Democrats in the Connecticut House of Representatives outmuscled Republicans yesterday to give final approval to a hotly contested bill that would give inmates sentence-reduction credits if they participate in self-improvement programs. The 90-56 vote came after three hours of debate and was almost completely along party lines, reports the Hartford Courant. The bill goes to Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy, who intends to sign it.
Before approving the bill, the House amended it to exclude prison inmates from earning sentence-reduction credits if they had been convicted of any one of six violent crimes ranging from murder to home invasion. “The offenders will be released [ ] unless they’ve got life without parole,” said Rep. Toni Walker. “Let’s stop making this a game. We need to have a program that is going to make sure people are going to be better.” Said House Majority Leader Brendan Sharkey: “If this is about being ‘soft on crime,’ I say ‘baloney,’ This is about being smart on crime.”