Art Linares, R-Westbrook, candidate for the 33rd State Senate District, urged Gov. Dannel Malloy on Wednesday to suspend the Risk Reduction Earned Credit (RREC) program in light of a recent murder committed by a repeat violent criminal let out of prison early under the program.
“This tragedy has caused serious concern throughout the state about the wisdom of the program and the method of its implementation,” Linares wrote in his letter to the governor. “Because public safety must be our first priority, I urge you to suspend the Risk Reduction Earned Credit program, pending an investigation into its procedures and a thorough review by the legislature next year."
Linares also questioned in a press release how Jim Crawford, his opponent in the November election, could have supported the program.
“What was State Representative Jim Crawford thinking when he voted for this reckless program? He stood with the apologists for violent criminals, and against public safety,” Linares stated.
Crawford, D-Westbrook, won his party's primary on Tuesday night.
Linares referenced the cold-blooded murder of 70 year-old Ibrahim Ghazal, a small business owner shot in his store in Meriden on June 27. Frankie Resto, a violent repeat criminal released under the RREC program, stands accused of the crime.
Resto was sentenced in 2007 for two cases of armed robbery.
“Resto qualified for early release even though his behavior in prison showed he had not reformed,” Linares said. “While a prisoner, he was cited for theft and fighting in 2006; for assault and for conspiring to possess contraband in 2007; for fighting and assault in 2008; for disobedience in 2009, at which time he was identified as a gang member and a special security risk; and just last year, for intoxication and for setting fire to his mattress.
“Where is the evidence that this man was ready to reenter society? How could this man have been released before his sentence was completed?”
Linares said that Michelle Cruz, The Connecticut Victim Advocate, stated that this misguided early release scheme "is a danger to the citizens of our state."
"We must heed her warning,” Linares said.
According to the Department of Corrections, 7,589 inmates have been released through the RREC program since it began in September of last year.
“I don’t believe we can afford to wait,” Linares wrote to the governor. “The risks of the program have been all too vividly demonstrated, and another such tragedy remains a daily threat.”
Concluded Linares: "Violent criminals belong behind bars, and I will work to keep them there."
To view Linares' letter to the Governor, see the attached pdf.