Topic:
EXECUTIVE AGENCIES; STATE BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS; PAROLE; APPOINTMENT TO OFFICE; PARDONS; SENTENCING; CORRECTIONS; PRISONS AND PRISONERS;
Location:
PARDON; PAROLE;

OLR Research Report


September 7, 2007

 

2007-R-0533

BOARD OF PARDONS AND PAROLE

By: George Coppolo, Chief Attorney

You asked for description of the Board of Pardons and Parole including the appointment process.

SUMMARY

The Board of Pardons and Paroles has independent decision-making authority to (1) grant or deny parole or special parole, (2) set parole and special parole supervision conditions, (3) rescind or revoke parole or special parole, and (4) grant releases and commute punishments including the death penalty (commutations reduce the punishment to a lesser one).

The board consists of 13 members appointed by the governor with the consent of either house of the General Assembly. In her appointments, the governor must try to reflect the state's racial diversity. Members serve for the length of the governor's term and are paid $110 for each day spent performing their duties and receive necessary expenses. If a member is temporarily unable to perform his or her duties, the governor, at the board's request, may appoint a qualified person to serve as a temporary member.

The governor appoints the chairperson from among the members. This person must be qualified by education, experience, and training in administering community corrections, parole, or pardons. The law requires the chairperson to work full time and be paid as determined by the Department of Administrative Services commissioner. The chairperson is executive and administrative head of the board.

The chairperson can sit on both pardons and parole release panels. He assigns seven members exclusively to parole release hearings and five to pardons hearings. Except for the chairperson, no member assigned to one type of hearing can later be assigned to the other.

The chairperson or his designee and two members must conduct all parole hearings and approve or deny all parole release, revocation, or rescission recommendations from a board employee. Pardons panels consist of three members. The chairperson must be on the panel for hearings on commutation of the death penalty and can be on other panels.

The law makes the Department of Correction (DOC) responsible for the supervision of anyone on parole or special parole.

BOARD OF PARDONS AND PAROLES

The Board of Pardons and Paroles is a statutorily created entity within DOC, for administrative purposes only. The board consists of 13 members appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of either house of the General Assembly. In the appointment of the members, the governor must try to reflect the racial diversity of the state (CGS 54-124a (a)).

Each board member's term is coterminous with the governor's or until a successor is chosen, whichever is later. The governor fills any vacancy on the board for the unexpired portion of the term (CGS 54-124a(b)). The members other than the chairperson receive $110 for each day spent performing their duties and are reimbursed for necessary expenses (CGS 54-124a(c)).

The board has independent decision-making authority to:

1. grant or deny parole;

2. establish conditions of parole or special parole supervision;

3. rescind or revoke parole or special parole;

4. grant commutations of punishment or releases, conditioned or absolute, for anyone convicted of any offense against the state; and

5. commutations from the death penalty (CGS 54-124a(f)).

HEARINGS

The law authorizes the board chairperson to sit on both pardons and parole panels. He or she must assign seven members exclusively to parole release hearings and five to pardons hearings. Except for the chairperson, no member assigned to one type of hearing can later be assigned to the other (CGS 4-124a(e)).

The chairperson or his designee and two members must conduct all parole hearings and approve or deny all parole release, revocation, or rescission recommendations from a board employee.

Pardons panels consist of three members. The chairperson must be on the panel for hearings on commutation of the death penalty and can be on other panels (CGS 54-124a(h)). The board must hold a pardons hearing at least every three months. The hearings must be in various geographic areas of the state. The board cannot hold hearings in or on correctional facility grounds unless solely for the benefit of applicants incarcerated at the time of the hearing (CGS 54-124(k)).

MEMBERSHIP

Pardons Panel Members

Members who serve on the pardons panels are:

1. Robert Farr, West Hartford;

2. Joseph Elder, Hartford;

3. Joseph E. Milardo, Jr., Middletown;

4. Rita R. Ortiz, West Hartford;

5. Russell S. Palmer, Berlin; and

6. Victoria Wills, West Hartford.

Parole Panel Members

Members who serve on the parole panels are:

1. Robert Farr, West Hartford;

2. Cicero B. Booker, Jr., Waterbury;

3. Carl D. Eisenmann, Simsbury,

4. Patricia B. McDaniel, Waterbury;

5. Wanda Mendez, Waterbury;

6. Robert W. Neil, Bolton;

7. Robert Parisi, Wallingford; and

8. Jackie Pullen-Daniels, New Haven.

CHAIRPERSON

The law requires the governor to appoint a chairperson from among the membership. The chairperson must be qualified by education, experience, and training in the administration of community corrections, parole, or pardons (CGS 54-124a(a)). The chairperson must:

1. oversee the board's administrative affairs;

2. adopt policies for all areas of pardons and parole, including granting pardons, commutations, or releases, including commutations of the death penalty; risk-based structured decision making; and release criteria (prior law required the DOC commissioner to set policies in all areas of parole including decision-making, release criteria, and supervision standards);

3. consult with DOC on common issues, including prison overcrowding;

4. consult with the Judicial Branch on common issues, including community supervision;

5. sign and issue subpoenas to compel witnesses to attend and testify at parole hearings;

6. adopt an annual budget and plan of operation;

7. adopt rules deemed necessary for the board's internal affairs, and

8. submit an annual report to the governor and General Assembly (CGS 54-124a(d) and (n)).

The chairperson, in consultation with the board's members and representatives of parole officers, also must annually review and establish goals for parole officer to parolee caseload ratio (CGS 54-124b).

The law also requires the chairperson to enforce board rules and regulations and special provisions adopted by a parole panel and retake and re-imprison any parolee for any reason that a panel, or the chairperson with the panel's approval, deems sufficient. The chairperson may also detain any convict or inmate pending approval by the panel of such re-taking or re-imprisonment (CGS 54-126).

The chairperson or, in his or her absence or inability to act, a member the chairperson designates to serve temporarily as chairperson, must be present at all board meetings and participate in all decisions (CGS 54-124a(c)).

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

The chairperson must appoint an executive director to:

1. direct and supervise all administrative affairs;

2. prepare the budget and annual operation plan;

3. assign staff to administrative reviews;

4. organize pardons and parole release hearing calendars;

5. implement a uniform case filing and processing system; and

6. create staff and board member development, training, and education programs (CGS 54-124a(i)).

JOINT DUTIES OF CHAIRPERSON AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

The law requires the chairperson and executive director to establish:

1. in consultation with the DOC, a parole orientation program for all parole-eligible inmates upon their transfer to DOC that will provide general information on the laws and policies regarding parole release, calculation of time-served standards, general conditions of release, supervision practices, revocation and rescission policies, and procedures for administrative review and panel hearings, and any other information that the board deems relevant to prepare inmates for parole; and

2. an incremental sanctions system for parole violations including, but not limited to, re-incarceration based on the type, severity, and frequency of the violation and specific periods of incarceration for certain types of violations(CGS 124a(l)).

REGULATIONS

The law requires the chairperson, in consultation with the executive director, to adopt regulations regarding (1) conducting parole revocation and rescission hearings that include due process requirements, (2) requiring written statements of the reasons for rejecting a pardon application, (3) administering the Interstate Parole Compact, and (4) processing administrative pardons (CGS 54-124(j)).

The law authorizes the board to establish parole rules and regulations, and the panel for a particular case to establish special provisions for the parole of a particular convict (CGS 54-126).

The law requires the chairperson to enforce these rules, regulations and provisions, and retake and re-imprison any parolee, for any reason that a panel, or the chairperson with the panel's approval, deems sufficient. The chairperson may detain any convict or inmate pending approval by the panel of such re-taking or re-imprisonment (CGS 54-126).

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