Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell lifted her four-month ban on parole on Jan. 28, but inmates will be released slowly because of some new requirements and pre-existing strictures of parole, including the fact that violent offenders must serve at least 85 percent of a prison sentence, reports the Hartford Courant. The first parolee was released Wednesday, a 28-year-old man convicted of a 2000 killing. Even if an inmate has been approved for parole, it does not guarantee immediate release. Officials must confirm that parolees have a suitable place to live.
Backlogs continue to clog the system. The state parole agency is collecting about 9,000 transcripts and 1,500 pre-sentence investigation reports ordered to thoroughly research the backgrounds of parole applicants. Rell’s ban on parole came on Sept. 21 after a parolee stole a car at knifepoint in Hartford, and two months after two parolees were accused of killing a mother and two daughters and severely beating the father inside the family’s Cheshire home. Now that the ban has been lifted, violent offenders will be entering a parole system with more staff, better training, more programs and greater offender accountability, said an official. Rell’s recently enacted criminal justice reform law provides for nine new parole officers and beds for offenders in the community.