OFFICE OF FISCAL ANALYSIS

Legislative Office Building, Room 5200

Hartford, CT 06106 (860) 240-0200

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

sSB-952

AN ACT CONCERNING A SECOND CHANCE SOCIETY.


OFA Fiscal Note

State Impact:

Agency Affected

Fund-Effect

FY 16 $

FY 17 $

Correction, Dept.

GF - Savings

6.6 million

at least 12.4 million

Note: GF=General Fund

Municipal Impact: None

Explanation

The bill makes various changes to statutes regarding drug possession and results in a savings to the Department of Correction (DOC) of $6.6 million in FY 16 and up to $12.4 million in FY 17 through reduction in prison population and corresponding facility closures.

Section 1 reduces the penalties for felony drug possession crimes to class A misdemeanors. Based on current prison population, this will reduce the prison population by approximately 1,120 inmates during FY 16. These changes are summarized in the following chart.

Changes in Prison Population based on Changes to Drug Penalties

Change

Population Reduction

Parole of sentenced prisoners

-550

Presentence population

-480

Sentenced Population changes

-90

Total Reduction During FY 16

-1,120

Currently there are approximately 550 sentenced inmates incarcerated for offenses changed in the bill. The bill allows the Commissioner of Correction to consider the changes to statute in the bill when making parole decisions. The Commissioner has the authority to release these inmates from supervision in the facility to parole supervision in the community. In addition to the currently sentenced inmates, there are approximately 480 un-sentenced inmates incarcerated for these offenses that may avoid prison sentences. Lastly, approximately 90 offenders over the course of the last three quarters of FY 16 will avoid prison sentences based on the changes in the bill. These savings assume that although offenders can be sentenced to up to a year in prison, most will be sentenced to probation or subject to supervision in the community by the Department of Correction.

Based on the projected reduction in prison population due to changes in the bill, DOC will close three prison annexes over the course of FY 16 as the prison population decreases. The FY 16 savings associated with the closures is $6.6 million. The annualized savings in FY 17 is $12.4 million.

Section 1 also narrows the crime of possession of drugs on or near school property that result in potential savings to DOC. The section eliminates the mandatory minimum prison term of 2 years and also eliminates the buffer distance of 1,500 feet. To the extent that the changes in the bill reduce the incidence of prosecution of this offense, or the changes in the bill reduce the length of sentences associated with offenses, savings to DOC would result. There is no data available on how many offenses the changes in the bill will affect.

Section 9 makes changes to the membership of the Board of Pardons and Parole that result in no net fiscal impact. The section reduces the number of part time members of the Board of Pardons and Parole from 14 to a maximum of 5. The section also increases the number of full time members from 6 to 10. The reduction in part time members results in a savings up to $550,000 (depending on the number of part time members hired and their utilization) and increasing the number of full time members results in a cost of approximately $515,000 including fringe benefits.

The Out Years

The annualized ongoing fiscal impact identified above would continue into the future subject to inflation.

Sources:

Department of Correction Summary of Offenders by Controlling Offense, as of 1/1/2015