OLR Bill Analysis

HB 6976

AN ACT CONCERNING CRIMINAL JUSTICE PLANNING

SUMMARY:

This bill creates the Criminal Justice Policy and Planning Division within the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) to develop a plan to promote a more effective and cohesive state criminal justice system. Among other things, it must conduct an in-depth analysis of the criminal justice system, determine the system’s long-range needs and make recommendations, identify critical problems, advise the General Assembly, and determine information needs. The bill also authorizes the division to perform any of these functions to promote an effective and cohesive juvenile justice system.

The division is directed by an OPM undersecretary who must be appointed by the governor with the consent of the General Assembly.

The bill requires the division to (1) collaborate with the departments of correction, mental health and addiction services, and public safety, and the Board of Pardons and Paroles and (2) consult the chief court administrator, Court Support Services Division executive director, chief state’s attorney, and chief public defender.

To set research project priorities, the bill requires the undersecretary to consult the governor, Senate president pro tempore, House speaker, and Appropriations and Judiciary committee chairmen and ranking members.

The bill requires the division to report annually by January 15, to the governor, Prison and Jail Overcrowding Commission, and the Appropriations and Judiciary committees on the number and percent of inmates released on parole or other community supervision in the preceding calendar year and the projected prison bed capacity and prison population for the next fiscal year.

Annually, by February 15, it must also report and make a presentation to the Appropriations and Judiciary committees about its activities, recommendations, and specific actions necessary to promote an effective and cohesive criminal justice system.

The bill also makes the OPM undersecretary a member of the Prison and Jail Overcrowding Commission and makes him the commission’s chairman. Under current law, the governor appoints a commission member as chairman.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2005

PLANNING

In order to develop its plan for the criminal justice system, the bill requires the division to:

1. conduct an in-depth analysis of the criminal justice system;

2. determine the system’s long-range needs and recommend policy priorities;

3. identify critical problems and recommend strategies to solve them;

4. assess the cost effectiveness of the use of state and local funds;

5. recommend ways to improve the deterrent and rehabilitative capabilities of the system;

6. advise and assist the General Assembly in developing plans, programs, and proposed legislation for improving the effectiveness of the system;

7. compute daily costs and compare interagency costs of services provided by agencies;

8. compute populations to plan the system’s long-range needs;

9. determine the system’s long-range information needs and acquire that information;

10. cooperate with the Office of the Victim Advocate by providing information and assistance to that office related to improving victims’ services;

11. act as liaison for the state to the U. S. Department of Justice on criminal justice issues relating to data, information systems, and research;

12. measure the success of community-based services and programs in reducing recidivism;

13. compare the prison population projections in the 2000 Prison and Jail Overcrowding annual report to the actual prison population on July 1, 2005, determine the savings to the state because the actual population is less than the projection, and make recommendations on how to reinvest some of the savings in community-based services and programs and community supervision by probation and parole officers to maintain the reduced prison population; and

14. engage in other activities consistent with its responsibilities.

The bill also authorizes the division to perform any of these functions to promote an effective and cohesive juvenile justice system.

MONTHLY DATA

The bill requires the division to determine monthly (1) the number and percent of inmates released on parole or other community supervision and (2) the number of inmates released to and from halfway houses or other community-based programs or services.

BACKGROUND

Prison and Jail Overcrowding Commission

Under current law, the commission consists of the (1) following officials or their designees: the chief court administrator; corrections, mental health and addiction services, and public safety commissioners; chief state’s attorney; chief public defender; and Board of Pardons and Paroles chairman; (2) Court Support Services executive director or another designee of the chief court administrator; and (3) following gubernatorial appointees: three government officials, a police chief, two people representing offender and victim services in the private community, and two members of the public.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Judiciary Committee

Joint Favorable Report

Yea

40

Nay

0