How Republicans Are Getting Mileage Out of the Governor's Early-Release Plan

October 16 2009, 10:43 AM

Penry, JoshBack in 1982, Benny Joe Rael was convicted of a sex assault against a child, although he went to prison for something else--a nonviolent theft. He was recently released from prison early---by just 16 days---and though Colorado Parole Board chairman David Michaud, a former Denver police chief, wasn't aware of Rael's conviction for a sex assault, he says an evaluation determined Rael was a low risk. Rael was among the first batch of convicts released early to help our cash-strapped state save $19 million, according to 7News. And because Governor Bill Ritter promised that sex offenders---or killers or kidnappers---would not be released early, state Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry and former Republican Congressman Scott McInnis, both of whom seek to challenge Ritter in next year's election, say the program should be shut down (via The Associated Press). "This policy is madness and it should be stopped immediately," Penry (pictured) says, claiming that one or more of the prisoners released early is likely to re-offend, based on their pasts, and that prosecuting the cases would eliminate any savings to taxpayers. To make room for early releases, about 2,600 former inmates currently on parole will no longer be supervised, reports News Channel 13 in Colorado Springs.

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