PA 08-1, January Special Session—SB 1700

Emergency Certification

AN ACT CONCERNING CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM

SUMMARY: This act:

1. creates the new crime of home invasion and increases the penalty for burglary of a dwelling at night by making it 1st degree, instead of 2nd degree, burglary;

2. makes someone convicted of 2nd degree burglary or home invasion ineligible for parole until he or she has served at least 85% of the sentence imposed;

3. eliminates a factual finding previously required to trigger enhanced sentencing under state persistent offender laws;

4. alters the composition, qualification requirements, and appointment process for the Board of Pardons and Paroles (BOPP); requires a training program for board members and parole officers; prohibits parole hearings from being conducted unless the chairperson has certified that all pertinent information has been obtained or is unavailable; and requires the board to hire at least one psychologist;

5. eliminates the parole administrative review procedure;

6. updates the crime victim notification law; gives the BOPP discretion to permit family members of living victims to make statements at pardon and parole hearings; and directs the Judicial Branch to (a) implement an automated victim notification system that, among other things, can notify interested victims when the court is considering whether to accept a plea bargain and (b) assign two victim advocates to assist crime victims appearing at BOPP hearings;

7. limits the reasons for which the Department of Correction (DOC) can grant an inmate a furlough;

8. increases the number of reentry, diversionary, and staff-secure sexual offender beds;

9. requires the Judicial Branch to post certain arrest warrant information on the Internet;

10. requires global positioning system (GPS) monitoring of 300 more parolees;

11. affords BOPP members and employees and certain DOC employees access to juvenile and youthful offender court records in limited circumstances;

12. requires judges to state reasons for imposing conditions when they release people arrested for certain serious crimes from custody;

13. establishes a committee to study ways to create incentives for towns that allow the siting of community-based offender programs;

14. changes administrative driver's license suspension periods when the driver's elevated blood alcohol level is determined by evidence a hospital provides;

15. moves the effective date of a new consumer reporting law from February 1, 2008 to May 1, 2008;

16. requires probationers, who are the subject of arrest warrants or notices to appear, to continue to comply with their release conditions;

17. increases the responsibilities of the Criminal Justice Policy Advisory Commission;

18. expands membership in the Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS) Governing Board, directs that body to hire an executive director and design and implement a state of the art information technology system, and appropriates $2. 25 million for these purposes;

19. creates a diversionary program for people with psychiatric disorders who have been accused of less serious crimes;

20. appropriates money for reentry and diversionary services in Bridgeport, Hartford, and New Haven;

21. by January 1, 2009, directs DOC to provide the BOPP with a secure video connection at each correctional facility for conducting parole hearings by videoconference ( 15); and

22. requires DOC, BOPP, and the Judicial Branch's Court Support Services Division to develop a risk assessment strategy for offenders in DOC custody.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage except (1) March 1, 2008 for provisions on home invasion and burglary crimes, parole eligibility, and persistent offender classification; (2) July 1, 2008 for the elimination of the parole administrative review procedure; and (3) October 1, 2008 for the psychiatric disabilities diversion program.

1-4 — HOME INVASION AND BURGLARY CRIMES

Home Invasion

The act creates the crime of home invasion. A person commits this crime by entering or remaining unlawfully in an occupied dwelling with intent to commit a crime and in the course of committing the offense:

1. acting alone or with another, commits or attempts to commit a violent felony against someone who is in the dwelling other than a participant in the crime or

2. is armed with explosives, a deadly weapon, or a dangerous instrument.

The act uses the definitions in the burglary statutes, including the definition of a “dwelling,” which is a building that is usually occupied by a person lodging at night, whether or not a person is actually present. Under the act, “in the course of committing” the offense means that an act occurs in an attempt to commit the offense or fleeing after the attempt or commission.

The act makes this crime a class A felony (see Table on Penalties) with a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence. Prior law punished this conduct under the burglary statutes as a class B, C, or D felony (see Table on Penalties) with, under some circumstances, a one- or five-year mandatory minimum sentence.

Burglary Crimes

The act increases the penalty for committing burglary of a dwelling at night by making it 1st degree burglary instead of 2nd degree burglary. It increases the penalty for this conduct from a class C to a class B felony (see Table on Penalties).

5 — PAROLE ELIGIBILITY

The act makes someone convicted of 2nd degree burglary or the new crime of home invasion ineligible for parole until he or she has served at least 85% of the sentence imposed. The law imposes this same 85% requirement on people convicted of an offense where the underlying facts and circumstances of the offense involve the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against another person. Thus, prior law required people convicted of 1st degree burglary and 2nd or 3rd degree burglary with a firearm to serve 85% of their sentence before being eligible for parole.

6-11 — PERSISTENT OFFENDER STATUTES

Classification as a Persistent Dangerous Felony Offender

Under certain circumstances, the law authorizes courts to sentence people classified as persistent dangerous felony offenders to a longer prison term than the offense otherwise allows. To be classified as a persistent dangerous felony offender, an offender must (1) stand convicted of certain serious offenses (this is referred to as the current conviction) and (2) have been convicted of, and imprisoned for, certain serious crimes under a sentence of at least one year in prison, or of death, in Connecticut, in any other state, or in a federal prison before he or she committed the current offense.

The act adds the crimes of home invasion, 1st degree burglary, and 2nd degree burglary with a firearm to the list of crimes that can make a person a persistent dangerous felony offender. There are two separate paths to being classified as one of these offenders. Table 1 compares the persistent dangerous felony offender classification under prior law and the act.

Table 1: Persistent Dangerous Felony Offender

(Changes in Bold Italics)

PATH 1

Current Conviction ( 53a-40(a)(1))

Manslaughter

Arson

Kidnapping

1st or 2nd degree robbery

1st degree assault

Home invasion

1st degree burglary

2nd degree burglary with a firearm

 

Prior Conviction

Murder

Manslaughter

Arson

Kidnapping

1st or 2nd degree robbery

1st degree assault

1st degree sexual assault, including aggravated

3rd degree sexual assault, including with a firearm

Home invasion

1st degree burglary

2nd degree burglary with a firearm

Attempts to commit any of these crimes (the act adds attempts to commit the additional crimes)

Predecessor crimes (the act adds any crimes that are predecessors to the additional crimes)

Crimes substantially similar in other states (the act adds crimes in other states that are substantially similar to those it adds to the list)

 

OR

PATH 2

Current Conviction ( 53a-40(a)(2))

1st degree sexual assault, including aggravated

3rd degree sexual assault, including with firearm

 

Prior Conviction

Murder

Manslaughter

Arson

Kidnapping

1st or 2nd degree robbery

1st degree assault

Home invasion

1st degree burglary

2nd degree burglary with a firearm

Attempts to commit any of these crimes (the act adds attempts to commit the additional crimes)

Predecessor crimes (the act adds any crimes that are predecessors to the additional crimes)

Crimes substantially similar in other states (the act adds crimes in other states that are substantially similar to those it adds to the list)

Penalties—Persistent Offenders and Acts of Terrorism

Under prior law, when a person had the appropriate convictions to be classified as a persistent dangerous felony offender, the court was required to find that the offender's history and character and the nature and circumstances of the criminal conduct indicated that extended incarceration and lifetime supervision would best serve the public interest in order to impose the higher penalty.

The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that a convicted offender has the right to have a jury make the findings about whether he or she should be subject to the more stringent penalties associated with the persistent dangerous felony offender classification (see BACKGROUND). The act eliminates the required findings and instead requires the court to impose the higher penalty on an offender who meets the criteria of a persistent dangerous felony offender. (PA 08-51 changes the penalties for persistent dangerous felony offenders. )

The act also eliminates the required court findings in the provision that increases the penalty one class for acts of terrorism and the other categories of persistent offenders. By doing so, the act requires the court to impose the higher sentence authorized by the statute for:

1. acts of terrorism,

2. persistent dangerous sexual offenders,

3. persistent bigotry or bias offenders, and

4. persistent stalking and harassment-related offenders.

In the following four persistent offender classifications, the act eliminates the required finding but, as under prior law, the court is authorized, but not required, to impose the higher penalty authorized by the statute:

1. persistent serious felony offenders,

2. persistent serious sexual offenders,

3. persistent felony offenders,

4. persistent larceny offenders, and

5. persistent operating under the influence felony offenders.

12 — CHANGES TO THE BOARD OF PARDONS AND PAROLES

Membership

The act increases the BOPP's membership from 13 to a maximum of 25 between February 1, 2008 and July 1, 2008. On June 30, 2008, it ends the terms of seven board members the chairman assigned exclusively to parole hearings. Terms of the chairman and members assigned to pardon hearings or those appointed by the governor beginning on February 1, 2008 are not affected.

Beginning July 1, 2008, it reduces the membership to 18 and requires 12 members to serve exclusively on parole release panels and five exclusively on pardons panels. As under prior law, the act allows the chairman to serve on both types of panels.

Qualifications

Prior law required the chairman to be qualified by education, experience, and training in administering community corrections, parole, or pardons. The act requires all members appointed starting February 1, 2008 to be qualified by education, experience, or training in administering community corrections, parole, or pardons; criminal justice; criminology; evaluation or supervision of offenders; or providing mental health services to offenders.

Appointment Process

Starting February 1, 2008, the act requires (1) the governor to specify appointments for chairman, full-time or part-time parole panel members, and pardons panel members and (2) both houses of the General Assembly, rather than just one, to approve the governor's appointments.

Beginning with appointments the governor submits to the General Assembly on February 1, 2008, the act requires their referral to the Judiciary Committee instead of the Executive and Legislative Nominations Committee. It requires the Judiciary Committee to report on them within 30 legislative days of the referral.

Five Parole Panel Members Serve Full-Time

By law, the chairman serves full-time and is compensated as determined by the Department of Administrative Services (DAS). Under the act, the five board members appointed by the governor beginning on February 1, 2008 to serve on parole panels also serve full-time and receive compensation as set by DAS. As under prior law, the remaining board members receive $110 for each day they perform their duties, plus necessary expenses.

Parole and Pardons Panels

Prior law authorized the chairman to assign seven members to parole panels and five to pardons panels. The act limits this authority to members appointed before February 1, 2008.

By law, parole release panels consist of two members and the chairman or his designee who serves temporarily. Until July 1, 2008, the act allows the two panel members to be chosen from the members (1) assigned by the chairman to parole hearings or (2) appointed by the governor, beginning on February 1, 2008, to serve on parole panels. Beginning on July 1, 2008, the act (1) requires the panel to consist of two members from among those the governor appointed on or after February 1, 2008 to serve on parole panels, with at least one being a full-time member and (2) only allows the chairman to designate a full-time member to serve temporarily in his place.

By law, pardons panels consist of three members, one of whom can be the chairman. But the chairman must be on the panel for a hearing about commuting a death sentence. Under the act, panel members can be chosen from those members (1) assigned to pardons hearings by the chairman or (2) appointed by the governor, starting on February 1, 2008, to serve on pardons panels.

The act eliminates the administrative review process for parole decisions effective July 1, 2008, and it eliminates parole panels' authority to approve or deny these release decisions on that date.

Information for Parole Decisions

The act prohibits a board panel from holding a hearing on someone's suitability for parole or, until July 1, 2008, a meeting to consider a board employee's recommendation to grant parole under the administrative parole process (a process the act eliminates on July 1, 2008) unless the chairman (1) has made reasonable efforts to determine the existence of and obtain all information deemed pertinent to the decision and (2) certifies that all existing pertinent information has been obtained or is unavailable.

Training for Board Members and Parole Officers

The act requires the board's chairman and executive director to establish a formal training program for board members and parole officers that at least includes an overview of:

1. the criminal justice system;

2. the parole system, including factors to consider in granting parole;

3. victims rights and services;

4. reentry strategies;

5. risk assessment;

6. case management; and

7. mental health issues.

Board Psychologist

The act requires the board to employ at least one psychologist with expertise in risk assessment and recidivism of criminal offenders. The psychologist assists the board in parole decisions under the chairman's supervision.

Board Procedures

By law, the chairman is executive and administrative head of the board and has certain authorities and responsibilities. The act gives the chairman authority and responsibility for establishing procedural rules for members to follow when conducting hearings, reviewing recommendations made by board employees, and making decisions.

13-14 & 26-32 — CRIME VICTIMS

The law permits crime victims and their families to register with the Office of Victim Services (OVS) or the Department of Correction's Victim Services Unit (VSU) if they want to be notified whenever the offender (1) applies for parole, a pardon, or sentence reduction or review or (2) is scheduled for release. The act requires those requesting notification to provide their telephone numbers and allows OVS, VSU, and the BOPP to share victim contact information. Prior law authorized information sharing between OVS and DOC.

Automated Notification and Plea Bargains

The act requires the Judicial Branch to contract for the establishment and implementation of a statewide, automated victim notification system (SAVIN) to notify registered crime victims of relevant offender information and status reports. OVS, BOPP, VSU, and the Criminal Justice Division (i. e. , prosecutors) must use it.

The act mandates that the system be operational by the earlier of (1) July 1, 2009 or (2) 30 days after receipt of notice that federal funds have been awarded for its establishment and implementation.

Automated Notice of Plea Bargains. Once the SAVIN system is operational, the act requires that it be used to inform victims who have asked to be notified when the court is considering acceptance of a plea bargain. It deems notification to have occurred when the SAVIN system is updated to reflect the plea agreement offer.

BOPP Statements from Victims' Families

By law, crime victims' immediate family members may appear and make a statement before the BOPP panel that is considering the perpetrator's parole eligibility only if the actual victim of the crime is dead. The act expressly gives the board discretion to allow one or more family members of a live victim to appear and speak. As under existing law, those who are permitted to appear may choose to submit a written statement instead.

Victim Advocates for BOPP Hearings

The act also directs OVS to assign two full-time victim advocates to assist victims who appear before BOPP panels or submit written statements. It is unclear whether a live victim's immediate family members who have been permitted to make a statement are eligible for this assistance.

16 — FURLOUGHS

The act alters the reasons that the DOC commissioner can grant an inmate a furlough.

Under prior law, the DOC commissioner could allow an inmate to visit a specifically designated place, in or outside the state, under specified conditions for up to 30 days for (1) visiting a dying relative, (2) attending a relative's funeral, (3) obtaining medical services not otherwise available, (4) contacting prospective employers, or (5) any “compelling reason consistent with rehabilitation.

The act eliminates the last reason. It also restricts furloughs to contact prospective employers to those where the commissioner confirms than an employment opportunity exists or an employment interview is scheduled.

By law, the commissioner can renew furloughs.

17 — REENTRY BEDS

The act requires DOC to contract for an additional 35 reentry beds for immediate occupancy, an additional 50 reentry beds for occupancy by July 1, 2008, and another 50 for occupancy by November 15, 2008. (These beds are available to criminal offenders toward the end of their prison term to re-enter the community under supervision. )

18 — DIVERSIONARY BEDS

The act requires the Judicial Branch's Court Support Services Division (CSSD) to contract for (1) an additional 35 diversionary beds for immediate occupancy, (2) an additional 50 diversionary beds for occupancy by July 1, 2008, and (3) another 50 for occupancy by November 15, 2008. (These beds are available to offenders ordered to participate in one of the state's alternative to incarceration programs. )

19 & 20 — RESIDENTIAL SEX OFFENDER FACILITIES

The act requires DOC and CSSD to (1) each contract for 12 beds in staff-secure residential sex offender treatment facilities for occupancy by July 1, 2008 and (2) report to the governor and the General Assembly by April 15, 2008 concerning the progress made in contracting for these beds. The report must include (1) the number of beds contracted for as of the report's date, (2) the date such beds became or will become available, (3) the number of additional beds that could become available in FY 2009, and (4) any obstacles encountered or foreseen in making the beds available.

21 — ARREST WARRANTS ON THE INTERNET

The act requires CSSD to make available on the Internet:

1. information on all outstanding arrest warrants for probation violations including the probationer's name, address, and photo and

2. quarterly court reports of issuance of all outstanding arrest warrants for probation violations, including the name and address of the probationer named in each warrant and the date it was issued.

22 — ELECTRONIC MONITORING OF ADDITIONAL PAROLEES

The act requires DOC to use a global positioning system (GPS) to electronically monitor an additional 200 parolees immediately after the act becomes effective, and an additional 100 parolees by July 1, 2008, whose risk levels indicate that they are most likely to re-offend.

23 & 24 — BOPP AND DOC ACCESS TO JUVENILE AND YOUTHFUL OFFENDER RECORDS

The act requires courts to give BOPP members and employees and DOC employees access to otherwise confidential records concerning juvenile delinquency and youthful offender proceedings in certain circumstances. Access is limited to members or employees who need this to perform their jobs and only records involving a (1) juvenile or youthful offender who has been convicted of a crime on the regular criminal docket or (2) youthful offender who was sentenced to jail time are disclosable.

The records must also be relevant to:

1. the performance of a risk and needs assessment while the person is incarcerated,

2. a release from incarceration or pardon decision, or

3. the determination of the person's supervision and treatment needs while on parole or some other form of supervised release.

Under prior law, BOPP was entitled to access when it was involved in providing direct services to the child, but that function is not within its purview.

25 — COURT FINDINGS RELATED TO RELEASE CONDITIONS

When a person is arrested for certain serious crimes for which bail release is available, the law specifies factors that judges consider in determining what conditions of release will reasonably assure (1) the person's appearance in court and (2) that the safety of others will not be endangered. For people arrested for these serious crimes, the act requires the court to state for the record the factors it considered when it imposes conditions of release. It must also state any findings about the danger, if any, that the arrestee might pose to the safety of any other person that caused it to impose specific conditions of release

The factors are:

1. the nature and circumstances of the offense;

2. the arrestee's criminal history, record of appearing in court after being released on bail, family and community ties, employment record, financial resources, character, and mental condition;

3. the number and seriousness of pending charges, the weight of the evidence against the arrestee, and whether he or she has previously been convicted of similar offenses while released on bond; and

4. the arrestee's history of violence and, based on his or her expressed intention, the likelihood that he or she will commit another crime while released.

This requirement applies to:

1. any class A felony;

2. any class B felony, except 1st degree promoting prostitution (CGS 53a-86) or 1st degree larceny (CGS 53a-122);

3. any class C felony, except 2nd degree promoting prostitution (CGS 53a-87), bribing a juror (CGS 53a-152), or bribe receiving by a juror (CGS 53a-153);

4. the following class D felonies: 2nd degree assault (CGS 53a-60), 2nd degree assault with a firearm (CGS 53a-60a), 2nd degree assault of an elderly, blind, disabled, pregnant, or mentally retarded person (CGS 53a-60b), 2nd degree assault of an elderly, blind, disabled, pregnant, or mentally retarded person with a firearm (CGS 53a-60c), 3rd degree sexual assault (CGS 53a-72a), 1st degree unlawful restraint (CGS 53a-95), 3rd degree burglary (CGS 53a-103), 3rd degree burglary with a firearm (CGS 53a-103a), reckless burning (CGS 53a-114), 3rd degree robbery (CGS 53a-136), or criminal use of firearm or electronic defense weapon (CGS 53a-216); or

5. a family violence crime.

33 — COMMITTEE TO STUDY MUNICIPAL SITING INCENTIVES FOR COMMUNITY-BASED OFFENDER FACILITIES AND HOUSING

The act establishes an 18-member committee to study how the state can effectively give municipalities incentives to allow community-based facilities for offenders (such as halfway houses and transitional and supportive housing) to be located in their communities.

The committee is composed of the (1) DOC commissioner, (2) CSSD executive director, (3) Office of Policy and Management's (OPM) Criminal Justice Policy and Planning Division undersecretary, and (4) chairpersons and ranking members of the Judiciary and Planning and Development committees. Other members and their appointing authorities are shown in Table 2.

Table 2: Other Members and Appointing Authorities

Public Members

Appointing Authorities

2 representatives of community-based facilities

1 each appointed by the House majority and minority leaders

A representative of a municipality with fewer than 25,000 residents

Senate minority leader

A representative of a municipality with between 25,000 and 50,000 residents

Governor

A representative of a municipality with between 50,000 and 75,000 residents

House speaker

A representative of a municipality with between 75,000 and 100,000 residents

Senate president pro tempore

A representative of a municipality with more than 100,000 residents

Senate majority leader

The governor must appoint the chairperson from among the members; the committee must report its findings and recommendations to the legislature and governor by January 1, 2009.

34 — ADMINISTRATIVE DRIVER'S LICENSE SUSPENSIONS

When evidence lawfully obtained from a hospital indicates that a driver involved in an accident had a blood alcohol level (BAC) exceeding legal limits (. 08% or more for people 21 or older and . 02% or more for people under age 21), the law permits the Department of Motor Vehicles commissioner administratively to suspend his or her driver's license. Under prior law, the suspension period was 90 days for a first offense and up to one year for second and subsequent offenses.

The act, instead, imposes the same suspension periods that apply to cases in which a driver's breath test indicates a BAC level over the legal limit. The change will substantially increase license suspension periods for drivers under age 21. For older drivers, suspension periods will increase in some situations and decrease in others. The act does not alter the 90-day suspension period for first-time offenders age 21 or older with elevated blood alcohol levels of less than . 16%.

Table 3 compares suspension periods under prior law and the act.

Table 3: Administrative Per Se License Suspension Periods—Test Results Obtained from Hospital

Per Se Offense

First Offense

Second Offense

Third or Subsequent Offense

BAC between . 08% and . 16%

Prior: 90 days

Act: 90 days

Prior: up to 1 yr.

Act: 9 mos.

Prior: up to 1 yr.

Act: 2 yrs.

BAC of . 16% or more

Prior: 90 days

Act: 120 days

Prior: up to 1 yr.

Act: 10 mos.

Prior: up to 1 yr.

Act: 2 yrs. , 6 mos.

BAC of . 02% or more (driver is under 21)

Prior: 90 days

Act: 180 days

Prior: up to 1 yr.

Act: 18 mos.

Prior: up to 1 yr.

Act: 4 yrs.

35 — EFFECTIVE DATE FOR CONSUMER REPORTING AGENCY LEGISLATION

The act makes a new law (PA 07-243) that regulates consumer reports that (1) contain criminal matters of public record and (2) are used or expected to be used in employment, effective May 1, 2008 instead of February 1, 2008.

PA 08-53 also makes changes to requirements for consumer reporting agencies.

36 — VIOLATION OF CONDITIONS OF PROBATION OR CONDITIONAL DISCHARGE

By law, the issuance of an arrest warrant or a notice to appear for a violation of probation or conditional discharge interrupts the sentence until a court makes a final determination concerning the violation. Under prior law, the court could impose any conditions of release it could impose for anyone who had been arrested for a crime (e. g. , bail). The act instead requires the probationer to comply with any conditions already imposed unless the court orders otherwise.

(PA 08-102 changes these conditions (see BACKGROUND). It also requires the court to dispose of or schedule a hearing on the violation within 120 days after arraignment unless good cause is shown. )

37 — RISK ASSESSMENT STRATEGY

The act requires DOC, BOPP, and CSSD to develop a risk assessment strategy for offenders in DOC custody that will:

1. use a risk assessment tool that accurately rates an offender's likelihood to commit another crime after release from custody and

2. identify support programs that will best position the offender for successful reentry into the community.

The strategy must use static and dynamic factors. The agencies can work with an educational institution in the state that has expertise in criminal justice and psychiatry to evaluate risk assessment tools and customize one to best meet the state's needs. Annually, beginning January 1, 2009, they must report to the governor and Judiciary Committee on the strategy's development, implementation, and effectiveness.

38 — CRIMINAL JUSTICE POLICY ADVISORY COMMISSION

The act increases the responsibilities of the Criminal Justice Policy Advisory Commission. The commission, which has 16 members representing state and local governments, the Judicial Branch, prosecutors and public defenders, service providers, and the public, is chaired by the OPM undersecretary for criminal justice policy and planning. Its current responsibilities are: (1) developing and recommending policies to prevent prison overcrowding, (2) examining the impact of statutes and administrative policies on overcrowding and making its finding available to criminal justice agencies and legislators, (3) advising the OPM undersecretary on policies and procedures to promote more effective and cohesive criminal and juvenile justice systems and to develop and implement the offender reentry strategy required by law, and (4) assisting the undersecretary in developing recommendations for mandated status reports and presentations on the state's reentry strategy for legislative committees.

The act adds the following responsibilities:

1. monitoring developments throughout the state's criminal justice system;

2. annually, beginning February 15, 2009, reporting to the legislature and governor on (a) the reentry strategy's effectiveness and outcomes, (b) the level of integration and coordination of the information technology systems criminal justice agencies use, and (c) other systemwide issues the commission identifies;

3. by the same date annually, and with the OPM undersecretary serving as facilitator, sponsoring day-long reviews of the state's criminal justice system for the criminal justice community, including reports on progress made during the prior year and challenges to be met;

4. identifying specific reentry service needs in geographic areas throughout the state;

5. identifying institution- and community-based programs and services that effectively address offenders' needs and reduce recidivism, including education and training, employment preparation and job banks, and transitional health care, family support, substance abuse, domestic violence, and sexual offender programs and services;

6. developing a guide to reentry service best practices; and

7. developing and annually updating a plan to ensure that reentry services are available, which may include establishing community reentry centers.

39 & 43 — CRIMINAL JUSTICE INFORMATION SYSTEM GOVERNING BOARD

By law, the Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS) Governing Board, within OPM for administrative purposes only, is charged with overseeing the operations and administration of the state's offender-based tracking system and recommending legislation needed to implement, operate, and maintain the system.

The act increases the board's membership from 11 to 15 by adding the Judiciary Committee chairpersons and ranking members. The current members are the chief court administrator, who serves as chairperson; agency commissioners with law enforcement, homeland security, correction, and motor vehicle responsibilities; the BOPP chairperson; the OPM secretary; the chief state's attorney and public defender; Department of Information Technology's (DOIT) chief information officer; the victim advocate; and Connecticut Police Chiefs Association president, or their designees. The act makes the chief court administrator co-chairperson and authorizes the governor to appoint the other co-chairperson from among the board's members.

The act also directs the board to hire an executive director. Qualified candidates must have education, training, or experience to oversee the design and implementation of the comprehensive, statewide information technology system the act requires (see below). The executive director is not a member of the board and serves at its pleasure. OPM must provide the executive director office space and necessary staff, supplies, and services.

The act appropriates $250,000 to OPM to cover costs related to the board.

40 & 43 — CRIMINAL JUSTICE INFORMATION SYSTEM

The act directs the CJIS Governing Board to design and implement a comprehensive, statewide information technology system. Its purpose is to facilitate immediate, seamless, and comprehensive information sharing among all of the following:

1. state agencies, departments, and boards and commissions that have jurisdiction over law enforcement and criminal justice matters;

2. local police departments; and

3. law enforcement officials.

System Requirements

The system must include a centralized tracking and information database, electronic documentary repository, analytical tools, and other components or elements the board determines are appropriate or necessary under its design and implementation plan. The system must be developed with state-of-the-art technology.

Tracking and Information Database

The central, integrated tracking and information database must provide:

1. complete biographical information and vital statistics for all living and former offenders and

2. tracking information for all offenders in the criminal justice system, from investigation through incarceration and release, and seamless integration with electronic monitoring systems, global positioning systems, and offender registries.

Electronic Records Repository

The central, integrated electronic repository of criminal justice records and documents must provide access to:

1. state and local police reports, presentence investigations and reports, psychological and medical reports, criminal records, incarceration and parole records, and court records and transcripts, whether the records and documents normally exist in electronic or hard copy form and

2. scanning and processing facilities to ensure that records and documents are integrated into the system and updated immediately.

Centralized Analytical Tools

The centralized, analytical tools must be bundled together in a custom-designed enterprise system that includes:

1. tools that enhance criminal case assessment, sentencing, and plea bargain analysis and pardon, parole, probation, and release decisions;

2. tools that enhance forecasting of recidivism and future offenses for each individual offender; and

3. collaborative functionality that enables seamless cross-department communication, information exchange, central note-taking, and comment capabilities for each offender.

State-of-the-Art Technology

The act directs that the system be developed with state-of-the-art relational database technology and other appropriate software applications and hardware. The system must be:

1. completely Internet-accessible by all authorized criminal justice officials;

2. completely integrated with information systems and database applications used by state and local police, law enforcement agencies, and other agencies and organizations the governing board deems necessary and appropriate;

3. indexed and cross-referenced by offender name, residence, community, criminal offense, and any other data points necessary for the effective administration of the state's criminal justice system;

4. fully text searchable for all records;

5. secure and protected by high-level security and controls;

6. accessible to the public, subject to appropriate privacy protections and controls; and

7. monitored and administered by the CJIS Governing Board, with DOIT's assistance.

Private, third-party vendors may provide and service major hardware and software.

The act directs the Governing Board, by July 1, 2008, to (1) issue a request for proposals for the system's design and implementation and (2) hire a consultant to develop a design and implementation plan. The act appropriates $2 million to OPM for the system's design and implementation.

The board must submit status reports starting by July 1, 2008, and continuing each January and July 1st thereafter to the Judiciary and Appropriations committees. It must make a presentation to these committees in conjunction with each January's report and during the ensuing regular legislative session concerning the status of the system's design and implementation along with a specific itemization of any additional resources that are needed.

41 — DIVERSION PROGRAM FOR OFFENDERS WITH PSYCHIATRIC DISABILITIES

Eligibility

The act creates a supervised diversionary program for people with psychiatric disabilities, which it defines as a mental or emotional condition, other than solely substance abuse, that (1) has substantial adverse effects on the defendant's ability to function and (2) requires care and treatment. People with these conditions who have been accused of less serious motor vehicle violations or crimes that carry prison sentences are eligible unless they (1) are ineligible for accelerated rehabilitation due to the nature of the charges or previous participation in other diversionary programs or (2) have participated in the program twice before.

Public Access

The act bars courts from making the accused's file available to the public when the accused applies to participate in the program and states under oath in open court or in front of someone the clerk designates that he or she has not participated in the program more than once.

Victim Notification

Court personnel must notify victims by registered or certified mail that the accused has applied for the program and that they have an opportunity to be heard by the court on the matter. The act directs CSSD to establish policies and procedures for requiring its employees to notify victims of (1) court-ordered participation conditions that directly affect the victim and (2) scheduled court appearances.  

Assessment Process and Treatment Plan

The court must refer applicants to CSSD for confirmation of eligibility and an assessment of his or her mental condition. The prosecutor must give CSSD a copy of the police report to assist in its assessment. CSSD must develop individualized treatment plans for applicants whom it determines are amenable to treatment if appropriate services are available.

Diversion Program

If the court approves the application, it must refer the accused to CSSD, and the division, in collaboration with the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS), must place him or her in a program that provides appropriate community supervision, treatment, and services. The act directs CSSD and DMHAS to develop standards and oversee appropriate treatment programs. They may contract with service providers for the programs.

Program participants must be supervised by a probation officer with a reduced caseload and specialized training in working with people with psychiatric disabilities. They must agree to (1) toll the statute of limitations for the crime or violation; (2) waive their speedy trial rights; and (3) any participation conditions CSSD establishes, including participating in program meetings or sessions.

Completion of Program

If the accused satisfactorily completes the program, he or she may apply for dismissal of the charges. CSSD must provide the court with information about the person's participation; the court must dismiss the charges if it finds that he or she satisfactorily completed the program. If a participant does not apply for a dismissal, the act authorizes the court to dismiss the charges on its own motion if it finds satisfactory program completion. After dismissal, all records of the charges are erased, except for those in CSSD's database as described below. Program participants can appeal a denial of a dismissal.

Ineligible Applicant or Failure to Complete

If CSSD informs the court that an applicant is ineligible to participate in the diversionary program and the court makes an ineligibility determination on this basis, or if the division certifies to the court that a person admitted to the program did not successfully complete it, the act directs the court to (1) order the record to be unsealed, (2) enter a not guilty plea for the accused, and (3) immediately put the case on the trial list.

Database

The act directs CSSD to develop and maintain a database concerning people admitted to the diversionary program that state and local police can access when responding to incidents involving them. The information must include the person's name, date of birth, Social Security number, the crime or motor vehicle violation he or she was charged with and whether a deadly weapon or dangerous weapon was involved, and the dates he or she participated in the program. CSSD must enter this information in the database when the person enters the program, update it when necessary, and retain it for five years.

Program Records

The act also requires CSSD to keep the (1) police report concerning the incident that gave rise to a diversionary program participant's application and (2) record of his or her supervision, including dates. It must provide this information to the court, prosecutor, and defense attorney whenever a participant applies for the program a second time.

42 — FUNDING REALLOCATIONS FOR FY 08

The act transfers unspent funds appropriated for FY 08 to the comptroller's fringe benefit account for the Higher Education Alternative Retirement System to various agencies for the purposes shown in Table 4. It also carries forward specified unspent balances from FY 08 to FY 09 for the same purposes.

Table 4: FY 08 Appropriations for Higher Education Alternative Retirement System Reallocated and Carried Forward

Amount

Transferred To

Carry

forward to

FY 09

 

Agency

For

42 (a)

$430,943

Board of Pardons & Paroles

Personal Services: $215,929

 

Other expenses: $154,514

Equipment: $60,500

42(b)

845,000

Correction

Other expenses: $125,000

Unspent balance of $495,000 for community support services

Community support services: $495,000

Community support services for a contract with a nonprofit organization for reentry and diversionary services in the Bridgeport area: $225,000

42(c)

530,875

Judicial

Personal Services: $27,500

Unspent balance of $495,000 for Alternative Incarceration Program

Other Expenses: $1,375

Equipment: $7,000

Alternative Incarceration Program: $495,000

42(d)

(1)

100,000

Office of Policy & Management

Other expenses – for costs related to the Criminal Justice Information System Governing Board

Unspent balance

42(e)

62,805

Office of State Comptroller – Fringe Benefits

State Employees Health Services Cost

 

43 — APPROPRIATIONS

The act carries forward up to $17,065,577 in unspent FY 08 appropriations to OPM for payments in lieu of taxes for new manufacturing and equipment to FY 09 and transfers the money to the purposes shown in Table 5.

Table 5: FY 08 Funds Reallocated and Carried Forward to FY 09

Transferred To

Agency

For

43(1)

Board of Pardons & Paroles

Personal Services: $1,027,898

Other Expenses: $827,084

Equipment: $32,250

43(2)

Correction

Other Expenses: $125,000

Community Support Services: $4,280,000

Community Support Services for a contract with a nonprofit organization for reentry and diversionary services in the Bridgeport area: $725,000

43(3)

Judicial

Personal Services: $403,538

Other Expenses: $770,178

Equipment: $28,000

Alternative Incarceration Program: $4,892,360

Alternative Incarceration Program for a contract with nonprofit organizations for reentry and diversionary services in the Harford and New Haven areas: $1,000,000

43(4)

Comptroller- Fringe Benefits

State Employee Health Service Cost: $352,135

State Employees Retirement Contributions: $352,135

43(5)

Office of Policy & Management

Other Expenses for designing and implementing a comprehensive, statewide information technology system for sharing criminal justice information: $2,000,000

Costs related to the Criminal Justice Information System Governing Board: $250,000

44 — REPEAL OF PAROLE ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW PROCEDURE

The act eliminates the parole administrative review procedure. Prior law allowed an inmate to be released after an administrative review without a panel conducting a hearing if (1) a board employee reviewed the inmate's case and recommended parole, (2) at least two members of a board panel approved, and (3) the chairman did not deem a hearing necessary and a victim did not request one.

Only those eligible for parole after serving 50% of their sentence (generally those who committed nonviolent crimes) could be released on parole without a hearing under this procedure. People who committed crimes where the underlying facts and circumstances of the offense involved the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against another person could not use this procedure.

BACKGROUND

Related Acts

Penalties for Persistent Dangerous Felony Offenders. PA 08-51 sets minimum penalties for persistent dangerous felony offenders and, in some instances, increases the maximum penalties for these offenders. It does so in the following ways.

1. For those with one of the required prior convictions, it changes the penalty from up to 40 years in prison to a range between twice the minimum penalty for the crime the person stands convicted of, including twice any applicable mandatory minimum sentence, to a maximum of 40 years or twice the maximum penalty for the crime the person stands convicted of, whichever is longer. (This is often referred to as “two strikes. ”)

2. For those with two of the required prior convictions, it changes the penalty from up to life in prison (statutorily defined as up to 60 years) to a range between three times the minimum penalty for the crime the person stands convicted of, including three times any applicable mandatory minimum sentence, and life in prison (60 years). (This is often referred to as “three strikes. ”)

The act also requires prosecutors to investigate whether a person who is arrested for one of the crimes that could lead to prosecution as a persistent dangerous felony offender has two of the required prior convictions to be sentenced as one. It prohibits a court from accepting a plea from such a person unless the prosecutor has conducted this investigation. A prosecutor who finds that a person has the two required prior convictions must state specific reasons on the record for terminating or not initiating proceedings to seek the enhanced sentence.

Consumer Reporting Agencies. PA 07-243 requires each consumer reporting agency that issues these consumer reports to:

1. notify the consumer who is the subject of the report that it is reporting criminal matters of public record, and specify the name and address of the person receiving it;

2. access the conviction information available to the public on the Judicial Department's website to verify, as of the date the report is issued, the accuracy of any criminal matters of public record contained in the report; and

3. maintain procedures to ensure that any criminal matter of public record reported is complete and up-to-date as of the date the consumer report is issued.

PA 08-53 (1) eliminates the requirement of verifying the information with the Judicial Department to ensure it is up-to-date and instead requires anyone, including a consumer reporting agency, who purchases “criminal matters of public record” from the Judicial Department to follow certain procedures; (2) requires the Judicial Department to make information concerning any “criminal matter of public record” that has been erased available to anyone who purchases these records; (3) prohibits anyone from further disclosing the erased records; and (4) alters the definition of “criminal matters of public record” to exclude erased records and pardons.

Violations of Probation and Conditional Discharge. By law, the issuance of an arrest warrant or a notice to appear for a violation of probation or conditional discharge interrupts the probation or conditional discharge sentence until a court makes a final determination concerning the violation.

Instead of the changes imposed by 36 of this act, PA 08-102 allows the court to impose any conditions of release it may impose on anyone arrested for a bailable offense. But after October 1, 2008, it requires the defendant to comply with the probation or conditional discharge conditions previously imposed and requires CSSD to make reasonable efforts to inform the defendant of his or her obligation to continue complying with these conditions and to provide a copy of them.

PA 08-102 requires the court to review the conditions previously imposed on the defendant when he or she is arraigned on the violation charge. The court can, as a condition of pretrial release, order the defendant to comply with any of these conditions and any other conditions that could be imposed on someone arrested for a bailable offense. The person is supervised by CSSD unless the judge orders supervision by a probation officer or other designated person or organization.

State v. Bell

The state Supreme Court ruled that the persistent dangerous felony offender statute violates a defendant's federal constitutional right to a jury trial when the court, rather than the jury, determines that extended incarceration as such an offender best serves the public interest, given the defendant's history and character, and the nature and circumstances of the criminal offenses (State v. Bell, 283 Conn. 748 (2007)).

The court ruled that the defendant was entitled to a new sentencing proceeding where the jury must make the determination, beyond a reasonable doubt, whether, upon consideration of the relevant factors specified in the persistent dangerous felony offender law, extended incarceration will best serve the public interest.

The court noted in its ruling that in those cases in which the defendant chooses to waive his or her right to a jury trial, the court may continue to make the requisite finding. Additionally, the court may impose an enhanced sentence if the defendant admits to the fact that extended incarceration is in the public interest.

Conditions for Releasing Someone on Bail

By law, the Superior Court must, in bailable offenses, promptly order an arrestee's release when the first of the following conditions of release is found sufficient to reasonably assure his or her appearance in court upon his or her execution of a:

1. written promise to appear without special conditions,

2. written promise to appear with nonfinancial conditions,

3. bond without surety in no greater amount than necessary, or

4. bond with surety in no greater amount than necessary.

In addition to or in conjunction with any of these conditions the court may, when it has reason to believe that the person is drug-dependent and that it is necessary, reasonable, and appropriate, order the person to submit to a urinalysis drug test and to participate in a periodic drug testing and treatment program.

The court may, in determining what conditions of release will reasonably assure the appearance of the arrested person in court, consider the nature and circumstances of the offense and the person's:

1. record of previous convictions;

2. past record of appearance in court after being released on bail;

3. family ties;

4. employment record; and

5. financial resources, character, mental condition, and community ties.

For people charged with certain serious crimes (see 25) it may also consider:

1. the number and seriousness of pending charges, the weight of the evidence, and whether the arrestee has previously been convicted of similar offenses while released on bond; and

2. the arrestee's history of violence and, based on the arrestee's expressed intention, the likelihood that he or she will commit another crime while released.

Offender-Based Tracking System

The offender-based tracking system is an information system that allows criminal justice agencies to share criminal history record information and access electronically maintained offender and case data involving felonies, misdemeanors, violations, certain motor vehicle violations and offenses, and infractions.

CR/GC/SP: SC/KM//SS: ts