Wow. Well, so much for an event free weekend. Governor Rell announced a ban on parole for all violent offenders late Friday. How long will this ban remain in effect? Until lawmakers fix the state’s sentencing laws. Note that this will cover not only those that are convicted of violent offenses, but those that the parole board deems violent, despite not having a violent conviction in the last ten years.
So, basically, the Governor has superceded statute by this announcement. Might this not be a separation of powers problem?
The governor has also directed the Board of Pardons and Paroles to conduct an immediate review of all current parolees who were sentenced for a violent offense.
It may just be me, but the bit about the ban remaining in effect until lawmakers fix the state’s sentencing laws seems like a bit of a threat.
Judiciary Committee co-chair Mike Lawlor responded to this announcement via a press release in which he says:
“I understand why the Governor did what she did today and I support her decision. In light of today’s revelations, it’s clear that the parole system has become overwhelmed by new obligations in the last few months and cases started falling through the cracks, including this one.
Sorry, Meriden. That new prison is coming up in your town.
More as it is available.
Note: Given the sensitive nature of this topic, I want to reiterate (for those who might not have read the disclaimer), that whatever I write is my opinion only and is not a reflection of the views of my employer. For all I know, the public defender’s office might officially be okay with this. Please do not misunderstand this to be an endorsement of my views. I am a public defender who happens to practice in CT. I am not writing on behalf of the CT Public Defender’s Office, nor have I ever, nor will I.
This should also not be construed as any lobbying effort or any attempt to influence the legislators. It is merely my opinion on topical issues.
Just wanted to make that clear. Thanks for reading.