits toward a reduced sentence.

Rep. Petit said “House Bill 5525 and 5527 are an attempt to ensure that these programs truly measure serious attempts by those incarcerated to better themselves and earn credits that are appropriate for the individual inmates. They ensure that these are not just post-conviction attempts to diminish sentences without a particular strategy or goal in place.”