Topic:
APPROPRIATIONS PROCESS; CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM (GENERAL); LEGISLATION; PERSISTENT OFFENDERS; PRISONS AND PRISONERS;
Location:
CRIME AND CRIMINALS; CRIME AND CRIMINALS - PERSISTENT OFFENDERS;

OLR Research Report


October 9, 2008

 

2008-R-0568

PRISONS-HEARING ON RECENT LEGISLATION

By: George Coppolo, Chief Attorney

You asked what specific appropriations were made in the two major criminal justice reform bills enacted this year. You also asked whether these acts explicitly expanded existing programs or created new ones.

SUMMARY

The legislature enacted two major criminal justice reform acts this year, PA 08-1, January Special Session, An Act Concerning Criminal Justice Reform, and PA 08-51, An Act Concerning Persistent Dangerous Felony Offenders and Providing Additional Resources to the Criminal Justice System.

Regarding specific appropriations and creating or expanding new programs, PA 08-1, January Special Session:

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

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

3. 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;

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

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

6. by January 1, 2009, directs the Department of Corrections (DOC) to provide the Board of Pardons and Paroles with a secure video connection at each correctional facility for conducting parole hearings by videoconference.

7. requires the five board of Pardons and Parole members who serve on parole release panels be full time employees and requires the board to employ at least one psychologist to assist in parole release decision.

This act also made some significant changes to the criminal justice system in other ways. We have enclosed a copy of a summary of the entire public act. We have also enclosed the fiscal note prepared by the Office of Fiscal Analysis (OFA).

PA 08-51 of the 2008 regular session makes the following criminal justice appropriations for FY 09:

1. $681,000 to the Division of Criminal Justice to enhance prosecution of repeat offenders, administrative coordination, and information technology capacity;

2. $512,000 to the Public Defender Services Commission to enhance the legal defense of indigent defendants and handle increased prosecutions;

3. $5,232,000 to the Judicial Branch to enhance court operations and probation supervision of sex offenders, including using GPS and polygraph technology; increase the capacity to serve outstanding warrants for probation violations; provide truancy prevention; and create a juvenile justice urban cities pilot program;

4. $514,000 to the Department of Public Safety to hire additional staff in the State Police Major Crime Squad;

5. $2,147,000 to the DOC to fund alternative housing, additional correction and parole officers, expanded GPS use in supervising parolees, and additional staff for the Board of Pardons and Paroles to screen parole candidates and process files; and

6. $910,000 to the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services to enhance coordination and monitoring of community services for individuals served by alternative supervision and intervention support teams, provide supportive housing for individuals in the jail diversion and reentry programs, enhance the women's jail diversion program, and hire an additional clinician to expand the alternative drug intervention program's capacity.

PA 08-51 also makes numerous significant changes to the criminal justice system in other respects. We have enclosed a copy of a summary of the entire act and a copy of the fiscal note OFA prepared for it.

Following is a more detailed summary of section of PA 08-1, January Special Session.

PA 08-1, JANUARY SPECIAL SESSION — APPROPRIATIONS AND EXPANSIONS OR CREATIONS OF PROGRAMS

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 09, and (4) any obstacles encountered or foreseen in making the beds available.

22 — Electronic Monitoring of Additional Parolees

The act requires DOC to use a GPS to electronically monitor an additional 200 parolees immediately after the act took effect January 25, 2008, and an additional 100 parolees by July 1, 2008, whose risk levels indicate that they are most likely to re-offend.

39 & 43 — Criminal Justice Information System Governing Board

By law, the Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS) Governing Board, within the Office of Policy and Management 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 other members are the chief court administrator, who serves as chairperson; agency commissioners with law enforcement, homeland security, correction, and motor vehicle responsibilities; the Board of Pardons and Paroles 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 on October 1, 2008, 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 1. It also carries forward specified unspent balances from FY 08 to FY 09 for the same purposes.

Table 1: 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 2.

Table 2: 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

GC:ts