Thursday, January 10, 2008

Putting as many Americans in prison as is possible is wrong


Maria Tracy of Bridgeport holds a photograph of dead brother David Tracy during a candlelight vigil outside of Bridgeport Correctional Center Wednesday evening. David Tracy died in prison 8 years ago. (MARC-YVES REGIS I / January 9, 2008)

By KATIE MELONE | Courant Staff Writer
January 10, 2008


Task Force Urges Justice Reforms
Proposals Include Creation Of Home Invasion Charge


Echoing an agreement on criminal justice reforms announced Tuesday by Democrats and Gov. M. Jodi Rell, a sentencing-and-parole task force recommended classifying the burglary of an occupied home in the category of the most serious felonies that carry the stiffest sentences.

But the task force went a step further, calling for creation of a separate crime of home invasion to reflect the nature of the act and its effect on residents' sense of security in their homes.

The recommendation, among dozens made Wednesday by the panel convened by the governor, was one of the few designed to directly address issues raised in the wake of the July 23 home invasion and slayings of members of the Petit family in Cheshire.

It also is one of a handful of task force recommendations that could be relatively quickly implemented if approved by the legislature, which will hold a special session on criminal justice reform late this month.

Prompted by lapses in the system exposed by the Cheshire tragedy [click here for blog post], the governor convened the 17-member task force in August to review the criminal justice system. Two convicts with long criminal histories, who had been released on parole, are charged in the deaths of Jennifer Hawke-Petit, 48, and her daughters Hayley, 17, and Michaela, 11.

As a Class A felony — the category of the most serious crimes — home invasion would be punishable by up to 25 years in prison.

"We have to set the standard here in the state that we're not going to accept this," said task force member James Kenny, Vernon's police chief.

Under current law, people who illegally enter homes or buildings, whether occupied or unoccupied, are charged with some form of burglary, classified as B, C or D felonies. Burglary, depending on the degree, is punishable by one to 20 years in prison.

The task force's recommendation to up the ante would create a separate crime that applies only to burglaries committed in occupied homes where the perpetrator tries to commit a felony against someone in the home. The proposed home-invasion charge would also apply to burglaries of occupied residences if the burglar is armed with explosives, a deadly weapon or a deadly instrument, such as a Taser.

The task force also made recommendations on several other hot-button reform proposals outlined by the governor Tuesday. The recommendations include hiring four full-time members for the parole board, lessening the strictures of the state's existing persistent-offender law to make it easier to prosecute, improving access to juvenile records, youthful offender and other records and improving notification systems for crime victims.

Contact Katie Melone at kmelone@courant.com.

Copyright © 2008, The Hartford Courant

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The Connecticut Prison System wrecking and snuffing out life


David Mark Tracy, dead for having been caught with $100 of drugs ending up in the custody of Connecticut's abusive and overcrowded prison system


Excerpt: David was only 17 years old when he went to jail for possession of approximately $100 dollars worth of drugs, which were found near but not on him. He was sentenced to 30 months in prison and spent fewer than 2 years in a Connecticut prison before he was transferred to the newly-built, and already notorious Wallens Ridge Unit, which sits on an isolated mountain top in Virginia.

Wallens Ridge is staffed by a cadre of racist guards who immediately singled David out for verbal and physical abuse because he associated with people of all races. David wrote home that the guards were always messing with him and had begun spraying women?s perfume into his cell and calling him "nigger lover", "race traitor", "northern scum" and "Connecticut bastard."

[click here] for more
note: freespeech.com links in above link no longer go to intended posts

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