Row­land to get early re­lease from prison

The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT) - - NEWS - By Neil Vig­dor

John G. Row­land still knows how to work the sys­tem — even as in­mate No. 15623-014.

The for­mer gov­er­nor and twice-con­victed felon is set to be re­leased early from a min­i­mum se­cu­rity prison camp in Penn­syl­va­nia, 19 months into a 30-month sen­tence for cam­paign fraud, Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia has learned.

Fed­eral Bu­reau of Pris­ons spokesman Justin Long con­firmed that Row­land’s re­lease date has been moved up to May 27, 2018, but said he could not com­ment fur­ther on the specifics of the case be­cause of pri­vacy laws.

Even when fac­tor­ing time off for good be­hav­ior, Row­land, 60, a Repub­li­can who re­signed as gov­er­nor in 2004 and went to prison for ac­cept­ing bribes from a state con­trac­tor, is still ahead of pace.

“Fed­eral sen­tenc­ing law al­lows in­mates to earn up to 54 days credit for each year served based on good con­duct,” Long said in an email. “In ad­di­tion, in­mates may re­lease up to 12 months early if they com­plete the Bu­reau of Pris­ons’ Res­i­den­tial Drug Abuse Pro­gram (RDAP), and in­mates may re­lease early via court or­der such as a com­pas­sion­ate re­lease (due to old age and med­i­cal con­di­tions) or clemency.”

Row­land isn’t the first Con­necti­cut pub­lic ser­vant to get a sen­tence re­duc­tion — and likely won’t be the last.

Demo­crat Joe Ganim, who was re-elected as Bridge­port mayor in 2015 and is lean­ing to­ward a run for gov­er­nor, shaved a year off his sen­tence for cor­rup­tion by com­plet­ing a 500-hour sub­stance abuse pro­gram sim­i­lar to one of­fered at the prison camp where Row­land is in­car­cer­ated. He served seven years.

It’s un­clear if Row­land will be re­leased to a half­way house, which crim­i­nal jus­tice ex­perts say is not un­com­mon for low-risk in­mates.

The youngest gov­er­nor in Con­necti­cut his­tory who was elected to three terms, Row­land was found guilty in Septem­ber 2014 of cam­paign fraud, con­spir­acy and ob­struc­tion of jus­tice. The con­vic­tion stemmed from Row­land’s work as an offthe-books cam­paign con­sul­tant for 2012 GOP con­gres­sional hope­ful Lisa Wil­sonFo­ley.

Through a nurs­ing home busi­ness owned by Wil­sonFo­ley’s hus­band, Brian Fo­ley, the cou­ple steered $35,000 in pay­ments to Row­land. They did not want to be tainted by hav­ing Row­land on the cam­paign pay­roll, but ad­mit­ted that he still had in­flu­ence in the 5th Con­gres­sional District and Row­land’s home city of Water­bury. Row­land re­ported to prison in Septem­ber 2016 af­ter ex­haust­ing the ap­peals process.

Elvis has left the build­ing

A Week 5 matchup of the win­less 49ers at a Colts team miss­ing An­drew Luck would seem to have lit­tle root­ing in­ter­est for Chris Mur­phy — the Con­necti­cut sen­a­tor is a Giants fan.

But the game, won in over­time by Indianapolis af­ter the Colts re­tired Pey­ton Man­ning’s jer­sey at half­time, riled up the Demo­crat. Not be­cause he took San Fran­cisco and the un­der.

No he didn’t have money on the game, but Mur­phy says the tax­pay­ers got stuck with the bill when Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence left the game in the first quar­ter.

The veep grabbed head­lines when he skipped out of Lu­cas Oil Sta­dium af­ter more than a dozen 49ers took a knee dur­ing the na­tional an­them. The trav­el­ing press pool with Pence was kept wait­ing in vans, which opened the vice pres­i­dent up to crit­i­cism that his exit was pre-planned and that his cameo at the game forced fans to wait longer in se­cu­rity lines.

“Don’t let th­ese guys tell you they are fis­cal con­ser­va­tives. This was a mul­ti­mil­lion dol­lar po­lit­i­cal stunt paid for by tax­pay­ers,” Mur­phy tweeted Sun­day night.

Pence tweeted he won’t tol­er­ate play­ers kneel­ing.

“I left to­day’s Colts game be­cause @POTUS and I will not dig­nify any event that dis­re­spects our sol­diers, our Flag, or our Na­tional An­them.”

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