State prison system changes early release credit program to encourage better behavior

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WETHERSFIELD–The state Department of Correction is changing its early release program.

Since 2011, inmates who were well-behaved and participated in prison programs would receive five days off their sentences each month. The inmate’s security risk level was irrelevant.

Now, however, the state has decided to amend the Risk Reduction Earned Credit Program so that inmates who are considered to be a higher security risk get less benefits from the program. The change is meant to add further incentive for offenders to work to get to the lowest security level through program participation and good behavior.

Starting Monday, February 1, only inmates with a security risk level of 1–meaning they pose the lowest security risk–will be eligible for a five-day sentence reduction per month based on good behavior. Here’s the full breakdown of the new system:

  • Security level 4: three days per month of risk reduction earned credits
  • Security level 3: four days per month of risk reduction earned credits
  • Security level 2: four days per month of risk reduction earned credits
  • Security level 1: five days per month of risk reduction earned credits

When an inmate enters the prison system, he or she is assigned a security risk level between 1 and 5 based on criminal history, length of sentence, violence history and gang affiliation, among other factors. The higher the number, the more of a security risk that person is assessed to be.

Level 1 refers to community supervision, level 2 is minimum security, and so on until level 5, which is maximum security.

An inmate’s level is fluid and can be reduced based on good behavior, and the level impacts the inmate’s privileges.