One of Governor Rell's proposals to close the state's 8 billion dollar budget deficit includes reducing a program that helps former offenders find jobs.
The STRIDE program provides ex-offenders from York Correctional Institution in Niantic, and Bergin Correctional Facility in Storrs, with skills to help them re-enter society.
Program director Julie Scrapchansky says STRIDE participants have a seven percent recidivism rate, compared to a 40 percent rate for all ex-prisoners in the state.
"Individuals who do not go through the stride program are released into the communities with no support," says Scrapchansky. "They're desperate, they have no where to turn, they return to a life of crime. Individuals that have gone through our program, we work with them one on one, we have job developers that are there everyday. That is what enhances public safety. "
State Senate President Don Williams says STRIDE costs about $270,000 a year, but has saved the state almost $8 million in the last decade.
"This is a smart investment in our safety, in a reduction of crime, and in a reduction of correction costs," says Williams. "That's why we are calling on Governor Rell today, to conclude the budget negotiations. Let's have a budget for the state of Connecticut."
Rell's proposal would cut STRIDE's annual budget in half. Her last two executive orders for July and August provided the program no money at all. Her office wouldn't provide a response by deadline.