OLR Bill Analysis

sHB 7133

AN ACT CONCERNING GOOD TIME CREDITS.

SUMMARY

This bill eliminates the ability of inmates sentenced for crimes committed before October 1, 1994 to earn good conduct credits to reduce their sentences (see BACKGROUND). It allows inmates who have earned such credits prior to the bill's passage to continue to use these credits to reduce their sentences as under current law.

Current law allows such inmates, starting with those sentenced on and after October 1, 1976, to earn these credits for good conduct and obeying rules, as follows:

1. 10 days off the sentence for each month of good behavior during the first five years of the sentence, and

2. 12 days off the sentence for each month of good behavior during the sixth and subsequent years, or 15 days per month for these years if sentenced for a crime committed before July 1, 1981.

The bill specifies that it does not invalidate the release or parole release of any inmate whose sentence was reduced under these provisions before the bill's passage.

Under existing law, unchanged by the bill, these inmates may be eligible to reduce their sentences under certain other laws, at the Department of Correction (DOC) commissioner's discretion. Specifically, such prisoners:

1. who work at the prison or a work-release program may have their sentences reduced by one day for each consecutive seven days of employment (CGS 18-98a) and

2. may have their sentences reduced by up to 120 days for an “outstanding meritorious performance award” (CGS 18-98b).

By law, certain inmates sentenced for crimes committed on or after October 1, 1994 are eligible to reduce their sentences under the risk reduction earned credit program (see BACKGROUND).

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

BACKGROUND

Good Conduct Credits for Crimes Committed before October 1, 1994

In 1993, existing laws authorized good conduct credit for prisoners. A provision in PA 93-219 provided that anyone convicted of a crime committed on or after October 1, 1994 had to be subject to supervision either by the Department of Correction or Board of Parole until the expiration of the maximum term of the person's sentence (codified as CGS 18-100d). The state Supreme Court interpreted this language as eliminating the ability of inmates to reduce their sentences under the good conduct statutes for crimes committed on or after October 1, 1994 (Velez v. Commissioner of Correction, 250 Conn. 536 (1999)).

(Under the risk reduction earned credit program (CGS 18-98e), certain inmates in prison for crimes committed on or after October 1, 1994 can earn credits of up to five days per month to reduce their sentences.)

Related Bills

sSB 575, reported favorably by the Judiciary Committee, (1) adds to the list of crimes that bar inmates from earning risk reduction credits and (2) requires the DOC commissioner to adopt regulations detailing the department's internal policies and procedures on specified matters related to the risk reduction earned credit program.

sHB 5992, reported favorably by the Judiciary Committee, requires the DOC commissioner to report to the committee on his recommendations to improve the risk reduction earned credit program.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Judiciary Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

40

Nay

0

(04/04/2017)