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BILL AS INTRODUCED 2007-2008

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S.97

Introduced by Senator Sears of Bennington District

Referred to Committee on

Date:

Subject:  Public institutions and corrections; supervision of adult inmates at the correctional facilities

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to make a number of changes to laws governing inmates at correctional facilities.  The bill:

(1)  clarifies the term “offered to the general public” in the Public Accommodations Act to exclude services offered to individuals in the custody of law enforcement or the department of corrections;

(2)  updates the crime of disturbing the peace by telephone or other electronic communications to include use of the mail system; and

(3)  establishes new laws restricting communications among inmates in the custody and control of the department of corrections.

AN ACT RELATING TO CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES

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


Sec. 1.  9 V.S.A. § 4501 is amended to read:

§ 4501.  DEFINITIONS

As used in this chapter:

(1)  “Place of public accommodation” means any school, restaurant, store, establishment or other facility at which services, facilities, goods, privileges, advantages, benefits, or accommodations are offered to the general public.

* * *

(8)  “Public accommodation” means an individual, organization, governmental, or other entity that owns, leases, leases to, or operates a place of public accommodation.

* * *

(11)  “Offered to the general public” means made commonly available to individuals through places of public accommodation.  This term does not extend to those services, facilities, goods, privileges, advantages, benefits, or accommodations offered to persons who have been arrested, incarcerated, or legally detained.  Nor does it extend to those services offered to individuals in the custody or under the supervision of the commissioner of the department of corrections.


Sec. 2.  13 V.S.A. § 1027 is amended to read:

§ 1027.  DISTURBING PEACE BY USE OF MAIL, TELEPHONE, OR
 OTHER ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS

(a)  A person who, with intent to terrify, intimidate, threaten, harass, or annoy, makes contact by means of a telephonic mail, telephone, or other electronic communication with another and (i) makes any request, suggestion, or proposal which is obscene, lewd, lascivious, or indecent; (ii) threatens to inflict injury or physical harm to the person or property of any person; or (iii) disturbs, or attempts to disturb, by repeated anonymous mailings, telephone calls, or other electronic communications, whether or not conversation ensues, the peace, quiet, or right of privacy of any person at the place where the communication or communications are received shall be fined not more than $250.00 or be imprisoned not more than three months or both.  If the defendant has previously been convicted of a violation of this section or of an offense under the laws of another state or of the United States which would have been an offense under this act if committed in this state, the defendant shall be fined not more than $500.00 or imprisoned for not more than six months, or both.

(b)  An intent to terrify, threaten, harass, or annoy may be inferred by the trier of fact from the use of obscene, lewd, lascivious, or indecent language or the making of a threat or statement or repeated anonymous mailings, telephone calls or other electronic communications as set forth in this section and any trial court may in its discretion include a statement to this effect in its jury charge.

(c)  An offense committed by use of a mail, telephone, or other electronic communication device as set forth in this section shall be considered to have been committed at either the place where the telephone call or calls originated or at the place where the mailings, communication or communications, or calls were received.

Sec. 3.  28 V.S.A. § 802 is amended to read:

§ 802.  CORRESPONDENCE OF INMATES

(a)  Any authorized employee of any correctional facility shall have the right to inspect all correspondence by or to inmates of the facility.  The employee shall have the right to withhold and prevent the transmission of material intended to be sent through the mails by or to an inmate if the material is contraband as defined by the rules of the facility or constitutes a clear and present danger to the security of the facility.

(b)  Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, any correspondence from an inmate to any public official of the state or of the United States, shall not be impeded in its transmission, nor shall it be inspected, opened, copied, duplicated, photographed, or examined in any way.

(c)  An inmate shall not correspond through the mail with another inmate committed to the custody and supervision of the department of corrections, whether in the same facility or in a different facility, except as follows:

(1)  To communicate with immediate family members who are inmates also in the custody and supervision of the department of corrections, subject to the prior approval of the superintendent or the superintendent’s designee.

(2)  To communicate with other inmates where the inmate’s classification or treatment team deems the correspondence in the best interests of both parties.

(3)  To communicate with another inmate regarding legal matters, so long as the superintendent or his or her designee knows the second inmate customarily offers legal advice to other inmates.

(4)  To correspond with other inmates, so long as the correspondence has been approved by the superintendent or the superintendent’s designee at his or her sole discretion.

(d)  Negative contact list.

(1)  Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, an inmate shall not correspond with any individual on the department of corrections’ negative contact list.

(2)  An individual may be added to the negative contact list by notifying the department of corrections in writing that he or she does not wish to receive any communications from a particular inmate or group of inmates.

(3)  A parent or authorized legal guardian of a minor may add the minor child to the negative contact list by notifying the department of corrections in writing that he or she does not wish the minor child to receive any communication from a particular inmate or group of inmates.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us