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NO. 127. AN ACT RELATING TO TRUTH IN SENTENCING.

(H.564)

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

Sec. 1. 28 V.S.A. § 811 is amended to read:

§ 811. REDUCTION OF TERM FOR GOOD BEHAVIOR

(a) Each inmate sentenced to imprisonment and committed to the custody of the commissioner for a fixed term or terms shall earn a reduction of five days in the *[minimum and]* maximum *[terms]* term of confinement for each month during which the inmate has faithfully observed all the rules and regulations of the institution to which the inmate is committed.

(b) A reduction of up to ten additional days in the *[minimum and]* maximum *[terms]* term of confinement for each month may be made if the inmate participates in treatment, educational or vocational training programs or work identified by the department to address the inmate's needs. If the inmate refuses to participate in such programs or work identified by the department to address the inmate's needs, but participates in other treatment, educational or vocational training programs or work, a reduction of up to five additional days in the *[minimum and]* maximum *[terms]* term of confinement for each month may be made.

(c) Any inmate who agrees to participate in a treatment, educational or vocational program or work identified by the department to address the inmate's needs, but is unable to participate due to insufficient program opportunities provided by the department of corrections shall be awarded the maximum number of days' reduction in the *[minimum and]* maximum *[terms]* term of confinement allowable for the program opportunity denied the inmate.

(d) Work camps. *[A]* Notwithstanding subsections (a), (b) and (c) of this section, a reduction of up to 15 additional days a month in the minimum and maximum terms of confinement may be made in accordance with a policy established by the director of a work camp in which the inmate is confined for each month during which the inmate demonstrates, beyond the level normally expected, consistent program performance or meritorious work performance.

(e) This section applies only while *[the]* an inmate is committed to the custody of the commissioner and in no case while the inmate is on probation, parole or supervised community service.

(f) Each *[and every]* inmate committed to the custody of the commissioner *[of corrections]* shall receive timely written notice each month of any reduction in the *[minimum and]* maximum *[terms]* term of confinement, and a notation of such award shall be entered each month on a cumulative record of such actions in the inmate's permanent file. If the inmate is not awarded the maximum allowable reduction in the *[minimum and]* maximum *[terms]* term of confinement in any given month, the inmate shall receive a written explanation for the denial of such reduction from the administrative officer of the facility wherein the inmate is confined. For an inmate confined in a work camp, the provisions of this subsection shall apply to both the minimum and maximum terms of the inmate’s confinement.

(g) In no case shall the reductions to an inmate’s sentence as provided for in this section result in the inmate’s maximum sentence being less than the inmate’s minimum sentence.

Sec. 2. APPLICABILITY

The provisions of Sec. 1 shall apply to persons who commit offenses on or after the effective date of this act.

Sec. 3. 13 V.S.A. § 7031(a) is amended to read:

§ 7031. FORM OF SENTENCES; MAXIMUM AND MINIMUM TERMS

(a) When a respondent is sentenced to any term of imprisonment, other than for life, the court imposing the sentence shall not fix the term of imprisonment, unless such term is definitely fixed by statute, but shall establish a maximum and may establish a minimum term for which such respondent may be held in imprisonment. The maximum term shall not be more than the longest term fixed by law for the offense of which the respondent is convicted and the minimum term shall be not less than the shortest term fixed by law for such offense. If the court suspends a portion of said sentence, the unsuspended portion of such sentence shall be the minimum term of sentence solely for the purpose of any reductions of term for good behavior as provided for in section 811 of Title 28.

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Approved: May 12, 2000