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NO. 33. AN ACT RELATING TO YOUTHFUL OFFENDERS

(S.112)

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1. 33 V.S.A. 311 is added to read:

311. DELINQUENT CHILD SERVICES; PURPOSE AND RESPONSIBILITY

The department of social and rehabilitation services shall have the purpose and responsibility to develop and administer a comprehensive program for children who commit delinquent acts, including utilization of probation services, a range of community-based treatment, training and rehabilitation programs and secure detention and treatment programs when necessary in the interests of public safety, designed with the objective of preparing those children to live in their communities as productive and mature adults.

Sec. 2. 33 V.S.A. 5551(2) is amended to read:

5551. POWERS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE COMMISSIONER

REGARDING JUVENILE PROBATION

The commissioner shall be charged with the following powers and responsibilities regarding the administration of juvenile probation:

* * * [Text Omitted] * * *

(2) To supervise the administration of juvenile probation services, including the authority to enter into contracts with community-based agencies to provide probation services which may include restitution and community service programs, and establish policies and standards and adopt rules regarding juvenile probation investigation, supervision, casework and caseloads, record keeping and the qualification of juvenile probation officers.

* * * [Text Omitted] * * *

Sec. 3. YOUTHFUL OFFENDER COORDINATOR

The secretary of the agency of human services shall create on or before July 1, 1997 a limited service position of youthful offender coordinator and recruit and employ a person to fill that position. The position shall be funded from grants, foundation funds or federal funds if such funds are available, otherwise the position shall be funded with existing funds appropriated to the agency of human services. The limited service position authorized inthis section shall expire on June 30, 1999. The youthful offender coordinator shall have cross-departmental responsibility to advocate for adequate services and funding for youthful offenders, and have authority to coordinate all state programs that deal with youthful offenders. The youthful offender coordinator shall:

(1) Prepare a comprehensive plan for the creation of a youthful offender system for the State of Vermont.

(2) On October 1, 1997, file with the appropriate legislative committees an interim report of accomplishments to date and improvements that have been implemented. That report shall also include a list of additional actions that are planned and a schedule for implementation.

(3) File with the appropriate legislative committees on January 15 of each year a report on the status of the youthful offender system, including recommendations for legislative action and other improvements in the system.

Sec. 4. YOUTHFUL OFFENDER SYSTEM STUDY COMMITTEE

The Youthful Offender System Study Committee as established by Sec. 4 of Act No. 145 (H.88) of the Acts of the 1995 Adjourned Session (1996) shall continue its study during the interim of the 1997 and 1998 legislative sessions. The committee shall have the authority, duties and entitlement to reimbursement for expenses and compensation for services as provided in Act No. 145. Members appointed to the committee under Act No. 145 shall continue to serve on the committee. Any Senate vacancy shall be filled by the Committee on Committees and any House vacancy shall be filled by the Speaker of the House. The committee is authorized to meet six times and shall complete its work on the subject of youthful offenders, including a review of the first report by the youthful offender coordinator, preparation of drafts of bills dealing with dual custody, creation of an advisory board on juvenile justice, and other initiatives that require legislative action. The Youthful Offender System Study Committee, as part of its report, shall include a recommendation on the continuation of the coordinator’s position and a source of permanent funding for that position.

Sec. 5. EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect upon passage.

Approved: May 15, 1997