PA 15-216—sHB 7027

Judiciary Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING RISK REDUCTION CREDITS, CARRY PERMITS AND PAROLE OFFICER ACCESS TO STATE FIREARMS DATABASE

SUMMARY: This act makes several unrelated changes affecting risk reduction credits and firearms.

Regarding risk reduction credits earned by inmates, it:

1. expands the list of crimes that bar inmates from earning the credits;

2. requires prison wardens to verify that an inmate being released from a prison earned the credits that are reducing his or her sentence; and

3. requires the Department of Correction (DOC) commissioner, quarterly beginning by January 1, 2016, to report to the General Assembly and post on the department's website certain information about inmates released early because of earned credits.

The act requires a handgun (pistol or revolver) permit holder to present his or her permit to a law enforcement officer who requests it for purposes of verifying the permit's validity or person's identity if the officer observes the person carrying a handgun and has reasonable suspicion of a crime. By law, a permit holder must carry the permit while carrying a handgun (see BACKGROUND).

It also adds parole officers performing their duties to the list of people who may access the names and addresses of people (1) issued permits to carry or sell handguns, handgun or long gun eligibility certificates, assault weapon possession certificates, or ammunition certificates or (2) who declared possession of large capacity magazines.

By law, this information can also be disclosed to (1) law enforcement officials, including U. S. probation officers performing their duties; (2) the mental health and addiction services commissioner to carry out statutory gun-related responsibilities; and (3) gun or ammunition sellers, as necessary for the relevant government agency to verify a prospective gun or ammunition buyer's credential.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2015

RISK REDUCTION CREDITS

Earning Credits

The act expands the list of crimes that bar inmates from earning risk reduction credits. It prohibits someone convicted of 1st degree manslaughter, 1st degree manslaughter with a firearm, or aggravated sexual assault of a minor, or as a persistent dangerous felony offender or persistent dangerous sexual offender (see BACKGROUND), from earning the credits. By law, inmates convicted of the following crimes cannot earn these credits: murder, murder with special circumstances, felony murder, arson murder, 1st degree aggravated sexual assault, or home invasion.

By law, an eligible inmate can earn up to five days per month to reduce his or her maximum prison sentence, at the DOC commissioner's discretion, for good conduct, obeying rules, adhering to offender accountability plans, and participating in certain programs and activities. Good conduct and obedience alone do not entitle an inmate to credits. Inmates convicted of a violent crime or 2nd degree burglary cannot use the credits to become eligible for parole sooner than they otherwise would. Inmates convicted of non-violent crimes have their parole eligibility based on their sentences as reduced by the credits (CGS 54-125a).

The act requires the warden of a facility, before releasing an inmate who earned credits, to review the inmate's records to verify that he or she earned the credits to reduce his or her prison sentence.

Reports

The act requires DOC, after consulting with the Office of Policy and Management's Criminal Justice Policy and Planning Division, to issue a quarterly report to the legislature including:

1. the (a) total number of inmates released and (b) number released early as a result of earning risk reduction credits;

2. the criminal convictions of the released inmates;

3. the amount of credits earned by inmates released early because of the credits; and

4. any recidivism data on inmates released early because of the credits, such as reentry rates into prisons, time between release and return to prison, and the criminal convictions that resulted in their return to prison.

DOC must post each report on its website within 30 days of submitting it.

BACKGROUND

Persistent Offenders

By law, a “persistent dangerous felony offender” is someone who stands convicted of certain serious crimes who has a prior conviction for certain serious crimes (CGS 53a-40(a) and (h)).

By law, a “persistent dangerous sexual offender” is someone who stands convicted of certain sexual assault crimes and has a prior conviction for certain sexual assault crimes (CGS 53a-40(b) and (i)).

Related Case

At least one Superior Court ruled that the statute requiring someone to carry his or her firearm permit does not also require showing it to a police officer when requested to do so (DESPP v. Board of Firearms Permit Examiners, et al. No. HHB CV 14-6026730S, May 13, 2015).

OLR Tracking: CR; VR; PF: BS