PA 05-249—sHB 6976

Judiciary Committee

Legislative Management Committee

Appropriations Committee

Government Administration and Elections Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING CRIMINAL JUSTICE PLANNING AND ELIGIBILITY FOR CRIME VICTIM COMPENSATION

SUMMARY: This act creates the Criminal Justice Policy and Planning Division within the Office of Policy and Management (OPM), directed by an OPM undersecretary, 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 act authorizes the division to perform any of these functions to promote an effective and cohesive juvenile justice system.

The act requires the division to collaborate with certain agencies and consult certain officials. Those agencies and officials must provide information and data the division needs. The act includes provisions on the confidentiality of that information.

The act requires the division to develop correctional population projections for planning purposes and report them annually by November 1. It must develop a reporting system to track trends and outcomes related to policies designed to reduce prison overcrowding, improve rehabilitation efforts, and enhance reentry strategies for offenders released from prison. The division must issue monthly reports beginning by November 1, 2006.

The act requires the reporting system to define outcomes for major programs, annually report them, and identify strategies to measure outcomes when information is not available to measure the effectiveness of particular programs. The first yearly report is due by January 1, 2007 and can be included in a report and presentation the division must make annually by January 1 to the Appropriations and Judiciary committees about its activities, recommendations, and specific actions necessary to promote an effective and cohesive criminal justice system.

The act also makes the OPM undersecretary a member of the Prison and Jail Overcrowding Commission (PJOC) and makes him the commission’s chairman. Under prior law, the governor appointed a commission member as chairman. The act deletes the requirement that the PJOC annually issue a comprehensive state criminal justice plan to prevent prison overcrowding, specifically (1) including a study of the pretrial and post-sentencing options provided through community-based agencies and (2) accounting for other state plans in related areas of mental health and drug and alcohol abuse and the report of the Alternatives to Incarceration Advisory Committee.

By law, the Office of Victim Services (OVS) may compensate certain crime victims, or their immediate families when the victim is deceased, incapacitated, or a minor child, for actual and reasonable expenses, lost wages, and pecuniary and other losses resulting from injury or death. The act removes the deadline for certain crime victims or their immediate families to request a waiver of the time limit for compensation applications.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2006 except the provision on victim compensation applications is effective October 1, 2005.

PLANNING

In order to develop its plan for the criminal justice system, the act 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 legislation to improve the system’s effectiveness;

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

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 improve 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; and

13. engage in other activities consistent with its responsibilities.

COLLABORATIONS, CONSULTATIONS, AND DATA

The act 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, chief state’s attorney, chief public defender, and Court Support Services Division executive director.

At the division’s request, these departments and officials must provide information and data the division needs to perform its duties. The act gives the division access to individualized records for research purposes. They can be used for statistical analyses only and not in any manner that reveals the identity of individuals. The division must develop protocols with the agencies to protect the privacy of the records according to state and federal law. Any information and data received that is confidential under state or federal law cannot be disclosed.

SYSTEM TO TRACK TRENDS AND OUTCOMES

The act requires the division to develop a reporting system to track trends and outcomes related to policies designed to reduce prison overcrowding, improve rehabilitation efforts, and enhance reentry strategies of offenders released from prison. The system must monthly track the:

1. number of admissions to prison (a) directly from the courts, (b) for parole revocation, and (c) for probation revocation;

2. number of releases on parole and to other forms of community supervision and facilities;

3. parole granting rates;

4. number of probation placements and placement to probation facilities;

5. prison population; and

6. projected prison population.

The first monthly report is due by November 1, 2006.

Annual Report and Presentation

The act requires the system to define outcomes for major programs, annually report them, and delineate strategies to measure outcomes when information is not available to measure the effectiveness of particular programs. The system must yearly track recidivism of offenders (1) released from prison, (2) on probation, and (3) participating in programs designed to reduce prison overcrowding, improve rehabilitation efforts, and enhance reentry strategies. The division must measure recidivism with a nationally accepted method.

The act requires the first yearly report by January 1, 2007 and it can be included in a report and presentation the division must make annually by January 1 to the Appropriations and Judiciary committees about its activities, recommendations, and specific actions necessary to promote an effective and cohesive criminal justice system. That report must (1) estimate the savings achieved by the actual prison population being less than projected before policies were adopted to reduce prison overcrowding and (2) recommend how to reinvest a portion of the savings in community-based services and programs and community supervision by probation and parole officers to maintain the reduction in projected prison population.

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR VICTIM COMPENSATION APPLICATIONS

By law, eligible crime victims generally have two years after the date of personal injury or death to apply for victim compensation. However, victims who miss the deadline can ask for, and OVS can grant, a waiver if they (1) sustained physical, emotional, or psychological injuries as a result of the personal injury or death or (2) were minors during the two-year period and through no fault of their own missed the deadline.

Under prior law, the deadline to apply for a waiver was: (1) for minors, two years after they reach 18 or seven years after the date of personal injury or death, whichever is sooner and (2) for all others, six years after personal injury or death. The act removes these waiver application deadlines and allows a person to apply for a waiver whether he failed to apply for compensation before, on, and after October 1, 2005.