OLR BILL ANALYSIS

sHB 5211 (as amended by House "A", "B", "C", and "D")*

AN ACT CONCERNING PRISON OVERCROWDING

SUMMARY:

This bill combines the Board of Pardons and Board of Parole into the Board of Pardons and Paroles, makes a number of changes related to parole, allows the board and Department of Correction (DOC) to transfer certain inmates to facilities other than prisons under certain circumstances, and alters a number of release provisions that apply to parole and DOC.

The bill removes the court's discretion to depart from a mandatory minimum sentence for certain drug crimes under certain circumstances.

The bill sets rules for Board of Pardons and Paroles membership and hearings, makes the board chairman the executive and administrative head of the board (the DOC commissioner currently heads the Board of Parole), creates an executive director who has many of the responsibilities currently assigned to the DOC commissioner, and requires certain regulations. The bill makes the Board of Pardons and Paroles part of DOC for administrative purposes only, specifies the board's independent decision-making authority, and makes DOC responsible for supervising parolees.

The bill makes a number of changes regarding parole. It:

1. requires a parole hearing for someone who is (a) eligible for release after serving 50% of his sentence but has not been released after serving 75% of his sentence or (b) eligible for release after serving 85% of his sentence when he reaches the 85% mark;

2. changes eligibility for administrative parole;

3. allows the board chairman to transfer inmates granted parole to a halfway house, group home, mental health facility, or an approved community or private residence within 18 months of their parole release date;

4. allows an inmate to receive a compassionate parole release under certain circumstances;

5. requires a board employee to conduct parole revocation and rescission hearings;

6. requires the board chairman and executive director to consult with DOC to develop a parole orientation program;

7. requires the board chairman and executive director to create an incremental sanctions system for parole violations; and

8. requires a hearing on a violation of special parole.

The bill requires development of (1) plans to reduce by at least 20% the number of incarcerations due to technical violations of the conditions of probation or parole and (2) a comprehensive reentry strategy.

The bill requires the board to create an administrative pardons process for certain people.

It makes a number of changes regarding DOC's options with inmates. It:

1. allows DOC, unless the court orders otherwise, to release people charged only with a misdemeanor or most class D felonies who are committed by the court to DOC to a DOC-approved residence;

2. requires DOC to issue a request for proposals for a community justice center in Hartford;

3. authorizes DOC to transfer an inmate on work or education release to an approved community or private residence if he already participated satisfactorily in a residential program;

4. increases, from 15 to 30 days, the length of time DOC can release an inmate on furlough to visit a dying relative, attend a relative's funeral, get otherwise unavailable medical services, contact prospective employers, or for other compelling reasons consistent with rehabilitation; and

5. requires DOC, which is authorized to contract to send an additional 2,000 inmates out-of-state, to submit that contract to the Appropriations and Judiciary committees for review and comment before entering the contract.

The bill also:

1. allows someone to participate in the alcohol and drug dependency diversion program twice, instead of once, if he is otherwise eligible;

2. changes a number of provisions on recovering the costs of an inmate's incarceration, including making additional types of property subject to the state's claim but excluding others such as property acquired for work performed during incarceration as part of a program designated or defined in regulation by DOC as job training, skill development, a career opportunity, or an enhancement program;

3. changes the credit that a person receives toward payment of a fine from $ 50 a day to the average daily cost of incarceration when he is held (a) only for payment of a fine or (b) in pre-sentence confinement;

4. gives a child arrested and held in a juvenile matter credit toward his probation sentence for time spent in certain facilities;

5. creates a subcommittee on corrections behavioral health in the Prison and Jail Overcrowding Commission (PJOC) and alters the commission membership; and

6. requires studies (a) by the Legislative Program Review and Investigations Committee (LPRIC) and the Office of Fiscal Analysis of the bill's implementation and effects and (b) by LPRIC of the impact and costs of mandatory minimum sentences.

The bill makes a number of other minor and technical changes.

*House Amendment "A" makes the Board of Pardons and Paroles part of DOC for administrative purposes only, specifies the board's independent decision-making authority and makes DOC responsible for supervising parolees, puts parolees under the jurisdiction rather than custody and control of a board panel, requires the board and DOC commissioner to exercise discretion to change the limits of a parolee's residence, sets standards for assessing suitability for parole release at certain required hearings, requires commitment of a parolee to a correctional institution rather than to DOC custody if the board revokes special parole, requires a study of mandatory minimum sentences, specifies that DOC is responsible for supervising parolees and administering the Interstate Compact for Adult Offender Supervision , and makes technical changes.

*House Amendment "B" excludes from the state's claim for costs of an inmate's incarceration property acquired for work performed during incarceration as part of a program designated or defined in DOC regulations as job training, skill development, a career opportunity, or an enhancement program.

*House Amendment "C" adds the provision on a behavioral health subcommittee within the PJOC.

*House Amendment "D" deletes provisions allowing departures from certain mandatory minimum sentences and repeals the provisions in current law on departing from mandatory minimum sentences for certain drug crimes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage, except the provisions on creating the Board of Pardons and Paroles, administrative pardons regulations, incremental sanctions system, and parole orientation program are effective July 1, 2004.

BOARD OF PARDONS AND PAROLES (§§ 1-2, 32, 33, 35)

Under current law, the Board of Pardons and Board of Parole are part of DOC. The bill combines these boards into the Board of Pardons and Paroles and makes the new board part of DOC for administrative purposes only. It makes DOC responsible for supervising parolees transferred to the new board's jurisdiction. It specifies that DOC is responsible for supervising parolees and administering the Interstate Compact for Adult Offender Supervision.

The bill gives the board independent decision-making authority to (1) grant or deny parole or special parole, (2) set parole and special parole supervision conditions, (3) rescind or revoke parole or special parole, and (4) grant releases and commute punishments including the death penalty.

Beginning October 1, 2004, the new board consists of 13 members appointed by the governor with the consent of either house of the General Assembly (under current law, the Board of Parole has 15 members and the Board of Pardons has five members appointed in this manner).

The bill ends the terms of members of the Parole Board on September 30, 2004. New members serve for the length of the governor's term. Under current law, the Parole Board chairman and vice-chairman serve for the length of the governor's term and until a successor is appointed, members serve four-year terms, and Pardons Board members serve six years.

Like the Parole Board members under current law, members of the new board are paid $ 110 for each day spent performing their duties and receive necessary expenses.

The bill requires the governor to appoint the chairman from among the members. This person must be qualified by education, experience, and training in administering community corrections, parole, or pardons. It requires the chairman to work full time at his duties and be paid as determined by the Department of Administrative Services commissioner. This requirement currently applies to the Parole Board chairman.

The bill makes the new board the successor to the Board of Pardons and Board of Parole, substitutes the new board whenever the others are used in the statutes or 2003 and 2004 public acts, and requires the Legislative Commissioners' Office to make necessary changes.

Hearings

The bill authorizes the chairman to sit on both pardons and parole release panels. He must assign seven members exclusively to parole release hearings and five to pardons hearings. Except for the chairman, no member assigned to one type of hearing can later be assigned to the other.

The bill requires the chairman or his designee and two members to conduct all parole hearings and approve or deny all parole release, revocation, or rescission recommendations from a board employee. Pardons panels consist of three members. The chairman can be one of the members, but he must be on the panel for hearings on commutation of the death penalty.

The bill requires the board to hold a pardons hearing at least every three months. The hearings must be in various geographic areas of the state, and the board cannot hold hearings in or on correctional facility grounds unless solely for the benefit of applicants incarcerated at the time of the hearing.

The bill repeals provisions on appointing members of the Board of Pardons, placing the board in DOC, requiring four out of the five members to approve a decision, authorizing the board to compel the attendance of witnesses, giving the secretary the power to issue process to command DOC officials to bring prisoners before the board, and certain other board procedures.

Chairman

The bill makes the chairman of the Board of Paroles and Pardons, instead of the DOC commissioner, the executive and administrative head of the board and requires him to:

1. oversee the board's administrative affairs;

2. adopt policies for all areas of pardons and paroles, including granting pardons, commutations, or releases including commutations of the death penalty; risk-based structured decision making; and release criteria (current law requires the DOC commissioner to set policies in all areas of parole including decision making, release criteria, and supervision standards);

3. consult with DOC on common issues, including prison overcrowding;

4. consult with the Judicial Branch on common issues, including community supervision; and

5. sign and issue subpoenas to compel witnesses to attend and testify at parole hearings.

Executive Director

The bill requires the chairman to appoint an executive director who has many of the DOC commissioner's current functions. The executive director must:

1. direct and supervise all administrative affairs;

2. prepare the budget and annual operation plan;

3. assign staff to administrative reviews;

4. organize pardons and parole release hearing calendars;

5. implement a uniform case filing and processing system; and

6. create staff and member development, training, and education programs.

Regulations

The bill requires the chairman, in consultation with the executive director, to adopt regulations (1) for parole revocation and rescission hearings that include due process requirements and (2) requiring board members in pardons hearings to issue written statements of the reasons for rejecting a pardon application. The bill requires the chairman to adopt regulations, rather than policy, to administer the Interstate Parole Compact.

MANDATORY MINIMUM SENTENCES (§ 36)

The bill eliminates a court's discretion to depart from a mandatory minimum for good cause under certain circumstances for the following crimes:

1. manufacture or sale of drugs and related crimes (CGS § 21a-278);

2. manufacture or sale of drugs within 1,500 feet of elementary or high schools, public housing, or day care centers (21a-278a(b));

3. use, possession, or delivery of drug paraphernalia within 1,500 feet of a school by a non-student (21a-267(c)); and

4. drug possession within 1,500 feet of a school or day care center (21a-279(d)).

Under current law, the court can depart from the mandatory minimum for these crimes only if it finds that in committing the offense the person (1) did not use or attempt or threaten to use physical force; (2) did not cause physical or serious physical injury to another person; and (3) was unarmed and did not use, display, or represent that he had a deadly weapon (such as a gun or knife) or other instrument that could cause death or serious injury. The court must state in open court the reasons for imposing the sentence and departing from the mandatory minimum and a person can only use this provision once.

PAROLE CHANGES

Parole Supervision and Required Parole Hearings (§ 3)

By law, someone is eligible for parole after serving 50% of his sentence unless he committed (1) a crime where the underlying facts and circumstances involved the use, attempted use, or threatened use of force, which makes him eligible only after serving 85% of the sentence or (2) certain serious crimes that are ineligible for parole.

The bill provides that a parolee on parole is under the board's jurisdiction rather than the board's custody and control. It requires anyone released under this provision to remain under DOC custody and be subject to its supervision during the parole period.

Under current law, a parole order must fix the limits of a parolee's residence but the parole panel has discretion to change it. The bill requires the board and DOC commissioner to jointly exercise this discretion.

The bill requires a hearing to determine the suitability for parole release of inmates (1) who are eligible for parole after serving 50% of their sentences but who have not been released to parole after they have served 75% of their sentences and (2) who are eligible for parole after serving 85% of their sentence when they reach the 85% mark. A board employee or a panel, if the chairman finds it necessary, must base the assessment on whether (1) there is a reasonable probability that the person will refrain from violating the law and (2) the benefits to the person and society resulting from release substantially outweigh the benefits to the person and society from his continued incarceration. The board must state for the record specific reasons why the person and the public would not benefit from the person's parole while transitioning to the community if it requires continued confinement. The board's decision is not appealable.

Administrative Parole Eligibility (§ 4)

The bill makes all inmates subject to the 50% rule eligible for parole without a hearing and excludes all others. By law, under this procedure, a board employee must review the inmate's case and recommend parole, and at least two board members must approve it. The bill:

1. makes all those subject to the 85% rule ineligible,

2. removes the prohibition for using this procedure for inmates who have more than three years left on their sentences, and

3. removes the prohibition for using this procedure for inmates convicted of certain crimes (but many of these crimes are subject to the 85% rule and would remain ineligible for this procedure under the bill).

The crimes are: manslaughter in the 1st degree; manslaughter in the 1st degree with a firearm; manslaughter in the 2nd degree; manslaughter in the 2nd degree with a firearm; manslaughter in the 2nd degree with a motor vehicle; misconduct with a motor vehicle; criminally negligent homicide; 1st degree assault; 1st degree assault of an elderly, blind, disabled, pregnant, or mentally retarded person; 1st degree sexual assault; 1st degree aggravated sexual assault; sexual assault in spousal or cohabiting relationship; kidnapping in the 1st degree; kidnapping in the 1st degree with a firearm; 1st degree robbery; and employing a minor in an obscene performance.

The bill also allows the board's chairman to require a parole hearing if he deems it necessary. As under current law, a hearing must be held at a victim's request.

As under current law, a person with six months or less left in his sentence who agrees to certain conditions under a separate parole eligibility statute can use this procedure.

Transfer to Halfway Houses and Other Facilities (§ 9)

The bill allows the board chairman to transfer inmates granted parole who are within 18 months of their parole release date to a public or private nonprofit halfway house, group home, mental health facility, or approved community or private residence. Someone released under this provision is transferred to the board's jurisdiction but he remains under DOC custody and DOC is responsible for supervising him. He may be returned to confinement in a correctional facility at any time.

Compassionate Parole Release (§ 28)

The bill allows the Board of Parole to grant an inmate, other than one convicted of a capital felony, a compassionate parole release if he:

1. is physically incapable of presenting a danger to society because he is physically or mentally debilitated, incapacitated or infirm because of advanced age, or has a non-terminal condition, disease, or syndrome and

2. has served at least half of his sentence or half of his remaining sentence after the board commuted his original sentence.

A person granted a release is subject to terms and conditions set by the board and is supervised by DOC.

Parole Hearings to Revoke or Rescind Parole (§ 6)

The bill requires a board employee to conduct all parole revocation and rescission hearings. To revoke or rescind parole or special parole, the bill requires the employee to recommend revocation or recession after a hearing and at least two members of a panel must approve it.

Parole Eligibility (§ 3)

The bill allows people convicted of an offense committed with a firearm in, on, or within 1,500 feet of elementary or secondary school grounds to be eligible for parole. (People convicted of these crimes would be subject to the existing parole eligibility requirements and likely would be eligible after serving 85% of their sentence because use of a firearm would be considered use, attempted use, or threatened use of force. ) The bill makes someone convicted of 1st degree aggravated sexual assault ineligible for parole.

The bill deletes a requirement that the Board of Parole report monthly to the Office of Policy and Management and the Appropriations, Judiciary, and Public Safety committees on the number of inmates eligible for parole who completed 75% of their sentence in the preceding month and were not approved for parole.

Parole Orientation Program (§ 1(j)(1))

The bill requires the board chairman and executive director, in consultation with DOC, to develop a parole orientation program for inmates eligible for parole when they are transferred to DOC custody. The program must include general legal information and policies on parole release, calculating time served, conditions of release, supervision practices, revocation and rescission policies, and procedures for administrative review and panel hearings. It must include any other relevant information to prepare inmates for parole.

Incremental Sanctions for Parole Violations (§ 1(j)(2))

The bill requires the chairman and executive director to create an incremental sanctions system for parole violations that includes re-incarceration based on the type, severity, and frequency of the violation and specific periods of incarceration for certain violations.

Placement in Any DOC Correctional Institution (§ 8)

The bill allows a paroled inmate returned to DOC custody to be placed in any correctional institution and not just the one he was paroled from. This also applies to someone on special parole.

Special Parole (§ 5)

By law, when a person leaves prison and serves a period of special parole, he is transferred from DOC custody to the jurisdiction of the Parole Board chairman. The bill makes DOC responsible for supervising the person during the special parole period.

Under the bill, when a parole officer determines that someone violated the conditions of his special parole, the board must hold a hearing on the charge without unnecessary delay. The parolee must be told of the manner of the alleged violation and be advised of his due process rights. Once a violation is established, the bill authorizes the board to (1) continue the special parole, (2) modify or enlarge its conditions, or (3) revoke the sentence of special parole.

The bill requires the chairman to issue an order to commit the person to a correctional institution when the board revokes his special parole. The commitment period cannot exceed the unexpired portion of the special parole, and the board can allow the person to be released again on special parole at any time without a court order.

PLANS TO REDUCE INCARCERATION FOR TECHNICAL VIOLATIONS OF CONDITIONS OF PROBATION AND PAROLE (§ 26)

The bill requires:

1. the Judicial Branch to develop a plan to reduce the number of incarcerations due to technical violations of the conditions of probation by at least 20% and

2. the Board of Parole and DOC to develop a plan to reduce the number of incarcerations due to technical violations of the conditions of parole by at least 20%.

The plans must include cost estimates. The Judicial Branch and Parole Board and DOC must submit their plans to the Appropriations and Judiciary committees by October 15, 2004 and, if they receive funding, implement them and report again to the committees by August 15, 2005.

REENTRY STRATEGY (§ 29)

The bill requires the Parole Board, Judicial Branch, and the departments of Correction, Mental Health and Addiction Services, Social Services, and Labor to collaborate to develop and implement a comprehensive reentry strategy. The strategy must:

1. provide a continuum of custody, care, and control for offenders discharged from DOC custody;

2. assist in maintaining the prison population at or below authorized bed capacity;

3. support victims' rights;

4. protect the public; and

5. promote successful transition from incarceration to the community.

The bill requires DOC to report annually on the success of the reentry strategy to the Appropriations, Judiciary, and Public Safety committees beginning January 1, 2005. It requires the strategy's success to be measured by the:

1. recidivism and community re-victimization rates;

2. number of inmates eligible for release on parole, transitional supervision, probation, or other release programs;

3. number of inmates who transition from incarceration to the community complying with a discharge plan;

4. prison bed capacity ratios;

5. adequacy of the network of community-based treatment, vocational, educational, supervision, and other services and programs; and

6. reinvestment of any savings from reducing the prison population into reentry and community-based services and programs.

ADMINISTRATIVE PARDONS REGULATIONS (§ 1(H)(2))

The bill requires the board chairman, in consultation with the executive director, to adopt regulations to establish an administrative pardons process that allows people convicted of a crime to receive a pardon without a hearing, unless a victim requests one, if the person was:

1. convicted of a misdemeanor and (a) it is no longer a crime, (b) he was under age 21 at the time of the conviction and has no convictions during the 10 years before receiving the pardon, or (c) he was convicted before pretrial programs were created that the person would have been eligible for and likely participated in or

2. convicted of (a) illegal manufacture, distribution, sale, prescription, or dispensing drugs; (b) illegal manufacture, distribution, sale, prescription, or dispensing drugs by a non-drug-dependent person; or (c) illegal possession of drugs; and he has no convictions during the five years before receiving the pardon and it is at least five years since the person's conviction and release from prison.

The pretrial programs are the alcohol and drug dependency program, pretrial family violence education program, alternative incarceration program, community service labor program, accelerated rehabilitation, pretrial alcohol education program, pretrial drug education program, and pretrial school violence prevention program.

DOC OPTIONS

Release by DOC of Pre-Conviction Inmates (§ 10)

The bill allows DOC to release people the court commits to its custody to a DOC-approved residence when they are charged only with a misdemeanor or most class D felonies. This provision does not apply to the following class D felonies: 2nd degree assault with a firearm; 2nd degree assault of an elderly, blind, disabled, pregnant, or mentally retarded person (with or without a firearm); 2nd degree assault with a motor vehicle; 3rd degree sexual assault; 4th degree sexual assault when the victim is under age 16; or 1st degree stalking. DOC cannot exercise this authority if the court orders otherwise.

The bill allows DOC to impose conditions on the person's release including participating in a substance abuse treatment program, electronic monitoring, or use of any other monitoring technology or services. The person remains under DOC custody and is supervised by DOC employees. The person can be returned to prison for violating the conditions.

Community Justice Center Request for Proposals (§ 27)

The 2003 budget act (PA 03-1, June 30 Special Session) transfers $ 2,000,000 from the appropriation to DOC for Personal Services to its appropriation for Community Justice Centers during FY 2004-05.

To implement this provision, the bill requires DOC, by October 1, 2004, to issue a request for proposals for a community justice center in Hartford with at least 500 beds to be operated by a nonprofit corporation that (1) has experience in operating these facilities and (2) is exempt from federal taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Corporations submitting proposals must have an acceptable site for the center as of the due date for submitting proposals.

Work and Education Release (§ 30)

The bill authorizes DOC to transfer an inmate on work or education release to an approved community or private residence if he already participated satisfactorily in a residential program. The law allows DOC to transfer someone to a different correctional institution, public or private nonprofit halfway house, group home, or mental health facility as part of this program. The bill eliminates the requirement that the warden, superintendent, or other person in charge of a facility concur with DOC's decision before transferring a person to that facility. As under current law, a transferred inmate remains under DOC jurisdiction.

Furloughs (§ 31)

The bill increases, from 15 to 30 days, the length of time DOC can release an inmate on furlough to visit a dying relative, attend a relative's funeral, get otherwise unavailable medical services, contact prospective employers, or for other compelling reasons consistent with rehabilitation.

By law, DOC must have a reasonable belief that the inmate will honor the trust, must specifically designate the place to be visited, and prescribe conditions. DOC has discretion to renew a furlough. By law, failure to return from a furlough is 1st degree escape, a class C felony punishable by one to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $ 10,000, or both.

Inmates Out-of-State (§ 11)

The law authorizes the DOC commissioner to enter into contracts with government or private vendors to supervise up to 500 inmates out of state and, during the 2003-05 biennium, to enter into contracts with government or private vendors to supervise up to 2,000 additional inmates out of state. The law also authorizes the commissioner to enter into a contract for some or all of the additional 2,000 inmates with the Virginia Department of Corrections (which has an existing contract to supervise 500 inmates) without following the competitive bidding or negotiation requirements.

The bill requires the commissioner to submit the proposed contracts for the additional 2,000 inmates to the Appropriations and Judiciary committees for review and comment before entering the contract.

ELIGIBILITY FOR ALCOHOL AND DRUG DEPENDENCY DIVERSION PROGRAM (§ 23)

The law authorizes courts to order drug or alcohol dependent offenders into treatment in lieu of prosecution or incarceration. Under current law, anyone who was previously ordered treated under this program or under earlier versions of this program is ineligible. The bill instead makes someone ineligible if he twice used one of these programs. As under current law, the court can waive the eligibility rules.

By law, the pretrial diversion aspect of this program covers all drug sale and possession crimes. A person charged with driving under the influence; assault in the second degree with a motor vehicle; or a class A, B, or C felony is not eligible for suspended prosecution and treatment.

RECOVERING COSTS OF INCARCERATION

Property Subject to Claim (§ 17)

The law gives the state a claim for the costs of an inmate's incarceration on his estate, inheritance, and proceeds won in a lawsuit.

The bill gives the state a claim against any property owned by an inmate except:

1. property that is statutorily exempt from execution to satisfy court judgments and exempt property of a farm partnership;

2. money from a contract for reenacting the inmate's violent crime in various media (such as movies and books) or from the expression of the person's thoughts or feelings about the crime which is required to be paid to the Office of Victim Services;

3. property the inmate acquired after he was released from incarceration; and

4. property acquired for work performed during incarceration as part of a program designated or defined in regulation by DOC as job training, skill development, a career opportunity, or an enhancement program.

But the state's claim does apply to lottery and pari-mutuel winnings after the person's release from prison; his estate, inheritance, and proceeds won in a law suit after his release from prison; and certain federal, state, or municipal pension, annuity, insurance contracts, and similar items that are for government employee retirement benefits (subject to the rights of an alternate payee under a qualified domestic relations order).

The bill authorizes the attorney general to bring an action to enforce the claim in Superior Court in the Hartford judicial district at the DOC commissioner's request. The action must be brought within two years of the inmate's release from prison or within two years of his death if he dies while in DOC custody. This restriction does not apply to property that is fraudulently concealed.

The bill's provisions on property subject to state claim apply to actions and proceedings pending or commencing on or after its effective date.

Limitation on Claims (§§ 18-19)

The bill limits the state's claim to an inmate's estate, lawsuit proceeds, and inheritance to (1) the estate of someone who dies within 20 years of his release from incarceration, (2) lawsuits brought within 20 years of release, and (3) inheritance received within 20 years of release.

Employment and Services Performed by Inmates (§§ 20, 16)

By law, DOC can allow inmates to participate in a labor program with private industry and work-release and education-release programs. Any compensation inmates earn must be paid to DOC and put into an account for the inmate. The money can be used for one of eight prioritized purposes. The bill changes the eighth priority from paying the inmate's costs of board as determined by the DOC commissioner to the inmate's cost of incarceration as determined by the statutes and regulations. Similarly, it requires a self-employed inmate to pay the costs of incarceration rather than the costs of his board.

By law, compensation rates are set for services performed by inmates for the state. The money they earn is paid to them on discharge unless the prison warden or administrator pays it for one of nine prioritized purposes. The bill changes the eighth priority from paying the inmate's costs of board as determined by the DOC commissioner to the inmate's cost of incarceration as determined by the statutes and regulations.

CREDIT FOR FINES (§§ 12-13)

The bill changes the credit that a person receives for time spent in prison for a crime when he is held in prison only for payment of a fine. It changes the credit from $ 50 a day to a rate equal to the average daily cost of incarceration, as determined by the DOC commissioner. By law, the person is released when the amount of the credit equals the amount of the fine.

The bill changes the credit that a person receives for time spent in pre-sentence confinement (confinement by order or because he was denied or could not obtain bail) toward payment of a fine imposed after conviction. The bill changes the credit from $ 50 per day to a rate equal to the average daily cost of incarceration, as determined by the DOC commissioner.

JUVENILES' CREDIT FOR PRE-SENTENCE CONFINEMENT (§ 24)

The bill gives a child arrested and held in certain facilities before disposition of his juvenile matter, credit toward his period of probation (including any extensions) for each day spent in the facility if he is later sentenced to probation after conviction as a delinquent in Superior Court. This applies to time spent in a detention center, alternative detention center, police station, or courthouse lock-up.

OTHER PROVISIONS

Prison and Jail Overcrowding Commission (§§ 14, 34)

The bill adds the Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) commissioner, or his designee, to the membership of the Commission on Prison and Jail Overcrowding. It also adds the Board of Parole chairman, or his designee, to the commission. The Board of Pardons and Paroles chairman becomes a member when that board is created. The bill also allows the DOC and Public Safety commissioners to designate someone to serve in their place on the commission.

As under current law, the commission also consists of the chief court administrator (or his designee), chief state's attorney (or his designee), chief public defender (or his designee), Court Support Services executive director or another designee of the chief court administrator, and the following gubernatorial appointments: three government officials, a police chief, two people representing offender and victim services in the private community, and two members of the public.

The bill requires the commission to establish a subcommittee on corrections behavioral health to make recommendations on providing behavioral health services to inmates. The subcommittee consists of the DOC and DMHAS commissioners and a representative of the University of Connecticut Health Center who is responsible for administering the health care services contract for DOC inmates.

Commitment to DOC by Board Chairman (§ 7)

The bill requires the Parole Board chairman (and the Pardons and Paroles Board chairman when that board is created) to sign an order to commit a person on special parole to a correctional institution.

Claims on Inheritance for State Aid (§ 15)

By law, when a beneficiary of aid under the State Supplement, Medical Assistance, Aid to Families with Dependent Children, Temporary Family Assistance, or State Administered General Assistance programs receives an inheritance, 50% of the assets payable to the beneficiary up to the amount of the assistance paid is assignable to the state.

The bill also gives the state a lien on the assets. As with assignments, the bill requires the probate court to accept notice of the lien if the Department of Administrative Services commissioner files it with the court before distributing the inheritance and the court distributes assets accordingly.

Required Studies (§§ 22, 25)

The bill requires the Legislative Program Review and Investigations Committee (LPRIC) and Office of Fiscal Analysis to review the bill's implementation and measure its effects. This includes studying the (1) effect on the prison population and (2) cost savings and the extent they are reinvested in improving community safety and ensuring successful transition of ex-offenders to the community. The committee must report its findings to the Appropriations and Judiciary committees by January 1, 2006 and 2008.

The bill also requires the LPRIC to study the:

1. impact of laws requiring mandatory minimum sentences on the demand for prison beds,

2. actual versus intended impact of mandatory minimum sentences on the state's overall sentencing policy, and

3. estimated cost of mandatory minimum sentences and proposed sentencing changes.

LPRIC must submit its findings and recommendations to the Judiciary Committee by January 1, 2006.

BACKGROUND

Work and Education Release Program

The work and education release law allows DOC to arrange for continued employment of an inmate who is self-employed or regularly employed. DOC can also attempt to secure suitable employment or attendance at an educational institution. The prisoner's employment must (1) not displace employed workers, involve skills or trades that have a surplus of labor in the locality, or impair existing contract and (2) have pay and employment conditions that are not less than those for similar work at the locality.

Commission on Prison and Jail Overcrowding

The commission (1) develops and recommends policies to prevent prison overcrowding, (2) examines the impact of statutes and administrative policies on overcrowding and recommends legislation, and (3) annually prepares and distributes a comprehensive state criminal justice plan for preventing overcrowding.

Related Bills

HB 5598 (File 226) contains the same provisions on inmate work and education release. HB 5599 (File 227) contains the same provisions on furloughs for prisoners. sHB 5668 (File 501) contains provisions on the merger of the Board of Parole and DOC; transfers board functions, powers, duties, and employees to DOC; and transfers all parolees to DOC custody.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Judiciary Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute Change of Reference

Yea

30

Nay

8

Appropriations Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

47

Nay

2