Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell, a Republican, has agreed with Democratic leaders on criminal justice reforms prompted by the widely publicized triple killing of a doctor’s family last summer in Cheshire, reports the Hartford Courant. The plan, to be discussed this month in a special legislative session, calls for classifying the burglary of an occupied home as an offense that can carry a sentence of 25 years in prison. It would replace the part-time Board of Pardons and Paroles with a full-time board whose members would be required to have experience or education in criminal justice.
The more expensive and controversial ideas, such as building more prisons, would be debated during the three-month regular session that starts next month. In the Cheshire case, two longtime criminals who were out on parole could face the death penalty after being charged with six counts of capital felony in the homicides. There was bipartisan agreement that the state needs to drastically upgrade its computers so that police, prosecutors, parole officers, and prison officials can make decisions on the release of criminals. Unions that represent prison guards said they were disappointed that the initial plan “failed to address the growing number of inmates in the state’s correction facilities.”