PA 07-158—sHB 7217

Judiciary Committee

Labor and Public Employees Committee

Public Health Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING DISCHARGE SAVINGS ACCOUNTS FOR INMATES, RESPONSIBILITY FOR OBTAINING BIOLOGICAL SAMPLES FROM CERTAIN PAROLEES AND DISCHARGE OF MENTALLY ILL PRISONERS

SUMMARY: This act requires the Department of Correction (DOC) to create a discharge savings account for each inmate to accumulate up to $1,000 payable to the inmate on discharge.

By law, someone convicted of a felony or a crime requiring registration as a sex offender must submit to a DNA test before being released on parole, unless the person was already tested. The act makes DOC instead of the Board of Pardons and Paroles responsible for collecting the sample. By law, DOC is responsible for supervising offenders on parole.

The act specifically authorizes the DOC commissioner to appoint and remove wardens to oversee a district, parole and community services, population management, programs and treatment, security and academy training, and staff development. Under the act, these wardens serve at the commissioner's pleasure and are exempt from the classified service. By law, wardens of institutions are already subject to these provisions.

The act eliminates a provision requiring referral to the Connecticut Prison Association of a mentally ill male prisoner transferred to a state mental hospital when he is to be released at the end of his sentence. The eliminated provision required the association to return the prisoner to his residence or, if none, a place to best accomplish his reinstatement into society.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2007, except for the provisions on collecting DNA samples and referrals of mentally ill male prisoners, which are effective on October 1, 2007.

DISCHARGE SAVINGS ACCOUNT

The act requires placing the money an inmate receives for jobs he or she performs in an individual bank account for the inmate and authorizes funds to be transferred from it to the inmate's discharge savings account.

The act allows DOC to deduct up to 10% of any deposit into an inmate's individual account for transfer to the inmate's discharge savings account. Once the account reaches $1,000, the act requires DOC to deduct 10% from any deposits to reimburse the state for the inmate's cost of incarceration, as necessary.

The act excludes money in the discharge savings account from the state's claim for the inmate's costs of incarceration. But it reduces the amount payable to the inmate due to required payments under other statutes, including:

1. paying taxes;

2. supporting dependents;

3. court-ordered restitution or compensation of victims, civil judgments in favor of a victim, or victim compensation through the criminal injuries account;

4. necessary travel and incidental expenses for work;

5. payments to the court clerk if the inmate is held only for not paying a fine;

6. attorneys' fees and expenses in a lawsuit and associated hospitalization costs and physicians' fees not paid by other benefits; and

7. certain expenses if the inmate dies, such as burial expenses.

The act authorizes DOC to adopt regulations to implement these provisions.

BACKGROUND

Costs of Incarceration

The law requires DOC to adopt regulations to assess inmates for the costs of their incarceration. The regulations require charging inmates for their use of various services and programs. An inmate is a person confined or formerly confined in a correctional facility under a sentence imposed by a Connecticut state court.

The regulations define the per-inmate, per-day cost of incarceration at DOC facilities as the amount computed using the same accounting procedures the comptroller uses to calculate such costs for state humane institutions. The regulations also make inmates responsible for the costs of certain services and programs such as sick calls; dental procedures; eyeglasses; elective and vocational educational programs; extended family visits; and lab tests to detect illegal drugs, if the results are positive.

The law gives the state a claim for the costs of incarceration against an inmate's property but it excludes certain types of property.

OLR Tracking: CR: SC: JL: RO