CHAPTER 970
SENTENCING COMMISSION

Table of Contents

Sec. 54-300. (Note: This section is effective February 1, 2011.) Sentencing Commission.

      Sec. 54-300. (Note: This section is effective February 1, 2011.) Sentencing Commission. (a) There is established, within existing budgetary resources, a Connecticut Sentencing Commission which shall be within the Office of Policy and Management for administrative purposes only.

      (b) The mission of the commission shall be to review the existing criminal sentencing structure in the state and any proposed changes thereto, including existing statutes, proposed criminal justice legislation and existing and proposed sentencing policies and practices and make recommendations to the Governor, the General Assembly and appropriate criminal justice agencies.

      (c) In fulfilling its mission, the commission shall recognize that: (1) The primary purpose of sentencing in the state is to enhance public safety while holding the offender accountable to the community, (2) sentencing should reflect the seriousness of the offense and be proportional to the harm to victims and the community, using the most appropriate sanctions available, including incarceration, community punishment and supervision, (3) sentencing should have as an overriding goal the reduction of criminal activity, the imposition of just punishment and the provision of meaningful and effective rehabilitation and reintegration of the offender, and (4) sentences should be fair, just and equitable while promoting respect for the law.

      (d) The commission shall be composed of the following members:

      (1) Eight persons appointed one each by: (A) The Governor, (B) the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, (C) the president pro tempore of the Senate, (D) the speaker of the House of Representatives, (E) the majority leader of the Senate, (F) the majority leader of the House of Representatives, (G) the minority leader of the Senate, and (H) the minority leader of the House of Representatives, all of whom shall serve for a term of four years;

      (2) Two judges appointed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, one of whom shall serve for a term of one year and one of whom shall serve for a term of three years;

      (3) One representative of the Court Support Services Division of the Judicial Branch appointed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, who shall serve for a term of two years;

      (4) The Commissioner of Correction, who shall serve for a term coterminous with his or her term of office;

      (5) The Chief State's Attorney, who shall serve for a term coterminous with his or her term of office;

      (6) The Chief Public Defender, who shall serve for a term coterminous with his or her term of office;

      (7) One state's attorney appointed by the Chief State's Attorney, who shall serve for a term of three years;

      (8) One member of the criminal defense bar appointed by the president of the Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, who shall serve for a term of three years;

      (9) The Victim Advocate, who shall serve for a term coterminous with his or her term of office;

      (10) The chairperson of the Board of Pardons and Paroles, who shall serve for a term coterminous with his or her term of office;

      (11) The Commissioner of Public Safety, who shall serve for a term coterminous with his or her term of office;

      (12) A municipal police chief appointed by the president of the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association, who shall serve for a term of two years;

      (13) The Commissioner of Mental Health and Addiction Services, who shall serve for a term coterminous with his or her term of office;

      (14) The undersecretary of the Criminal Justice Policy and Planning Division within the Office of Policy and Management, who shall serve for a term coterminous with his or her term of office; and

      (15) An active or retired judge appointed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, who shall serve as chairperson of the commission and serve for a term of four years.

      (e) The commission shall elect a vice-chairperson from among the membership. Appointed members of the commission shall serve for the term specified in subsection (d) of this section and may be reappointed. Any vacancy in the appointed membership of the commission shall be filled by the appointing authority for the unexpired portion of the term.

      (f) The commission shall:

      (1) Facilitate the development and maintenance of a state-wide sentencing database in collaboration with state and local agencies, using existing state databases or resources where appropriate;

      (2) Evaluate existing sentencing statutes, policies and practices including conducting a cost-benefit analysis;

      (3) Conduct sentencing trends analyses and studies and prepare offender profiles;

      (4) Provide training regarding sentencing and related issues, policies and practices;

      (5) Act as a sentencing policy resource for the state;

      (6) Preserve judicial discretion and provide for individualized sentencing;

      (7) Evaluate the impact of pretrial, sentencing diversion, incarceration and post-release supervision programs;

      (8) Perform fiscal impact analyses on selected proposed criminal justice legislation; and

      (9) Identify potential areas of sentencing disparity related to racial, ethnic, gender and socioeconomic status.

      (g) Upon completing the development of the state-wide sentencing database pursuant to subdivision (1) of subsection (f) of this section, the commission shall review criminal justice legislation as requested and as resources allow.

      (h) The commission shall make recommendations concerning criminal justice legislation, including proposed modifications thereto, to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to the judiciary which shall hold a hearing thereon.

      (i) The commission shall have access to confidential information received by sentencing courts and the Board of Pardons and Paroles including, but not limited to, arrest data, criminal history records, medical records and other nonconviction information.

      (j) The commission shall obtain full and complete information with respect to programs and other activities and operations of the state that relate to the criminal sentencing structure in the state.

      (k) The commission may request any office, department, board, commission or other agency of the state or any political subdivision of the state to supply such records, information and assistance as may be necessary or appropriate in order for the commission to carry out its duties. Each officer or employee of such office, department, board, commission or other agency of the state or any political subdivision of the state is authorized and directed to cooperate with the commission and to furnish such records, information and assistance.

      (l) The commission may accept, on behalf of the state, any grants of federal or private funds made available for any purposes consistent with the provisions of this section.

      (m) Any records or information supplied to the commission that is confidential in accordance with any provision of the general statutes shall remain confidential while in the custody of the commission and shall not be disclosed. Any penalty for the disclosure of such records or information applicable to the officials, employees and authorized representatives of the office, department, board, commission or other agency of the state or any political subdivision of the state that supplied such records or information shall apply in the same manner and to the same extent to the members, staff and authorized representatives of the commission.

      (n) The commission shall be deemed to be a criminal justice agency as defined in subsection (b) of section 54-142g.

      (o) The commission shall meet at least once during each calendar quarter and at such other times as the chairperson deems necessary.

      (p) Not later than January 15, 2012, and annually thereafter, the commission shall submit a report, in accordance with the provisions of section 11-4a, to the Governor, the General Assembly and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

      (P.A. 10-129, S. 1.)

      History: P.A. 10-129 effective February 1, 2011.

      See Sec. 4-38f for definition of "administrative purposes only".

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