Hundreds of people attended a Hartford community meeting organized by a group called the Clean Slate Committee to confront Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell about the negative effects of her temporary ban on parole for violent offenders, reports the Hartford Courant. Rell sent Correction Commissioner Theresa Lantz to represent her. When Rell banned parole on Sept. 21 after a parolee stole a car at knifepoint in Hartford, political pressure for action had already been mounting. In July, two parolees were accused of killing a mother and two daughters after holding them hostage and beating the father at their home in Cheshire.
“It is unfair to punish those who have already served their time,” said Nitza De La Paz, whose husband is awaiting release after serving 4 months on a violation of his parole conditions. “It is unfair to punish one person or even 20,000 people for the actions of two heartless individuals. Yes, reforms should be made, but not at the expense of so many reformed individuals and their families. My husband did not commit those heinous crimes, so why is my family one of the many families suffering?” The Clean Slate Committee asked Lantz to guarantee that by Nov. 30, every inmate released would be given a state-issued identification document and that a review of all parolees and inmates eligible for community release would be completed by Nov. 21. They asked that the governor establish a commission with former inmates, their families, advocates, public officials, and two members of Clean Slate that would work on parole and community re-entry. Lantz agreed to establish a commission, but said she could not meet deadlines on the other demands.