Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell has indefinitely halted the paroles of violent offenders after authorities said a parolee stole a car at knifepoint in Hartford, then fled to New York, where he was shot and wounded by police, the Hartford Courant reports. With the parole system already reeling from the Cheshire triple slayings, the arrest James Biggs, 45, a career criminal paroled Aug. 30 for the third time in two years, pushed Rell to take action. “No more. Security comes first,” she said. “I will not allow public safety to be jeopardized because parolees return to a life of crime.”
Rell also ordered that an undetermined number of parolees, whose criminal histories make them a risk, be returned to custody until they can be fitted with electronic monitoring. The impact on the prison population of Rell’s orders was not immediately clear. Connecticut’s parole system has been under a microscope since July, when two recently paroled burglars were arrested fleeing the Petit family home in Cheshire. They are accused of strangling Jennifer Hawke-Petit and killing her two daughters by setting their house afire. Until Friday, Rell had taken a measured approach to the Cheshire case, ordering parole officials to tighten the standards for the release of house burglars and convening a task force to review sentencing and parole with an eye toward legislative reforms.