Download this document in MS Word format


AutoFill Template

S.156

Introduced by Committee on Judiciary

Date:

Subject:  Corrections

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to reduce overcrowded conditions in state correctional facilities, decrease the state’s reliance on out-of-state prison beds, and enhance the department of corrections’ ability to perform its statutory objective of providing the “disciplined preparation of offenders for their responsible roles in the open community” through several initiatives, including ones addressing the minimum and maximum terms of confinement, graduated sanctions, deferred sentences, conditions of release, the parole board, work camps, and transitional housing.

AN ACT RELATING TO CORRECTIONS

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

Sec. 1.  FINDINGS

The general assembly finds that:

(1)  Even if the general assembly takes no action to reduce prison overcrowding by releasing additional offenders, thousands of inmates leave Vermont correctional facilities and reenter the community every year.  For example, during FY04, approximately 600,000 individuals were released from prisons in the United States and 10,000,000 were released from jails.  During that same period, Vermont released 4,875 incarcerated individuals back into the community.

(2)  It is crucial that decisions of the legislative, judicial, and executive branches aggressively advance the mission of the department of corrections to work with and gain the support of community members to achieve the successful reintegration of offenders into the community.

(3)  Although the total incidents of reported crime in Vermont have declined steadily since the early 1990s, the overall level of serious crime has remained fairly constant.  Drug-related offenses have quintupled during the last five years. 

(4)  The number of women arrested in Vermont increased 59 percent in seven years, rising from 3,774 arrests in 1995 to 5,966 arrests in 2002.   The number of women incarcerated in Vermont has increased from 29 inmates in 1995 to more than 140 today, most of whom are incarcerated for nonviolent substance-abuse-related offenses.

(5)  One of every five men in Vermont between the ages of 21 and 23 has been convicted of a criminal offense and sentenced to some form of supervision by the commissioner of corrections. 

(6)  The rate at which Vermont incarcerated individuals convicted of crimes more than doubled in a ten-year period, rising from a daily average of 989 in FY95 to a daily average of 1,992 in FY04.  In one generation, the average number of individuals incarcerated on any one day rose from 559 (in FY85) to 1,992 (in FY04).

(7)  The cost of housing and supervising incarcerated individuals in Vermont more than doubled during the same period, increasing from $44 million in FY95 to $98 million in FY04.  The FY04 figure was more than 6‑1/2 times the cost of housing and supervising the incarcerated population in FY85, when that expense was $15 million.

(8)  The growth in available corrections beds has not kept pace with the growth of Vermont’s sentenced and detained population, and the state has been forced to transfer inmates to facilities outside Vermont.  Despite the addition of 350 corrections beds at the newly-opened Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield, an average of 429 offenders was housed in an out‑of‑state correctional facility on any given day between July 1, 2004 and March 15, 2005.

(9)  The number of offenders released to the community under the supervision of the commissioner of corrections has doubled in the last ten years.  On a typical day in 2004, 12,372 Vermonters were living in the community under some form of supervision of the commissioner.  Of that number, 849 individuals were on conditional reentry status, 888 were on preapproved furlough, 795 had been released on parole, 73 had received a supervised community sentence, and 9,767 were on probation.

(10)  The number of offenders convicted of violent felonies (such as sexual assault, domestic assault, aggravated assault, and other felonies against persons) who are supervised in the community has increased by 33 percent during the last eight years, rising from 984 in FY96 to 1,317 in FY04. 

(11)  The number of correctional officers supervising offenders in the community has not kept pace with the growth in supervisees, increasing only 67 percent since 1993.

(12)  The number of individuals detained pending resolution of criminal charges increased by 300 percent between FY93 and FY03.  As of June 30, 2004, detainees represented 382 of the 2,033 individuals incarcerated in and out of state.  Pretrial detainees occupy 24 percent of the approximately 1,600 corrections beds available in state.

(13)  On a typical day in 2004, approximately 130 inmates who had served their minimum sentence and were otherwise eligible for release into the community remained incarcerated because of their inability to obtain suitable housing, resulting in an annual cost of at least $2,275,000 to house other offenders in out-of-state facilities.

(14)  In its report dated August 19, 2004, the governor’s commission on corrections overcrowding determined that the above trends, if continued, will:

(A)  Likely cause the state to increase its reliance on out-of-state prison beds or to build more correctional facilities within Vermont.

(B)  Result in unsustainable spending to provide adequate space for and supervision of offenders;

(C)  Compromise the state’s ability to provide humane and enlightened services and ensure safe and secure correctional facilities and communities.

(15)  The total capital costs of siting the Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield were $34,600,000.00.

(16)  In its August 19, 2004 report, the governor’s commission on corrections overcrowding also determined that the overcrowded conditions in state correctional facilities and the increased use of the facilities for pretrial detainees have:

(A)  Compromised the department’s statutory mission.

(B)  Increased personal danger to inmates and staff.

(C)  Caused unacceptable hardship for offenders and families of offenders who are in out-of-state institutions.

(D)  Resulted in excessive and out-of-control cost at the expense of other worthy governmental efforts.

(E)  Disrupted the reasonable and well-designed program of treatment by the thoughtful integration of offenders into the community upon completion of their sentences.

(F)  Resulted in unhealthy and unwholesome practices in the correctional facilities.

(G)  Damaged staff morale.

(H)  Contributed to the death of inmates.

(I)  Resulted in public dissatisfaction and decreased credibility for the department of corrections and the entire criminal justice system.

(J)  Prohibited a range of palliative programs from being applied efficiently or effectively, which results in the loss of important opportunities to assist inmates to achieve necessary personal change and which, in turn, adds to the already remarkable cost of the corrections system.

(17)  In its report dated August 19, 2004, the governor’s commission on corrections overcrowding recommended a range of solutions to reduce overcrowding, including the provision of grants to communities and private organizations to help establish supervised transitional housing and the creation of alternatives to incarceration for many of the state’s female offenders.

(18)  It is crucial that the number of trained correctional field staff be increased prior to the release of additional inmates into the community, and that offenders be released at a rate that permits adequate supervision, both to ensure community safety and to support successful reintegration of each offender. 

(19)  At least one-half of all savings realized from the reduction in the incarcerated population should be dedicated to providing offenders necessary support within the community, including the provision of additional correctional field staff, transitional housing, and educational and other services necessary for successful reintegration.

(20)  It is equally imperative both that the three regional facilities be used for their intended function as reintegration facilities for offenders preparing for imminent reentry into the community and that prisoners housed in out-of-state facilities be brought home to Vermont.

(21)  In its August 19, 2004 report, the governor’s commission on corrections overcrowding cogently stated:  “The problem [in corrections] has grown over two decades and has greatly accelerated in the last 4 years.  The problem is now to the point where solutions required must be bold in order to have a noticeable impact.  Marginal and incremental changes are welcome and will over time help, but they must be anchored by actions that are significant enough that change is real and substantial.”


* * * Gain Time * * *

Sec. 2.  REDUCTIONS OF TERM

(a)  Retrospective award.  Except as provided in subsection (d) of this section, each individual in the custody of the commissioner of corrections who is serving a term of incarceration at a correctional facility on July 1, 2005 shall be awarded on July 1, 2005 all reductions in the minimum and maximum terms to which that inmate is entitled as of the end of the day on June 30, 2005, consistent with those provisions of 28 V.S.A. § 811 that were in force when the inmate’s crime was committed.

(b)  Prospective award; selection of system.

(1)  Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, and except as provided in subsections (c) and (d) of this section, each individual in the custody of the commissioner of corrections who, subsequent to June 30, 2005, is serving a term of incarceration at a correctional facility for a crime committed on or before June 30, 2005, shall irrevocably select one of the following options for purposes of calculating reductions in that inmate’s term of confinement subsequent to June 30, 2005:

(A)  On and after July 1, 2005, the inmate shall be entitled to further reductions in his or her minimum term of confinement pursuant to the terms of 28 V.S.A. § 811 as amended by this act; or

(B)  On and after July 1, 2005, the inmate shall prospectively be awarded all reductions in the minimum and maximum terms of confinement to which that inmate would potentially be entitled in the future under the system that was in place at the time his or her crime was committed.

(2)  The department of corrections shall take all steps necessary to ensure that each inmate covered by this subsection:

(A) Who is serving a term of incarceration at a correctional facility on July 1, 2005 shall, on or before that date, notify the commissioner of corrections in writing of his or her selection under subdivision (1) of this subsection.

(B)  Who is serving a term of incarceration at a correctional facility that begins subsequent to July 1, 2005 shall, within 30 days subsequent to the first day of his or her term of incarceration, notify the commissioner of corrections in writing of his or her selection under subdivision (1) of this subsection.

(c)  Prospective award; no election of system. 

(1)  Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, each individual convicted of a crime listed in 28 V.S.A. § 811(d) as amended by this act who is in the custody of the commissioner of corrections subsequent to June 30, 2005 and who is serving a term of incarceration at a correctional facility for a crime committed on or before June 30, 2005, shall prospectively be awarded all reductions in the minimum and maximum terms of confinement to which that inmate would potentially be entitled in the future under the system that was in place at the time his or her crime was committed. 

(2)  Each inmate under this subsection who is serving a term of incarceration at a correctional facility on July 1, 2005 shall have this calculation performed and the reduction awarded on July 1, 2005.  Each inmate under this subsection whose term of incarceration begins subsequent to July 1, 2005 shall have this calculation performed and the reduction awarded within 30 days subsequent to the first day of his or her term of incarceration.

(d)  Prospective award; Caledonia Community Work Camp.  Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, each individual in the custody of the commissioner of corrections who, subsequent to June 30, 2005, is serving a term of incarceration at the Caledonia Community Work Camp for a crime committed on or before June 30, 2005, shall be entitled to a reduction in the minimum and maximum terms of confinement pursuant to 28 V.S.A. § 811(e) as amended by this act for all time served at the camp on or after

July 1, 2005.

Sec. 3.  28 V.S.A. § 811 is amended to read:

§ 811.  REDUCTION OF TERM FOR GOOD BEHAVIOR; GAIN TIME

(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 maximum 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 maximum 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 maximum 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 maximum term of confinement allowable for the program opportunity denied the inmate.

(d)  Work camps.  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 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)  At least once monthly, each inmate committed to the custody of the commissioner shall be entitled to see his or her permanent file which shall record any reduction in the maximum term of confinement.  If the inmate is not awarded the maximum allowable reduction in the maximum term of confinement in any given month, a written explanation for the denial of such reduction shall be included in the inmate’s file.  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.

(h)  Where the sentence is the unsuspended portion of a sentence imposed under subsection 205(a) of this title, it shall be treated as the minimum term of the entire sentence for purposes of this section.

(a)  Except as provided in subsections (d) and (e) of this section, 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 term of confinement for each month served in the correctional facility during which the inmate has complied with the case plan prepared pursuant to subsection (b) of this title.

(b)  This section applies only while an offender is committed to the custody of the commissioner and is housed within a correctional facility and in no case while the inmate is on probation, parole, or on supervised community service.

(c)  Where the sentence is the unsuspended portion of a sentence imposed under subsection 205(a) of this title, it shall be treated as the minimum term of the entire sentence for purposes of this section.

(d)  This section shall not apply to persons convicted of one or more of the following crimes:

(1)  Arson causing death as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 501;

(2)  Assault and robbery with a dangerous weapon as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 608(b);

(3)  Assault and robbery causing bodily injury as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 608(c);

(4)  Aggravated assault as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 1024;

(5)  Murder as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 2301;

(6)  Manslaughter as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 2304;

(7)  Kidnapping as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 2405;

(8)  Unlawful restraint as defined in 13 V.S.A. §§ 2406 and 2407;

(9)  Maiming as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 2701;

(10)  Sexual assault as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 3252(a)(1) or (2);

(11)  Aggravated sexual assault as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 3253; or

(12)  Burglary into an occupied dwelling as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 1201(c).

(e)  Work camps.  Notwithstanding subsections (a) through (d) of this section, a reduction of up to one day off the minimum and maximum terms of confinement for every one day served in the work camp may be made in accordance with a policy established by the director of the 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. 

Sec. 4.  28 V.S.A. § 808(a)(8) is added to read:

§ 808.  FURLOUGHS GRANTED TO OFFENDERS AND INMATES;

            MEDICAL FURLOUGH

(a)  The department may extend the limits of the place of confinement of an inmate at any correctional facility if the inmate agrees to comply with such conditions of supervision the department, in its sole discretion, deems appropriate for that inmate’s furlough.  The department may authorize furlough for any of the following reasons:

***

(8)  To prepare for reentry into the community, any offender sentenced to serve a minimum term of fewer than two years may be furloughed to the community up to 90 days prior to the completion of the minimum sentence, in accordance with rules adopted by the commissioner based on factors of risk of reoffense, history of violent behavior, history of compliance with community supervision, and progress in treatment programs designed to reduce criminal risk.  Persons who are sentenced to a minimum term of fewer than 90 days shall serve the term without reduction.  Persons sentenced to minimum terms of at least 91 days but fewer than 180 days shall serve no fewer than 90 days.

* * * Graduated Sanctions * * *

Sec. 5.  28 V.S.A. § 304 is amended to read:

§ 304.  DISPOSITION ALTERNATIVES UPON VIOLATION OF

            PROBATION

(a)  If a violation is established by a proceeding conducted in accordance with section 302 of this title, the court may, in its discretion, revoke probation and require the probationer to serve the sentence which was suspended or order that the sentence be served in the community pursuant to the provisions of chapter 6 of this title.

(b)  As an alternative to revocation and imposition of sentence as provided in subsection (a) of this section, the court, in its discretion, after a violation has been established, may:

(1)  Continue the probationer on the existing sentence; or

(2)  Effect, in accordance with subsection 253(b) of this title, necessary or desirable changes or enlargements in the conditions of probation; or

(3)  Conduct a formal or informal conference with the probationer in order to reemphasize to him or her the necessity of compliance with the conditions of probation; or

(4)  Issue a formal or informal warning to the probationer that further violations may result in revocation of probation by the court.; or

(5)  Continue the probationer on the existing sentence, but require the probationer to serve any portion of the sentence.

(c)  Prior to ordering either revocation or an alternative sanction for a violation of probation in accordance with subsection (b) of this section, the court shall give consideration to sanction guidelines established by the department of corrections pursuant to subsection (e) of this section.

(d)  No plea agreement shall limit the court’s discretion under this section.

(e)  The department of corrections shall adopt rules that establish graduated sanction guidelines for probation violations as an alternative to revocation and imposition of the original sentence.  These guidelines shall be advisory to the court and do not grant the department any authority to impose sanctions for probation violations.

* * * Deferred Sentences * * *

Sec. 6.  13 V.S.A. § 7041 is amended to read:

§ 7041.  DEFERRED SENTENCE

(a)  Upon an adjudication of guilt and after the filing of a presentence investigation report, the court may defer sentencing and place the respondent on probation upon such terms and conditions as it may require if a written agreement concerning the deferring of sentence is entered into between the state’s attorney and the respondent and filed with the clerk of the court. 

(b)  Notwithstanding subsection (a) of this section, the court may defer sentencing and place the respondent on probation without a written agreement between the state’s attorney and the respondent if the following conditions are met:

(1)  the respondent is under the age of 22;

(2)  the crime for which the respondent is being sentenced is not a listed crime as defined in subdivision 5301(7) of this title;

(3)  the court orders a presentence investigation in accordance with the procedures set forth in Rule 32 of the Vermont Rules of Criminal Procedure, unless the state’s attorney agrees to waive the presentence investigation;

(4)  the court permits the victim to submit a written or oral statement concerning the consideration of deferment of sentence;

(5)  the court reviews the presentence investigation and the victim’s impact statement with the parties; and 

(6)  the court determines that deferring sentence is in the interest of justice.

(c)  Entry of deferment of sentence shall constitute an appealable judgment for purposes of appeal in accordance with sections 2381-2390 section 2383 of Title 12 and Rule 3 of the Vermont Rules of Appellate Procedure.  Except as otherwise provided, entry of deferment of sentence shall constitute imposition of sentence solely for the purpose of sentence review in accordance with section 7042 of this titleThereafter the court may impose sentence at any time within five years from and after the date of entry of deferment  The court may impose sentence at any time if the respondent violates the conditions of the deferred sentence during the period of deferment.

(b)(d)  Upon violation of the terms of probation or of the deferred sentence agreement, the court shall impose sentence.  Upon fulfillment of the terms of probation and of the deferred sentence agreement, the court shall strike the adjudication of guilt and discharge the respondent.  Upon discharge, the record of the criminal proceedings shall be expunged as if an application pursuant to section 5538 of Title 33 had been granted, except that the record shall not be expunged until restitution has been paid in full, absent a finding of good cause by the court.

(c)(e)  A deferred sentence imposed under subsection (a) or (b) of this section may include a restitution order issued pursuant to section 7043 of this title.  Nonpayment of restitution shall not constitute grounds for imposition of the underlying sentence.

* * * Conditions of Release * * *

Sec. 7.  13 V.S.A. § 7554(a) is amended to read:

§ 7554.  RELEASE PRIOR TO TRIAL

(a)  Any person charged with an offense, other than a person held without bail under section 7553 or 7553a of this title, shall at his or her appearance before a judicial officer be ordered released pending trial in accordance with this section.

(1)  The person shall be ordered released on personal recognizance or upon the execution of an unsecured appearance bond in an amount specified by the judicial officer unless the judicial officer determines that such a release will not reasonably assure the appearance of the person as required. In determining whether the person presents a risk of nonappearance, the judicial officer shall consider, in addition to any other factors, the seriousness of the offense charged and the number of offenses with which the person is charged.  If the officer determines that such a release will not reasonably assure the appearance of the person as required, the officer shall, either in lieu of or in addition to the above methods of release, impose the least restrictive of the following conditions or the least restrictive combination of the following conditions which will reasonably assure the appearance of the person as required:

(A)  Place the person in the custody of a designated person or organization agreeing to supervise him or her.

(B)  Place restrictions on the travel, association or place of abode of the person during the period of release.

(C)  Require the person to participate in an alcohol or drug treatment program.  The judicial officer shall take into consideration the defendant’s ability to comply with an order of treatment and the availability of treatment resources.

(D)  Require the execution of a secured appearance bond in a specified amount and the deposit with the clerk of the court, in cash or other security as directed, of a sum not to exceed ten percent of the amount of the bond, such deposit to be returned upon the appearance of the person as required.

(D)(E)  Require the execution of a surety bond with sufficient solvent sureties, or the deposit of cash in lieu thereof.

(E)(F)  Require the deposit with the clerk of court of cash bail in a specified amount.

(F)(G)  Impose any other condition found reasonably necessary to assure appearance as required, including a condition requiring that the person return to custody after specified hours.

(2)  If the judicial officer determines that conditions of release imposed to assure appearance will not reasonably protect the public, the judicial officer may in addition impose the least restrictive of the following conditions or the least restrictive combination of the following conditions which will reasonably assure protection of the public:

(A)  Place the person in the custody of a designated person or organization agreeing to supervise him or her.

(B)  Place restrictions on the travel, association, or place of abode of the person during the period of release.

(C)  Require the person to participate in an alcohol or drug treatment program.  The judicial officer shall take into consideration the defendant’s ability to comply with an order of treatment and the availability of treatment resources.

(D)  Impose any other condition found reasonably necessary to protect the public, except that a physically restrictive condition may only be imposed in extraordinary circumstances.

(3)  A judicial officer may order that a defendant not harass or cause to be harassed a victim or potential witness.  This order shall take effect immediately, regardless of whether the defendant is incarcerated or released.

* * *

* * * Parole Board Membership * * *

Sec. 8.  28 V.S.A. § 451 is amended to read:

§ 451.  CREATION OF BOARD

(a)  A parole board of five 12 members is created.  The governor, with the advice and consent of the senate, shall appoint five regular the members and two alternates for terms of three years in such a manner that no more than three terms shall expire annually.  Initial terms may be less than three years.  Each member and alternate shall hold office until a successor is appointed and qualified.  The governor shall designate the board’s chair and vice chair.  As far as practicable, the governor shall appoint as members persons who have knowledge of and experience in correctional treatment, crime prevention or human relations, and shall give consideration, as far as practicable, to geographic representation of the state.  The chair or the executive director may assign alternates to serve on the board in the absence of a regular member and such alternates shall have all the powers and authority of a regular member when so assigned.

(b)  Three Seven members of the board shall constitute a quorum for the conduct of a meeting of the entire board.  Three members shall constitute a quorum when the board is acting through a three member subcommittee pursuant to subsection 502(g) of this title.  Notwithstanding section 172 of Title 1, the concurrence of a majority of members present at a parole board meeting shall be necessary and sufficient for board action.

(c)  The chair of the parole board shall be entitled to compensation in the amount of $13,000.00 $20,500.00 annually effective on the pay period beginning June 12, 2005, which shall be in lieu of any per diem otherwise authorized by law and which shall be increased every two years according to the increases bargained for by the Vermont state employees association for classified state employees.  If the vice chair assumes the duties of the chair for a period in excess of 30 consecutive days, the compensation otherwise payable to the chair during his or her absence shall be paid to the vice chair.

Sec. 9.  28 V.S.A. § 502(g) is added to read:

§ 502.  PAROLE INTERVIEWS AND REVIEWS

* * *

(g)  For each inmate eligible for parole consideration, the chair shall assign subcommittees of three members of the board, which may or may not include the chair, which shall have all power and authority of the full board, and which shall perform the duties required of the board by this subchapter.  Actions of a subcommittee are binding and enforceable only if made by unanimous vote of that subcommittee.

* * * Director of Parole Board * * *

Sec. 10.  PAROLE BOARD EXECUTIVE OFFICER; REDESIGNATION OF

               POSITION

Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the General Assembly authorizes and directs the redesignation, effective July 1, 2005, of the following classified position as an exempt position:  one (1) Parole Board Executive Officer, which shall be known after redesignation as the Parole Board Director.

Sec. 11.  28 V.S.A. § 455 is added to read:

§ 455.  DIRECTOR

(a)  The position of parole board director is created.  The director shall be appointed by the governor after consultation with the board. 

(b)  The director shall serve for a term of two years commencing on March 1 of each odd-numbered year and continuing until his or her successor is appointed.

(c)  The director shall be exempt from classified state service.

(d)  The secretary of human services, in consultation with the parole board and the department of human resources, shall establish the minimum and preferred qualifications, duties, and compensation of the director.

* * * Parole Board; Recommendations; Reports * * *

Sec. 12.  PAROLE BOARD; RECOMMENDED ACTIONS; REPORTS

(a)  The secretary of human services, in consultation with the chair of the parole board, shall:

(1)  Revise the interim parole board manual dated November 1, 1997 to provide the parole board, its staff, and the department of corrections with necessary guidance to perform parole-related duties. 

(2)  Develop guidelines to assist the board to make consistent, empirically based decisions.

(3)  Develop training and orientation for parole board members and staff concerning board policies and procedures.

(4)  Ensure that all parole board members and staff engage in training programs conducted by entities such as the Association of Paroling Authorities, International (APAI) and the American Probation and Parole Association (APPA).

(b)  On or before January 15, 2006, the secretary of human services shall report to the senate and house committees on judiciary and institutions and the joint legislative corrections oversight committee concerning implementation of this section.

(c)  The chair of the parole board, in consultation with the defender general and the commissioner of corrections, shall review and evaluate the effectiveness of the three-member subcommittees created under Sec. 9 of this act during the first year of the subcommittees’ existence.  The chair of the  parole board or the chair’s designee shall report the results of this evaluation to the joint legislative corrections oversight committee at the first meeting of that committee held subsequent to July 1, 2006.

* * * Work Camps * * *

Sec. 13.  MINIMUM SECURITY RESTORATIVE JUSTICE FACILITIES

For any new minimum security restorative justice facility (“new facility”) for which capital funds are appropriated on or before June 31, 2007, regardless of whether the new facility is constructed and operated pursuant to the Caledonia community work camp model or otherwise, the following shall apply:

(1)  Only those offenders who have served a portion of their current sentence within a correctional facility shall be eligible to be confined within the new facility.  No court shall impose a sentence of imprisonment to be served initially or solely within the new facility. 

(2)  Any offender confined in the new facility shall be eligible to earn reductions in minimum and maximum terms of confinement pursuant to 28 V.S.A. § 811(e) as amended by this act.  Offenders shall not be eligible for reductions under subsection (e) for any time served within another facility while waiting for space to be available in the new facility.

* * * Transitional Housing * * *

Sec. 14.  TRANSITIONAL HOUSING FOR OFFENDERS

As part of its overall strategy to ensure that offenders have suitable housing and transitional housing upon release into the community following a term of incarceration, the department of corrections shall explore the creation of partnerships and other relationships with a wide variety of community organizations, which may include faith-based organizations.

* * * Departmental Mission; Reintegration Plan * * *

Sec. 15.  28 V.S.A. § 1(b) is amended to read:

(b)  The department shall formulate its programs and policies recognizing that almost all criminal offenders ultimately return to the community, and that the traditional institutional prisons fail to reform or rehabilitate, operating instead to increase the risk of continued criminal acts following release.  The department shall strive to develop and implement a comprehensive program which will provide necessary closed custodial confinement of frequent, dangerous offenders, but which also will establish as its primary objective the disciplined preparation of offenders for their responsible roles in the open community.  The department shall ensure that the comprehensive program required by this subsection includes a process by which each offender sentenced to any term of imprisonment other than for life without parole, within 30 days after receiving his or her sentence, shall begin to develop and implement a plan preparing for return to the community.

* * * Corrections Oversight Committee * * *

Sec. 16.  REPEAL

Secs. 170d and 170e of No. 142 of the Acts of the 2001 Adj. Sess. (2002) (joint legislative corrections oversight committee) are repealed.

Sec. 17.  2 V.S.A. chapter 22 is added to read:

Chapter 22.  Joint Legislative Corrections

Oversight Committee

§ 801.  CREATION OF COMMITTEE

(a)  There is created a joint legislative corrections oversight committee whose membership shall be appointed each biennial session of the general assembly.  The committee shall exercise oversight over the department of corrections and work with and provide assistance to other legislative committees on matters related to corrections policies.

(b)  The committee shall be composed of eight members:  four members of the house of representatives, who shall not all be from the same party, appointed by the speaker of the house; and four members of the senate, who shall not all be from the same party, appointed by the committee on committees.  In addition to one member-at-large appointed from each chamber, one appointment shall be made from each of the following house and senate committees:  appropriations, judiciary, and institutions.

(c)  The committee shall elect a chair, vice chair, and clerk from among its members and shall adopt rules of procedure.  The chairmanship shall rotate biennially between the house and the senate members.  The committee shall keep minutes of its meetings and maintain a file thereof.  A quorum shall consist of five members.

(d)  When the general assembly is in session, the committee shall meet at the call of the chair.  The committee may meet four times during adjournment, and may meet more often subject to approval of the speaker of the house and the president pro tempore of the senate.

(e)  For attendance at a meeting when the general assembly is not in session, members of the committee shall be entitled to compensation for services and reimbursement of expenses as provided under subsection 406(a) of this title.

(f)  The professional and clerical services of the joint fiscal office and the legislative council shall be available to the committee.

§ 802.  DUTIES

(a)  In addition to the general responsibilities set forth in subsection 801(a) of this title, the committee shall:

(1)  Review and make recommendations regarding the department of corrections’ strategic, operating, and capital plans.

(2)  Review and make recommendations to the house and senate committees on appropriations regarding departmental budget proposals.

(3)  Provide general oversight on departmental policy development.

(4)  Encourage improved communication between the department and other relevant components of the administrative branch and the criminal justice system.

(b)  At least annually, the committee shall report its activities, together with recommendations, if any, to the general assembly.

* * * Effective Dates * * *

Sec. 18.  EFFECTIVE DATES

(a)  Secs. 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 13, 14, and 15 of this act shall take effect July 1, 2005.

(b)  Sec. 2 shall take effect July 1, 2005, except that subsection 2(b) shall take effect on passage.

(c)  Secs. 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 16, 17, and this section shall take effect on passage.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us