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The politics of commutations in Connecticut

Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly speaks into a group of microphones at a press conference with Sen. Heather Somers (right) and Sen. John A. Kissel (left).
Ryan Caron King
Connecticut Public
March 7, 2023: Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly speaks at a press conference with Sen. Heather Somers (right) and Sen. John A. Kissel (left), condemning the increase in commutations for people convicted of violent crimes in Connecticut and calling for more oversight of the state Board of Pardon and Paroles.

Last year, the state’s Board of Pardons and Paroles commuted the prison sentences of 71 people — including 44 doing time for murder.

Now, the board is facing backlash from some families of victims and lawmakers. Following the outcry, Gov. Ned Lamont has removed Carleton Giles as chair of the board. This hour, we'll look at how commutations became the political issue in recent weeks.

Plus, we’ll look into why medical aid-in-dying legislation failed this session.


  • Christopher Keating: Capitol Bureau Chief, Hartford Courant
  • Miriam Gohara: Clinical Professor of Law, Yale Law School
  • Mike Lawlor: Professor of Criminal Justice, University of New Haven; Former Under Secretary for Criminal Justice Policy and Planning for Governor Dannel Malloy
  • Christine Stuart: Editor-in-chief, CT News Junkie

The Wheelhouse is available as a podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, or wherever you get your podcasts. Subscribe and never miss an episode.

Meg Dalton is the deputy director of storytelling for Connecticut Public where she provides editorial support for the station’s talk shows and podcasts, including the limited series 'In Absentia'.
Frankie Graziano is the host of The Wheelhouse, focusing on how local and national politics impact the people of Connecticut.