Pushing a law-and-order agenda less than three weeks from a five-candidate Republican primary, former Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst rolled out a six-point plan on Thursday that includes eliminating Governor Dan Malloy’s early prison release program, restoring the death penalty and cracking down on sanctuary cities. See full plan here.
Herbst is appealing to a core conservative bloc against party-endorsed Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, Steve Obsitnik, David Stemerman and Bob Stefanowski. Ultra conservatives tend to vote in higher percentage numbers in primaries. The larger question is how that voting bloc will split among five candidates. Herbst’s strategic path relies on the lion’s share of conservatives while the other four carve up the moderate GOP primary vote. If Herbst emerges from the August 14 primary he then must pivot back to the middle to appeal to the unaffiliated voters who sway statewide elections.
News release from Herbst:
Governor Malloy has used the cover provided by a nationwide trend of decreasing crime to weaken Connecticut’s support for law enforcement, pursue unproven and dangerous prison policies that release criminals from jail early, shelter criminal illegal aliens from federal law enforcement, eliminate capital punishment and much more.
FBI statistics and national rankings from groups like Neighborhood Scout consistently find Connecticut’s cities to be among the most dangerous in the nation.
The criminal justice system itself is in tatters under the failed leadership of the current Democratic administration. In the latter half of 2017 and the first half of 2018 alone, an inmate escaped from the maximum security prison in Somers; a convicted felon, released from prison early under Malloy’s early release program, drove his car through the front of Middlesex Hospital and tried to light himself on fire and another violent offender who was released early engaged in a shootout with police in Hamden. These incidents are in addition to crimes and tragedies we know have been perpetuated by felons deemed safe to release early from prison by this administration, including the murder of a convenience store owner in Meriden by Frankie ‘the Razor’ Resto and the murder of a 14-month-old toddler in Bristol by Arthur Hapgood.
Experimental liberal criminal justice policies, like the governor’s early prison release program, and blatant disregard for the law have made Connecticut a safe haven for violent offenders and criminal illegal aliens who are sheltered in unlawful sanctuary cities. Malloy’s soft-on-crime approach included the elimination of capital punishment, which took away state’s attorneys’ ability to plead down capital murder cases when the threat of the death penalty was taken off the table.
As an executive leader on the local level, I saw firsthand the incredible sacrifice made by our men and women in blue to protect our communities. The lack of support for law enforcement shown by this governor will be reversed on day one of the Herbst administration. As governor, I will never waver in my dedication to our law enforcement community.
The mission of this task force is to discuss, consider and propose policy recommendations and principles to fix Connecticut’s broken criminal justice system, stand up for our law enforcement community and ensure public safety is top of mind for our next governor. To that end, we have brought together leaders with varying perspectives from every level of the criminal justice system and assembled a detailed plan to protect families in our communities, support law enforcement and restore law and order to Connecticut.
Each of the members of this task force provided critical insight and valuable proposals to fix the decaying condition of law and order under this governor. I am filled with optimism that, with the help of thoughtful and dedicated leaders like these, we can restore the safety, respect and hope provided by law and order that is so crucial to restoring prosperity in our state.
We are a nation of laws, and Connecticut will be returned to a state of laws under my leadership.
The six-points of this plan include:
Supporting Law Enforcement.
Bringing a New Vision and Greater Accountability to the Leadership of the Prison System.
Eliminating Gov. Malloy’s Early Prison Release Program.
Restoring Capital Punishment.
Cracking Down on Sanctuary Cities,
And Getting Tough on Drug Traffickers.
I’ll give a very brief overview of each.
Supporting Law Enforcement
I will ensure the state and local police get the funding and resources needed to provide adequate public safety.
I will oppose and counter efforts by politicians or radical activists to vilify law enforcement officials.
And I will support our state’s attorneys through tough law and order policies and legislation to be used as a crime fighting tool. For instance, increasing the mandatory minimum sentences for violent crimes and rescinding Gov. Malloy’s Bail Reform act.
Bringing a New Vision and Greater Accountability to the Leadership of the Prison System
I will make critical changes to the management of the criminal justice system in Connecticut to enhance public safety, including:
Implementing a complete overhaul of the Department of Corrections’ responsibility statement and procedures connected to prisoner release and reentry of violent offenders into our communities.
Conducting a thorough audit of all correctional programs.
And de-politicizing the state’s criminal justice management by consolidating the leadership structure of the criminal justice system and appointing true professionals, not political cronies.
Eliminating Gov. Malloy’s Early Prison Release Program
I am prepared to eliminate the Risk Reduction Earned Credit program (RREC) that releases prisoners back into our communities without completing their prison sentence. There are existing legislative proposals to eliminate the program that warrant serious consideration.
To give a glimpse of the danger this program poses to our communities: During the first six years and four months (76 months) since the inception of the “Risk Reduction” earned credits program, the following statistics apply based on Department of Corrections data obtained by a FOIA request:
Of the group of prisoners discharged early from prison with risk reduction credits during the 72 months after its inception, the following serious crimes were committed resulting in “readmission” to Connecticut prisons once again:
24 acts of arson
1,988 acts of burglary or robbery
1,542 drug related crimes
The program simply does contribute to greater crime and less safe communities – and I will shut it down as governor.
Restoring Capital Punishment
I will seek the reinstatement of the death penalty in Connecticut. If you murder a law enforcement officer or commit heinous and evil crimes, the death penalty should be on the table.
I will also limit the appeals process and habeas corpus petitions in order to expedite the capital punishment process and save taxpayer money.
Cracking Down on Sanctuary Cities
I will have zero tolerance for radical sanctuary city policies that undermine the rule of law and put communities at risk. I’ve made it clear that providing a safe haven and allowing illegal immigrants to live in our state violates federal immigration laws, creates an unsafe community and undermines the rule of law.
I will rescind Gov. Malloy’s directive to local law enforcement that states do not have to enforce federal immigration law.
I will withhold state funding from municipalities or state universities that refuse to follow the law.
I will work with law enforcement leaders to establish a standard procedure for checking immigration status for suspects who have been arrested and are going through a law enforcement booking process.
Getting Tough on Drug Traffickers
I will take an aggressive approach, working closely with law enforcement leaders and prosecutors to crack down on drug dealers who profit from the tragedy of the opioid epidemic and who are the primary drivers of crime in our communities.
I will give the state’s attorneys the resources and funding needed to prosecute drug trafficking cases and stop the decriminalization of drug crimes by liberal activists.
I will seek to increase the penalty and mandatory minimum sentences for drug trafficking charges without judicial departure from the sentence.
I’d like to close by addressing why I chose Norwich as the location for this press conference.
The Second Congressional District, here we are now, is home to nearly 60 percent (8 of 14) of the state’s correctional facilities.
Cities in eastern Connecticut like Norwich and New London offer some of greatest opportunities to revitalize our state and attract and retain young people and exciting companies. They are blessed with tremendous assets, architecture, history and location.
But the perceived and real presence of crime remains a serious deterrent to these cities living up to their full potential. To restore prosperity to our state, we can’t only look at economic policy, we must elect a governor who will fight on every front to revitalize Connecticut.
The nationwide trend of decreasing crime is not an excuse for radical activists or failed leaders like Dan Malloy to tinker with and experiment with the safety of our communities.
With radical left-wing attempts to vilify immigration officials now in full swing, Connecticut, more than ever, needs a governor who will never compromise on standing by our law enforcement officials–local, state and federal–upholding the law, cracking down on crime and protecting our communities.