OFFICE OF FISCAL ANALYSIS

Legislative Office Building, Room 5200

Hartford, CT 06106 (860) 240-0200

http: //www. cga. ct. gov/ofa

EMERGENCY CERTIFICATION

SB-1700

AN ACT CONCERNING CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM.

OFA Fiscal Note

State Impact:

Agency Affected

Fund-Effect

FY 08 $

FY 09 $

Various

GF – State Cost

See Below

See Below

Note: GF=General Fund

Municipal Impact: None

Explanation

Summary

The bill would cost approximately $2. 0 million in FY 08 and $17. 1 million in FY 09. In addition to costs incurred in the 2007 – 2009 Biennium, the bill is expected to generate significant state costs in the out years due to provisions that enhance criminal penalties and establish ongoing commitments to the development and maintenance of criminal justice information technology systems. Details by section follow the table1 below.

Sections 42-43 transfer FY 08 funds that are anticipated to lapse to cover the FY 08 and FY 09 costs of the provisions indicated above.

Home Invasion Crime

Section 1 of the bill establishes a new crime of occupied home invasion and makes it a class “A” felony, which carries a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 10 years2 rather than 1-10 years, as provided for under current law (current law designates such an offense as burglary in the second degree, which is a class “C” felony).

In FY 07 there were approximately 180 inmates sentenced with burglary offenses that could have been eligible for an increased sentence under the new crime. The average time served for this category of inmates is 2. 08 years. 3 Assuming a similar number of burglary offenses occur in the future, the cost of creating a new crime of occupied home invasion, with a mandatory minimum of 10 years (7. 92 years longer than the current average time served) is estimated to be $7. 5 million annually. 4

Expansion of Burglary in the 1st and 2nd Degree

Section 2 expands the crime of burglary in the first degree, which is a class “B” felony.

In FY 07 there were less than 180 individuals sentenced with burglary offenses who could have been eligible for increased sentences under this section. 5 The average time served for this category of inmates is 2. 08 years. 6 Increasing the penalty and establishing a 5 year mandatory minimum (2. 92 years longer than the current average time served) for similar offenders in the future could cost the state up to $7. 5 million annually, over the length of sentence. 7

Reclassification of these offenses increases the potential term of probation supervision that may be imposed on these offenders in addition to imprisonment. On average, the probation term for burglary in the first degree is 20% longer than burglary in the second degree. There are currently 251 offenders under direct probation supervision in the community who have been found guilty of burglary in the second degree. An 18% increase in their probation terms results in 45 additional probation clients. In order to provide an increased level of supervision for these offenders, one additional Adult Probation Officer would be needed at an annual cost of about $150,000, including salary, fringe benefits, expenses, and contracted services (e. g. , drug abuse treatment).

Section 3 expands the scope of burglary in the second degree. In FY 07 there were less than 522 individuals sentenced with burglary offenses who could have been eligible for increased sentences under this section. The average time served for this category of inmates is 1. 2 years. 8 Increasing the penalty and establishing a longer sentence (. 9 years longer than the current average time served) for these offenders could cost the state up to $19. 5 million annually, over the length of sentence. 9

Parole Eligibility Restriction

Section 5 makes any person convicted of the new crime of home invasion or burglary in the second degree ineligible for parole release until that person has served 85% of his/her prison sentence. Increasing parole eligibility to 85% would increase the average time served, which would result in additional costs, depending on the length of sentences actually imposed beyond the mandatory minimum.

Persistent Offenders

Section 6 adds home invasion, burglary in the first degree, and burglary in the second degree with a firearm to the list of crimes included in the persistent dangerous felony offender statute. Also, Sections 6 – 10 eliminate the factual finding currently required to trigger enhanced penalties under persistent offender laws. It is estimated that the changes in Sections 6 – 10 will impact less than 50 individuals per year. Data on the average time served for this category of inmates are not readily available; however, these individuals could be subject to significantly longer sentences. If all 50 individuals were to receive an increased sentence, the cost to the state would be approximately $2. 08 million annually.

Board of Pardons and Paroles

Section 12 increases the number of members of the Board of Pardons and Paroles (BPP) and requires five board members (those appointed to serve on the parole release panels) to be full-time employees. Assuming the full-time board members become part of a bargaining unit similar to that of Parole Officers, these new employees are estimated to receive an annual salary of approximately $90,671 (depending on the level of experience and new level of responsibilities) plus fringe benefits (at a rate of 60. 2%, or $54,584 per board member, per year), resulting in an annual cost of approximately $730,000. The increase in the number of board members could result in a potential minimal cost, to the extent that additional stipends are issued to part-time members.

In addition, the BPP must employ at least one psychologist to assist in parole release decisions. It is estimated that the annual cost of employing a forensic physiologist is $70,000-$94,000 plus fringe benefits (at a rate of 60. 2% or $42,140-$56,588 per year).

Section 14 requires the Office of Victim Services (a Division within the Judicial Department) to assign two victim advocates to provide full-time assistance to victims who appear before a panel of the Board of Pardons and Paroles, including the submission of written statements to the panel in accordance with CGS 54-126a. The annual cost of this provision is estimated to be $180,000, including salaries, fringe benefits and other expenses. In addition, an initial cost of $7,000 would be incurred to purchase equipment.

Section 15 requires the Department of Correction to provide in each correctional facility a secure video connection to the Board of Pardons and Paroles. The cost of equipment and hardware to enable such a connection would be about $10,000 per facility. Some facilities currently have videoconferencing capability but the number is currently unknown. Since all Department of Correction facilities currently have Internet access, it appears that a secure connection can be established with minimal infrastructure costs. Assuming equipment would be required for all 21 locations, the cost would be $250,000 including miscellaneous costs.

Reentry Furloughs

Section 16 restricts the use of furloughs that the Commissioner of Correction may grant. Based on FY 07 data, approximately 3,000 offenders were released on furlough. Data on the breakdown of offenders released by category is not available, and it is unknown how many of these individuals would be restricted or denied furlough. The average length of furlough is 25 days.

Residential Services

Section 17 requires the Department of Correction to contract for an additional 35 reentry beds for immediate occupancy, an additional 50 reentry beds for occupancy not later than July 1, 2008, and an additional 50 reentry beds not later than November 15, 2008, for a total of 135. Section 18 requires the Court Support Services Division of the Judicial Department to contract for an additional 35 diversionary beds for immediate occupancy, an additional 50 diversionary beds for occupancy not later than July 1, 2008, and an additional 50 diversionary beds not later than November 15, 2008, for a total of 135.

On average, a residential slot for reentry or diversion costs $28,000 per year. The FY 08 cost to bring 70 additional residential slots online is estimated to be $490,000. 10 The FY 09 cost to support 200 additional residential slots to be brought online in accordance with the schedule mandated by Sections 17 and 18 is estimated to be $6,560,000. Note that the annualized cost of these provisions, beginning in FY 10, is estimated to be $7,560,000. This cost will be partially offset by savings generated by shifting inmates from incarceration (with an average cost of $41,600) to residential community beds that cost $28,000, on average.

Sections 19-20 require the Department of Correction and Court Support Services Division to contract for a total of 24 beds in staff secure residential sex offender treatment facilities. On average, the cost of these residential slots is approximately $83,000. 11 The FY 08 cost to bring these slots online is $500,000. The annualized and FY 09 cost is estimated to be $2,000,000.

Outstanding Arrest Warrants for Violations of Probation

Section 21 requires the Court Support Services Division to prepare a quarterly report, and make available on the Internet information concerning all outstanding arrest warrants for violations of probation. The agency presently has this information available in electronic format. It is anticipated that the agency would incur a one-time cost of less than $10,000 to develop the necessary website. It would incur an annual cost, estimated to be less than $5,000, to maintain the website and program software needed to comply with this provision.

GPS Monitoring

Section 22 requires the Department of Correction to electronically monitor by use of a global positioning system an additional 300 parolees who have been determined most likely to re-offend, at an estimated annual contractual cost of approximately $652,000 annually. 12 Nine additional parole officers would be required to supervise such parolees at an additional cost of approximately $900,000 to pay for salaries, expenses and fringe benefits.

Juvenile and Youthful Offender Records

Sections 23 – 24 require the Judicial Department to make available to the Board of Pardons and Paroles and Department of Correction juvenile delinquency and youthful offender records. An electronic system (the “Judicial Electronic Bridge”) has been established to provide this information and, consequently, there is no fiscal impact under these provisions.

Court Findings

Section 25 requires the court, when imposing conditions of release for certain accused persons, to state for the record certain factors it considered and findings that it made as to the danger of an arrested person. There is no related fiscal impact.

Victim Notification

Sections 26 – 30 expand victim notification requirements and permit the sharing of victims' information between state agencies in order to facilitate notification. The annual state cost for additional postage (notices are sent via certified mail) under these provisions would be minimal.

Section 31 requires the Judicial Department to contract for the establishment and implementation of a statewide, automated victim information and notification system. Establishment of such a system would cost approximately $2 million in order to assess Connecticut's information technology infrastructure and purchase necessary hardware and software. It is anticipated that the federal government would reimburse the state for one-half of this cost. In addition to development costs, the state would incur ongoing annual costs, estimated to be $500,000, to maintain the system.

Study Committee for Municipal Incentives to Site Facilities

Section 33 establishes a committee to study the provision of incentives to municipalities to allow the siting of certain community-based facilities. The committee must report its recommendations to the Governor and the General Assembly no later than January 1, 2009. The committee is comprised of several state agency heads and appointees. Any state costs associated with participation on the committee would be minimal.  

Criminal Justice Policy Advisory Commission

Section 38 expands the activities of the Criminal Justice Policy Advisory Commission. Any state cost associated with this expansion would be minimal.

Criminal Justice Information Technology

Section 39 requires the Criminal Justice Information System Governing Board to hire an executive director. The annual cost to fill an Executive Director position is estimated to be $150,000 - $250,000, including salary, expenses and fringe benefits. The Office of Policy and Management would incur minimal annual costs to provide the Executive Director with administrative support in accordance with the bill.

Section 40 requires the state to develop a criminal justice information technology system that provides for the immediate, seamless and comprehensive sharing of information between state and local entities involved in law enforcement and criminal justice. The cost to develop this enhanced system is estimated at $50 million - $100 million.

Section 41 establishes, effective October 1, 2008, a supervised diversionary program for persons with psychiatric disabilities accused of a crime or crimes for which a sentence of imprisonment may be imposed, which crimes are not of a serious nature. The FY 10 and annualized cost of this provision is approximately $1. 5 million, including services and the salaries, expenses and fringe benefits for nine more probation officers.

Reentry Services

Sections 42 - 43 provide additional funding, in the amount of $225,000 (FY 08) and $1,725,000 (FY 09), for contractual reentry and diversionary services provided through the Department of Correction and the Court Support Services Division of the Judicial Department.

The Out Years

The out year fiscal impacts are described in the section-specific analyses above, subject to inflation.

The preceding Fiscal Impact statement is prepared for the benefit of the members of the General Assembly, solely for the purposes of information, summarization and explanation and does not represent the intent of the General Assembly or either chamber thereof for any purpose.

1 The table includes costs that would occur during the biennium and does not include criminal penalty costs that are typically not budgeted.

2 The minimum statutory term of imprisonment for a class “A” felony is ten years. CGS 53a-29 prohibits the court from imposing a sentence of conditional discharge (suspended sentence) or probation upon conviction of any class “A” felony, which effectively establishes a mandatory minimum prison sentence of ten years.

3 The average time served reflects eligibility of parole at 50%, rather than 85%.

4 180 inmates * 7. 92 * $41,600 (average cost of incarceration) / 7. 92.

5 This estimate does not include additional offenders under 1(a)(5) for which an accomplice is specified.   The number of burglaries with accomplices is unknown, but would potentially increase the cost of this estimate.  

6 Note that average time served reflects parole eligibility at 50% rather than 85%.

7 180 inmates * 2. 92 years * $41,600 (average cost of incarceration) / 2. 92.

8 Note that average time served reflect parole eligibility at 50% rather than 85%.

9 522 inmates * . 9 years * $41,600 (average cost of incarceration).

10 Calculated as follows: (70 * $28,000) = $1,960,000 / 4 = $490,000. This calculation assumes that the required slots are brought online as of April 1, 2008.

11 This cost is more than the cost of residential re-entry or diversionary beds primarily because of the following: (1) higher levels of clinical staff and services would be made available; (2) higher levels of security (hardware and staffing) would be used; and (3) medical services would be provided on site.

12 The average daily cost for passive GPS is $5. 95 ($1,785 total daily cost).