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NO. 177.  AN ACT RELATING TO SEXUAL EXPLOITATION AND TO ISSUES CONCERNING THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS.

(S.256)

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

Sec. 1.  13 V.S.A. § 3257 is added to read:

§ 3257.  SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF AN INMATE

(a)  No correctional employee, contractor, or other person providing services to offenders on behalf of the department of corrections or pursuant to a court order or in accordance with a condition of parole, probation, supervised community sentence, or furlough shall engage in a sexual act with a person who the employee, contractor, or other person providing services knows:

(1)  is confined to a correctional facility; or

(2)  is being supervised by the department of corrections while on parole, probation, supervised community sentence, or furlough, where the employee, contractor, or other service provider is currently engaged in a direct supervisory relationship with the person being supervised.  For purposes of this subdivision, a person is engaged in a direct supervisory relationship with a supervisee if the supervisee is assigned to the caseload of that person.

(b)  A person who violates subsection (a) of this section shall be imprisoned for not more than five years or fined not more than $10,000.00, or both.

Sec. 2.  28 V.S.A. § 853 is amended to read:

§ 853.  PUNISHMENT; MAINTENANCE OF RECORDS;

            RECOMMENDATION OF TRANSFER

(a)(1)  Except in serious cases as provided in subdivision (2) of this subsection, punishment for a breach of the rules and regulations of the facility shall consist of deprivation of privileges.  In cases of

(2)  Serious breaches of the rules and regulations shall include assault, escape, or attempt to escape, or other serious breach of the rules, and other serious breaches.  In cases involving a serious breach, the disciplinary committee may recommend to the supervising officer of the facility, and he who may then order, other forms of discipline in addition to or as substitution for a loss of privileges, that any portion of an inmate’s reduction of term for good behavior be forfeited or withheld in accordance with section 812 of this title.  In cases involving breach of the rules and regulations of the facility that result.  If the serious breach results in damage to state-owned property, the disciplinary committee may fix the an amount of restitution or reparation, which shall not exceed an amount the offender inmate can or will be able to pay, and shall fix the manner of performance.  Other forms of discipline for a serious breach of the rules may include:

(A)  Recommendation by the disciplinary committee and by the supervising officer also may be made to the commissioner that the inmate be transferred to another facility. 

(B)  For serious breach of the rules the disciplinary committee Segregation, in accordance with the regulations of the department, may also recommend, and the supervising officer may order, that an inmate be confined in a cell or room, apart from the accommodations provided for inmates who are participating in programs of the facility.; provided:

(1)(i)  The period of such confinement segregation shall not exceed thirty 30 days consecutively;

(2)(ii)  The inmate shall be supplied with a sufficient quantity of wholesome and nutritious food, which shall be of the same quantity and nutritional quality as that provided to the general population of inmates at the facility;

(3)(iii)  Adequate sanitary and other conditions required for the health of the inmate shall be maintained; and

(4)(iv)  The supervising officer of the facility shall comply with any recommendation that may be made by the institution’s facility’s physician for measures with respect to dietary needs or conditions of confinement segregation of each inmate required to maintain the health of the inmate.

(b)  No cruel, inhuman, or corporal punishment shall be used on any inmate, nor is the use of force on any inmate justifiable except as provided by law.

(c)  The supervising officer of any facility shall maintain a record of all breaches of rules, of the disposition of each case, and of the punishment, if any, for each breach.  Each breach of the rules by an inmate shall be entered in the file of the inmate, together with the disposition or punishment therefor.

Sec. 3.  28 V.S.A. § 102(c)(19) is amended to read:

(19)  If a treaty in effect between the United States and Canada a foreign country provides for the transfer or exchange of a convicted and sentenced offender to the country of which the offender is a citizen or national, the commissioner may, with the written consent of such offender obtained only after the opportunity to consult with counsel, and in accordance with the terms of the treaty, consent to the transfer or exchange of any such offender and take any other action necessary to initiate the participation of the state in the treaty.

Sec. 4.  28 V.S.A. § 701a is amended to read:

§ 701a.  SOLITARY CONFINEMENT; SEGREGATION OF INMATES

               WITH A SERIOUS MENTAL HEALTH DISORDER ILLNESS

(a)  The commissioner shall promulgate adopt rules pursuant to chapter 25 of Title 3 regarding the classification, treatment, and maximum length of stay in solitary confinement segregation of an inmate with a serious mental illness as defined in subdivision 906(1) of this title; provided that the length of stay in segregation for an inmate with a serious mental illness:

(1)  Shall not exceed 15 days if the inmate is segregated for disciplinary reasons.

(2)  Shall not exceed 30 days if the inmate requested the segregation, except that the inmate may remain segregated for successive 30-day periods following assessment by a qualified mental health professional and approval of a physician for each extension.

(3)  Shall not exceed 30 days if the inmate is segregated for any reason other than the reasons set forth in subdivision (1) or (2) of this subsection, except that the inmate may remain segregated for successive 30-day periods following a due process hearing for each extension, which shall include assessment by a qualified mental health professional and approval of a physician.

(b)  On or before October 1, 2001, the agency of human services, department of corrections, shall enact an emergency rule implementing the directive of this section.  The emergency rule shall specifically address the obligations and responsibilities of the department of corrections relative to the solitary confinement of a male or female inmate with a serious mental illness as defined in section 906 of this title.  For purposes of this title, and despite other names this concept has been given in the past or may be given in the future, “segregation” means a form of separation from the general population which may or may not include placement in a single occupancy cell and which is used for disciplinary, administrative, or other reasons.

(c)  On or before the 15th day of each month, the department’s health services director shall provide to the joint legislative corrections oversight committee a report that, while protecting inmate confidentiality, lists each inmate who was in segregation during the preceding month by a unique indicator and identifies the reason the inmate was placed in segregation, the length of the inmate’s stay in segregation, whether the inmate has a serious mental illness, or is otherwise on the department's mental health roster, and, if so, the nature of the mental illness.  The report shall also indicate any incident of self harm or attempted suicide by inmates in segregation.  The committee chair shall ensure that a copy of the report is forwarded to the Vermont defender general and the executive director of Vermont Protection and Advocacy, Inc. on a monthly basis.

Sec. 5.  JOINT LEGISLATIVE CORRECTIONS OVERSIGHT

             COMMITTEE

During the 2006 interim, the joint legislative corrections oversight committee shall explore the current law and practices concerning the segregation of inmates, including inmates with a cognitive impairment and inmates with a serious mental illness or who are otherwise on the mental health roster.  The committee’s work shall include review of the process and standards by which the department, through hearings and other means, determines whether placement in segregation is appropriate for inmates with a serious mental illness, the qualifications of hearing officers, and the due process protections afforded by the hearings.  The committee shall also consider the incidence of self harm and attempted suicide by segregated inmates and the identification of alternative management techniques.  The committee shall also explore the current law and practices concerning transfers of inmates with mental conditions to out-of-state facilities.  On or before January 15, 2007, the committee shall present its analysis together with any related proposals for legislation to the house and senate committees on judiciary and the house committee on institutions.

Approved:  May 23, 2006



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us