Early Inmate Release Bill Goes to Governor

By STEPHEN SINGER and NBC Connecticut Staff
|  Wednesday, Jun 1, 2011  |  Updated 7:36 AM EDT
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Connecticut prisoners will be getting out earlier.

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A bill that would allow inmates to earn credits to shorten prison sentences is headed to Gov. Dannel Malloy's desk.

After a three-hour emotional debate, the House passed an amended version of the controversial bill on Tuesday with a vote of 90-56.

The bill allows most inmates who participate in various education and counseling programs to shorten a prison sentence by as many as five days a month removed from their sentences,

The legislation ensures that good conduct alone will not qualify an inmate for early release.

Inmates who have been convicted of murder, capital felony, felony murder, arson murder, aggravated sexual assault or home invasion will not be eligible for early release as they would be ineligible for parole, Rep. Gerald Fox, the House chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said.

"Simply sitting in a room and not bothering anyone alone is not sufficient," said Fox, a Stamford Democrat.

Republicans, who are in the minority in the state Legislature, said too many crimes would still make inmates eligible for early release.

They unsuccessfully tried to extend the list to include manslaughter with a firearm; assaulting an elderly or blind person or a pregnant woman when the attack results in the termination of the pregnancy; rape; sexually assaulting a minor and kidnapping with a firearm.

"Rapists in jail are going to get out of jail," said Rep. J. Brendan Sharkey, the House majority leader. "They'll be sent back to our society. All the evidence is that when that rapist gets out of jail he will rape again unless he receives some kind of treatment for that condition."

A spokeswoman for Malloy said the governor would sign the bill.

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