Early release of baby-stabbing suspect blasted

BRISTOL, Conn. (WTNH) — Arthur Hapgood, the man police say stabbed a 1-year-old girl, was released 233 days early from prison. He participated in the Risk Reduction earned credits program, also known as the “early release program.”

It allows inmates to go for things like counseling, where they can earn up to two months off their sentence every year.

Former state Senator Len Suzio says, “This law recklessly jeopardizes the life and safety of thousands of Connecticut citizens.” Suzio works on the Victim Advocate Advisory Committee and is running for state representative in District 13. He is running to change this law.

“Taxes and jobs are all important, but they don’t mean diddly-squat if you are out there fearing for your life,” he said.

News 8 asked Gov. Dannel Malloy’s office about the law and he referred us to the Department of Correction. They said, “Mr. Hapgood, who was serving a 71-month sentence for robbery, would have been out on the street well before this crime occurred.”

LINK: Connecticut’s early release program

Here is the timeline: Hapgood was released Nov. 13, 2103, or 233 days early. He would have been released around the July 4 holiday. The stabbing happened Aug. 18, 2014.

The state says fewer violent offenders are getting out of prison today than at any point in the last 10 years. “Under the law that was in place five years ago, he almost certainly would have been released much earlier, possibly serving as little as 60 percent of his sentence. That is no longer possible.”

But Suzio says, “It is a fraudulent program designed to fool the public into thinking that thousands of prisoners have reformed their lives.”

Here is a look at Hapgood’s 18-year criminal history: he’s been charged with 28 different crimes. There were 12 convictions, nine of which were for felonies, including escape and violation of probation. While in prison, he was arrested for assaulting a police officer, sale of a controlled substance (two separate cases) and violation of probation.

“When you look at his criminal history what do you think. It’s unbelievable this is the innocent neighborhood I decided to move into and all this happens,” said neighbor Justin Miller.

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