Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

File No. 534

    February Session, 2018

Substitute House Bill No. 5465

House of Representatives, April 17, 2018

The Committee on Judiciary reported through REP. TONG of the 147th Dist., Chairperson of the Committee on the part of the House, that the substitute bill ought to pass.

AN ACT CONCERNING GOOD TIME CREDITS AND THE EARNED RISK REDUCTION CREDIT PROGRAM.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 18-7a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(a) Except as provided in subsections (b) [and (c)] to (d), inclusive, of this section, any person sentenced to a term of imprisonment, on and after October 1, 1976, and while still serving such sentence whether such sentence is for a definite, indefinite or indeterminate term, and regardless of the institution wherein the prisoner is confined may, by good conduct and obedience to the rules which have been established for the service of his sentence, earn a commutation or diminution of his sentence in the amount of ten days for each month, and pro rata for a part of a month, of a sentence which is for not more than five years, and fifteen days for each month, and pro rata for a part of a month, for the sixth and each subsequent year of a sentence of more than five years. In the case of an indeterminate sentence, such credit shall apply to both the minimum and maximum term. In the case of an indefinite sentence, such credit shall apply to the maximum term only. Any act of misconduct or refusal to obey the rules which have been established for the service of his sentence shall subject the prisoner to the loss of all or any portion of such credit by the commissioner or his designee.

(b) Except as provided in [subsection (c)] subsections (c) and (d) of this section, any person sentenced to a term of imprisonment for an offense committed on or after July 1, 1981, may, while held in default of bond or while serving such sentence, by good conduct and obedience to the rules which have been established for the service of his sentence, earn a reduction of his sentence in the amount of ten days for each month and pro rata for a part of a month of a sentence up to five years, and twelve days for each month and pro rata for a part of a month for the sixth and each subsequent year of a sentence which is more than five years. Misconduct or refusal to obey the rules which have been established for the service of his sentence shall subject the prisoner to the loss of all or any portion of such reduction by the commissioner or his designee.

(c) [Any] Except as provided in subsection (d) of this section, any person sentenced to a term of imprisonment for an offense committed on or after July 1, 1983, may, while held in default of bond or while serving such sentence, by good conduct and obedience to the rules which have been established for the service of his sentence, earn a reduction of his sentence as such sentence is served in the amount of ten days for each month served and pro rata for a part of a month served of a sentence up to five years, and twelve days for each month served and pro rata for a part of a month served for the sixth and each subsequent year of a sentence which is more than five years. Misconduct or refusal to obey the rules which have been established for the service of his sentence shall subject the prisoner to the loss of all or any portion of such reduction by the commissioner or his designee. In the event a prisoner has not yet earned sufficient good time to satisfy the good time loss, such lost good time shall be deducted from any good time earned in the future by such prisoner.

(d) On and after the effective date of this section, no person may earn good time pursuant to this section. Any person who, prior to the effective date of this section, was eligible to earn good time pursuant to the provisions of this section, may, on or after the effective date of this section, earn credits pursuant to the provisions of section 18-98e, as amended by this act, provided such person is otherwise eligible to earn such credits. Any good time credits earned prior to the effective date of this section may be used to reduce a person's sentence in accordance with subsection (a), (b) or (c) of this section, as applicable, except as may be lost pursuant to the provisions of this section. Nothing in this subsection shall invalidate the release or parole release of any person pursuant to a sentence reduction earned prior to the effective date of this section.

Sec. 2. Subsection (a) of section 18-98e of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(a) Notwithstanding any provision of the general statutes, any person sentenced to a term of imprisonment [for a crime committed on or after October 1, 1994,] and committed to the custody of the Commissioner of Correction, [on or after said date,] except a person sentenced for a violation of section 53a-54a, 53a-54b, 53a-54c, 53a-54d, 53a-55, 53a-55a, 53a-70a, 53a-70c or 53a-100aa, or who is a persistent dangerous felony offender or persistent dangerous sexual offender pursuant to section 53a-40, may be eligible to earn risk reduction credit toward a reduction of such person's sentence, in an amount not to exceed five days per month, at the discretion of the Commissioner of Correction for conduct as provided in subsection (b) of this section occurring on or after April 1, 2006.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

from passage

18-7a

Sec. 2

from passage

18-98e(a)

JUD

Joint Favorable Subst.

 

The following Fiscal Impact Statement and Bill Analysis are prepared for the benefit of the members of the General Assembly, solely for purposes of information, summarization and explanation and do not represent the intent of the General Assembly or either chamber thereof for any purpose. In general, fiscal impacts are based upon a variety of informational sources, including the analyst's professional knowledge. Whenever applicable, agency data is consulted as part of the analysis, however final products do not necessarily reflect an assessment from any specific department.


OFA Fiscal Note

State Impact:

Agency Affected

Fund-Effect

FY 19 $

FY 20 $

Correction, Dept.

GF - Potential Cost

See Below

See Below

Note: GF=General Fund

Municipal Impact: None

Explanation

This bill results in a potential cost to the state by reducing certain inmate's ability to reduce their sentence with good behavior credits. This change affects 322 inmates that were sentenced for crimes committed before October 1, 1994. To the extent that inmates receive fewer credits as a result of the bill's provisions, this will result in inmates serving longer sentences and therefore additional costs to the state. On average, the marginal cost to the state for incarcerating an offender for the year is $1,900.1

The Out Years

The annualized ongoing fiscal impact identified above would continue into the future subject to the number of inmates that have been incarcerated since before October 1, 1994.

OLR Bill Analysis

sHB 5465

AN ACT CONCERNING GOOD TIME CREDITS AND THE EARNED RISK REDUCTION CREDIT PROGRAM.

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). Instead, it allows such inmates who were eligible to earn these credits prior to the bill's passage to earn credits under the state's risk reduction earned credit program, if they are eligible. Under current law, the risk reduction earned credit program applies only to inmates imprisoned for crimes committed on or after October 1, 1994.

Consequently, the bill reduces the number of (1) inmates imprisoned for crimes committed before October 1, 1994 who are potentially eligible to earn credits off their sentences (due to the risk reduction program's eligibility criteria, see BACKGROUND) and (2) days per month of credits that they may earn.

The bill allows inmates who have earned good conduct credits prior to the bill's passage to continue to use them to reduce their sentences as under current law, except as may be lost for misconduct or refusal to obey rules. 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.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

GOOD CONDUCT CREDITS AND RISK REDUCTION EARNED CREDIT PROGRAM

The bill eliminates the ability of inmates sentenced for crimes committed before October 1, 1994 to earn good conduct credits, but opens the risk reduction earned credit program to all eligible inmates, not just those imprisoned for crimes committed on or after October 1, 1994.

By shifting inmates sentenced for crimes committed before then from earning good conduct credits to risk reduction credits, the bill reduces the days per month of credits that they may earn, as follows:

Under existing law, unchanged by the bill, inmates sentenced for crimes committed before October 1, 1994 may be eligible to reduce their sentences under certain other laws, at the Department of Correction (DOC) commissioner's discretion. Specifically, such inmates:

BACKGROUND

Good Conduct Credits for Crimes Committed before October 1, 1994

In 1993, existing laws authorized good conduct credit for inmates. 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 DOC or the Board of Parole until the maximum term of the person's sentence expired (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)).

Risk Reduction Earned Credit Program – Excluded Crimes

By law, an inmate convicted of the following crimes cannot earn risk reduction credits: murder, murder with special circumstances, felony murder, arson murder, 1st degree manslaughter, 1st degree manslaughter with a firearm, 1st degree aggravated sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault of a minor, and home invasion. The law also bars an inmate from earning credits if he or she is classified as a persistent dangerous felony offender or persistent dangerous sexual offender (CGS 18-98e).

COMMITTEE ACTION

Judiciary Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

39

Nay

0

(04/02/2018)

TOP

1 Inmate marginal cost is based on reduced consumables (e.g. food, clothing, water, sewage, living supplies, etc.) This does not include a reduction in staffing costs or utility expenses because these would only be realized if a unit or facility closed.