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BILL AS PASSED HOUSE AND SENATE 2007-2008

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H.859

AN ACT RELATING TO INCREASING SUBSTANCE ABUSE TREATMENT, VOCATIONAL TRAINING, AND TRANSITIONAL HOUSING FOR OFFENDERS IN ORDER TO REDUCE RECIDIVISM, INCREASE PUBLIC SAFETY, AND REDUCE CORRECTIONS COSTS

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

Sec. 1.  FINDINGS AND INTENT

(a)  The general assembly finds that:

(1)  Vermont’s incarcerated population is growing at an unsustainable rate.

(2)  Property and drug offenders are the fastest growing segment of the prison population.  Between 2000 and 2006, over one-half the increase in the felony prison population was due to property and substance abuse offenses.

(3)  Seventy-seven percent of those sentenced for a property or drug felony have a substance abuse disorder.  Two-thirds of them report having received mental health treatment in the past.  Fifty-five percent report being frequently unemployed prior to incarceration.

(4)  Of those incarcerated for a property or drug felony, only 13 percent are receiving treatment.

(b)  The general assembly further finds that:

(1)  Each month, approximately 70 inmates meet the criteria for reentering the community under the supervision of the commissioner of corrections on conditional reentry status.  However, almost one-half are not released because of insufficient housing options.

(2)  Studies show that the length of sentences served by offenders does not affect their recidivism rates.  Therefore, current law authorizes the commissioner of corrections to release certain offenders on reintegration furlough 90 days prior to the minimum sentence date.  However, on average, eligible inmates serve only 53 days on reintegration furlough status.  If all those who are eligible serve the full 90 days of reintegration status, the result could be a savings of up to 90 corrections beds.

(c)  The general assembly intends:

(1)  to reduce recidivism, increase public safety, and reduce the cost to the state of incarcerating offenders by increasing substance abuse treatment services, vocational training, and transitional housing available to offenders, and by establishing processes for reducing incarceration time when appropriate; and

(2)  that the provisions of this act are a long-range plan to guide expenditures from additional corrections savings in future years.

Sec. 2.  28 V.S.A. § 102(b) is amended to read:

(b)  The commissioner is charged with the following powers:

* * *

(5)  To order the assignment and transfer of persons committed to the custody of the commissioner to correctional facilities, including out-of-state facilities.

* * *

Sec. 3.  28 V.S.A. § 202 is amended to read:

§ 202.  POWERS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE COMMISSIONER

            REGARDING PROBATION

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

(1)  To maintain general supervision of persons placed on probation, and to prescribe rules and regulations, consistent with any orders of the court, governing the conduct of such persons;

(2)  To supervise the administration of probation services and establish policies and standards and make rules and regulations regarding probation investigation, supervision, case work and case loads, record keeping, and the qualification of probation officers;

(3)  To use electronic monitoring equipment such as global position monitoring, automated voice recognition telephone equipment, and transdermal alcohol monitoring equipment to enable more effective or efficient supervision of individuals placed on probation.  Transdermal alcohol monitoring equipment shall be used for such purposes as discouraging persons whose licenses have been suspended for DUI from operating motor vehicles on Vermont highways.   

Sec. 4.  28 V.S.A. § 205(c) is added to read:

(c)(1)  Unless the court in its discretion finds that the interests of justice require additional standard and special conditions of probation, when the court orders a specific term of probation for a qualifying offense, the offender shall be placed on administrative probation, which means that the only conditions of probation shall be that the probationer:

(A)  register with the department of corrections’ probation and parole office in his or her district;

(B)  notify the probation officer of his or her current address each month;

(C)  within 72 hours, notify the department of corrections if probable cause is found for a criminal offense during the term of probation; and

(D)  not be convicted of a criminal offense during the term of probation.

(2)  As used in this subsection, “qualifying offense” means:

(A)  Unlawful mischief under 13 V.S.A. § 3701.

(B)  Retail theft under 13 V.S.A. §§ 2575 and 2577.

(C)  Operating after suspension or revocation of license under 23 V.S.A. § 674(a).

(D)  Bad checks under 13 V.S.A. § 2022.

(E)  Theft of services under 13 V.S.A. § 2582.

(F)  Disorderly conduct under 13 V.S.A. § 1026, unless the original charge was a listed offense as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 5301(7).

(G)  Theft of rented property under 13 V.S.A. § 2591.

(H)  Operation without consent of owner under 23 V.S.A. § 1094(a).

(I)  Petit larceny under 13 V.S.A. § 2502.

(J)  Negligent operation of a motor vehicle under 23 V.S.A.

§ 1091(a).

(K)  False reports to law enforcement under 13 V.S.A. § 1754.

(L)  Setting fires under 13 V.S.A. § 508.

(M)  A first offense of a minor’s misrepresenting age, procuring, possessing, or consuming liquors under 7 V.S.A. § 657.

(N)  Simple assault by mutual consent under 13 V.S.A. § 1023(b) unless the original charge was a listed offense as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 5301(7).

(O)  Unlawful trespass under 13 V.S.A. § 3705(a).

(P)  A first offense of possession under 18 V.S.A. § 4230(a)(1).

(3)  Nothing in this subsection shall prohibit a court from requiring participation in the restorative justice program established in chapter 12 of this title.

Sec. 5.  28 V.S.A. § 252(b) is amended and (d) is added to read:

(b)  When imposing a sentence of probation, the court may, as a condition of probation, require that the offender:

* * *

(16)  Satisfy any other conditions reasonably related to his or her rehabilitation.  The court shall not impose a condition prohibiting the offender from engaging in any legal behavior unless the condition is reasonably related to the offender’s rehabilitation or necessary to reduce risk to public safety.

(d)  The commissioner shall review the record of each probationer serving a specified term during the month prior to the midpoint of that probationer’s specified term and may file a motion requesting the sentencing court to dismiss the probationer from probation or deduct a portion of the specified term from the period of probation if the offender has successfully completed a program or has attained a goal or goals specified by the conditions of probation.  The commissioner may include in the motion a request that the court deduct a portion of the specified term for each condition completed or goal attained. Any motion under this section shall be made pursuant to a rule adopted by the commissioner under 3 V.S.A. chapter 25 which shall provide that the decision to make or refrain from making a motion shall be made at the sole discretion of the commissioner and shall not be subject to appeal.


Sec. 6.  28 V.S.A. § 105 is added to read:

§ 105.  CASELOAD CAPACITY

(a)  Corrections officers designated to work exclusively with offenders in the community who are 21 years of age and younger shall have caseloads of no more than 25 youths.

(b)  The department shall review the severity of offenses and assess the risk to reoffend of all offenders older than 21 years of age under its jurisdiction in the community and assign one of the following levels of supervision to each offender: 

(1)  Risk management supervision, which shall mean supervision at a level of intensity that includes case planning and measures to reduce risk of reoffense.

(2)  Response supervision, which shall mean monitoring of the offender’s compliance with conditions of probation or parole, including staff responding to violation behavior.

(3)  Administrative supervision, which shall mean monitoring of the offender’s address and compliance with the law. 

(c)  An offender may be reassigned to a lower supervision level after a reassessment of the offender’s risk.

(d)  The department shall establish the following caseload ranges for offender profiles:

(1)  All listed offenders requiring risk management shall be supervised at no more than 45 offenders per corrections officer.

(2)  All nonlisted offenders requiring risk management shall be supervised at no more than 60 offenders per corrections officer.

(3)  All offenders requiring response supervision shall be supervised at no more than 150 offenders per corrections officer.

(4)  All offenders requiring administrative supervision may be supervised on caseloads consistent with the capacity of automated status reporting systems as established by the department.

(5)  When there is a mixed profile caseload in which a single corrections officer supervises offenders with different supervision levels and at least one‑third of the offenders require a more intensive supervision demand than the other offenders, the caseload shall be supervised at the lowest level of offender-to-staff ratio. 

(e)  If the caseloads established in subsection (d) of this section are exceeded for longer than 120 days, the commissioner shall be authorized to designate community correctional officers to partially augment staffing caseloads.  If such designation does not remedy the excess caseloads:

(1)  The commissioner shall report to the joint corrections oversight committee the causes for the excess and proposals for addressing them.

(2)  The department shall have the authority, if the commissioner believes that the excess will not be eliminated within 60 days, to hire persons from the positions drawn from the state’s vacancy pool as limited service employees for an initial period of up to one year.  The initial period may be extended for up to two more years if the department deems it necessary.

(f)  Each time a position is established under subdivision (e)(2) of this section, the commissioner shall report it at the next meeting of the joint corrections oversight committee.  The costs for each position shall be presented in the department’s budget adjustment proposal and, if the positions are necessary for an ongoing period, in the department’s annual budget request.

Sec. 7.  28 V.S.A. § 403(1) is amended to read:

(1)  To supervise and control persons placed on parole, subject to the rules and orders of the parole board as to the conditions of parole.  The commissioner may use electronic monitoring equipment such as global position monitoring, automated voice recognition telephone equipment, and transdermal alcohol monitoring equipment to enable more effective or efficient supervision of individuals placed on parole.  Transdermal alcohol monitoring equipment shall be used for such purposes as discouraging persons whose licenses have been suspended for DUI from operating motor vehicles on Vermont highways;


Sec. 8.  28 V.S.A. § 723(c) is added to read:

(c)  Prior to release under this section, the department shall screen and, if appropriate, assess each felony drug and property offender for substance abuse treatment needs using an assessment tool designed to assess the suitability of a broad range of treatment services, and it shall use the results of this assessment in preparing a reentry plan.  The department shall attempt to identify all necessary services in the reentry plan and work with the offender to make connections to necessary services prior to release so that the offender can begin receiving services immediately upon release. 

Sec. 9.  28 V.S.A. § 808(a)(8)(E) and (F) are added to read:

(8)  To prepare for reentry into the community.

* * *

(E)  An offender incarcerated for driving while under the influence of alcohol under 13 V.S.A. § 1210(d) or (e) may be furloughed to the community up to 180 days prior to completion of the minimum sentence at the commissioner’s discretion and in accordance with rules adopted pursuant to subdivision (C) of this subdivision (8), provided that an offender sentenced to a minimum term of fewer than 270 days shall not be eligible for furlough under this subdivision until the offender has served at least 90 days of his or her minimum term of incarceration and provided that the commissioner uses electronic equipment to continually monitor the offender’s location and blood alcohol level, or other equipment such as an alcohol ignition interlock system, or both.

(F)  Prior to release under this subdivision (8), the department shall screen and, if appropriate, assess each felony drug and property offender for substance abuse treatment needs using an assessment tool designed to assess the suitability of a broad range of treatment services, and it shall use the results of this assessment in preparing a reentry plan.  The department shall attempt to identify all necessary services in the reentry plan and work with the offender to make connections to necessary services prior to release so that the offender can begin receiving services immediately upon release. 

Sec. 10.  28 V.S.A. § 808(b) is amended to read:

(b)  An inmate granted a furlough pursuant to this section may be accompanied by an employee of the department, in the discretion of the commissioner, during the period of the inmate’s furlough.  The department may use electronic monitoring equipment such as global position monitoring, automated voice recognition telephone equipment, and transdermal alcohol monitoring equipment to enable more effective or efficient supervision of individuals placed on furlough.

Sec. 11.  33 V.S.A. § 708 is amended to read:

§ 708.  TREATMENT AND SERVICES

* * *

(d)  A person judged by a law enforcement officer to be incapacitated, and who has not been charged with a crime, may be lodged in protective custody in a lockup or community correctional center secure facility not operated by the department of corrections for up to 24 hours or until judged by the person in charge of the facility to be no longer incapacitated, if and only if:

(1)  The person refuses to be transported to an appropriate facility for treatment, or if once there, refuses treatment or leaves the facility before he or she is considered by the responsible staff of that facility to be no longer incapacitated; or

(2)  No approved substance abuse treatment program with detoxification capabilities and no staff physician or other medical professional at the nearest licensed general hospital can be found who will accept the person for treatment.

(e)  No person shall be lodged in a lockup or community correctional center secure facility under subsection (d) of this section without first being evaluated by a substance abuse crisis team, a designated substance abuse counselor, a clinical staff person of an approved substance abuse treatment program with detoxification capabilities or a professional medical staff person at a licensed general hospital emergency room and found to be indeed incapacitated.

(f)  No lockup or community correctional center shall  A lockup not operated by the department of corrections shall not refuse to admit an incapacitated person in protective custody whose admission is requested by a law enforcement officer, in compliance with the conditions of this section.

(g)  Notwithstanding subsection (d) of this section, a person under 18 years of age who is judged by a law enforcement officer to be incapacitated and who has not been charged with a crime shall not be held at a lockup or community correctional center.  If needed treatment is not readily available the person shall be released to his or her parent or guardian.  If the person has no parent or guardian in the area, arrangements shall be made to house him or her according to the provisions of chapter 55 of this title.  The official in charge of an adult jail or lockup shall notify the director of the office of drug and alcohol abuse of any person under the age of 18 brought to an adult jail or lockup pursuant to this chapter.

(h)  If an incapacitated person in protective custody is lodged in a lockup or community correctional center secure facility, his or her family or next of kin shall be notified as promptly as possible.  If the person is an adult and requests that there be no notification, his or her request shall be respected.

(i)  A taking into protective custody under this section is not an arrest.

(j)  Law enforcement officers or, persons responsible for supervision in a lockup or community correctional center or secure facility, members of a substance abuse crisis team or, and designated substance abuse counselors who act under the authority of this section are acting in the course of their official duty and are not criminally or civilly liable therefor, unless for gross negligence or willful or wanton injury.

Sec. 12.  33 V.S.A. § 708a is added to read:

§ 708a.  INCARCERATION FOR INEBRIATION PROHIBITED

A person who has not been charged with a crime shall not be incarcerated in a facility operated by the department of corrections on account of the person’s inebriation.

Sec. 13.  TRANSITION UNITS

(a)  The general assembly intends in this act to provide to offenders who are eligible for release into the community the opportunity for a successful transition.

(b)  The commissioner of corrections shall report to the corrections oversight committee on or before November 1, 2008, on:

(1)  the feasibility and costs of establishing within the Northwest State Correctional Facility a transition unit which is modeled on the transition unit at the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility which enables inmates to work in the community while residing in the facility.  In considering options, the commissioner shall consider remodeling a unit in which the general assembly has already invested funds for upgrade; and

(2)  the feasibility and costs of incorporating a transition unit into any facility where renovations are necessary to implement the provisions of this act.

Sec. 14.  CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES REORGANIZATION; PLAN

(a)  Findings.  Department of corrections expenditures on correctional services including out-of-state beds grew from $93,255,650.00 in fiscal year 2004 to $120,533,309.00 in fiscal year 2008.  The amount of funding proposed for fiscal year 2009 is $123,589,833.00.  This rate of increase has been and remains unsustainable.

(b)  Action.  In order to reduce the unsustainable increases in the expenditures of the department of corrections, the following action shall be taken by the executive branch:

(1)  In fiscal year 2009, the Dale Correctional Facility in Waterbury shall be closed.

(2)  In fiscal year 2009, the mission of the Southeast State Correctional Facility in Windsor shall change to be a therapeutic community in a work camp model, consistent with any further directive set forth in the Capital Construction and State Bonding Act for fiscal year 2009.

(3)  In fiscal year 2009, sections of the Northwest State Correctional Facility in St. Albans shall be closed and the facility otherwise configured to house and program women, with consideration given to housing male detainees, consistent with any further directive set forth in the Capital Construction and State Bonding Act for fiscal year 2009.

(c)  Goal; fiscal year 2009.  It is the goal of the general assembly to achieve in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2009 approximately $600,000.00 in savings in the department of corrections budget, which will be reinvested in substance abuse screening, assessment, treatment, and reentry support, the goal of which is to reduce recidivism for the target group indentified in Sec. 1(a) of this act.

(d)  Goal; fiscal year 2010.  It is the goal of the general assembly to achieve in fiscal year 2010 approximately $3,044,949 in savings in the department of corrections budget, some of which will be reinvested in a variety of effective programs to further reduce recidivism for the target group indentified in Sec. 1(a) of this act. 

(e)  The general assembly recognizes and values the dedication and experience of the classified state employees of the department of corrections, whose skill and expertise will continue to be needed as the department continues to pursue its goals and mission.  Therefore, the restructuring necessary to achieve the cost savings required for this act shall result in the following:

(1)  The incumbents in the five classified positions that will be eliminated at Northwest State Correctional Facility shall continue to be employed at that facility in classified positions that are vacant, unless the incumbents voluntarily seek employment in other state positions or leave state service.

(2)  The temporary and exempt superintendent positions at the Dale facility shall be eliminated.

(3)  An incumbent in a classified position that will be eliminated at the Dale facility who does not accept any existing vacant classified position and who exercises the contractual right to fill an existing temporary position at any department facility shall receive his or her classified position base salary and the benefits of the bargaining unit to which that temporary position would be assigned if permanent, with the exceptions of scheduling days of work, shift assignment, and post assignment.  The rights established by this subdivision shall be available until January 1, 2011, or until an affected employee accepts an existing classified position, whichever occurs first.

(4)  Except as otherwise provided in this section, all existing state employee contract provisions and protections shall remain fully in force for any affected corrections employee covered by the contract.

(5)  Up to 120 hours of training, as appropriate based on levels of previous training and experience, for employees of those facilities involved in the reorganization described in this section who will need training due to a change in assigned duties.

(f)  As part of the reorganization, the department of corrections shall work with community-based organizations to provide services for inmates, including at least as many services in the St. Albans facility for women as were offered in the Windsor and Dale facilities.

Sec. 15.  BUDGETARY SAVINGS; ALLOCATIONS IN FISCAL YEAR

               2009 AND FISCAL YEAR            2010

(a)  It is the intent of the general assembly to achieve savings in the department of corrections budget which will be reinvested in substance abuse screening, assessment, and treatment and reentry support to result in reduced recidivism.

(b)  In fiscal year 2009, from within the amounts appropriated to the department of corrections from the general fund, the department shall spend $600,000.00 as follows:

(1)  The amount of $100,000.00 shall be to increase the capacity of the department of corrections’ intensive substance abuse program (ISAP) to provide services to those offenders with drug abuse disorders who are on preapproved furlough status under 28 V.S.A. § 808(a)(7).

(2)  The amount of $200,000.00 shall be to fund the establishment of a screening and assessment pilot program at a location approved by the court administrator to:

(A)  conduct a voluntary and confidential screening and assessment, when screening indicates that an assessment is appropriate, for substance abuse and mental health treatment needs at the time of arraignment of individuals charged with felony property, drug, or fraud offenses;

(B)  conduct a mandatory screening and assessment, when screening indicates that an assessment is appropriate, for substance abuse and mental health treatment needs following adjudication and prior to sentencing of individuals found guilty of felony property, drug, or fraud offenses;

(C)  provide the results of any screening and assessment conducted under this section to the judge following adjudication and prior to sentencing so that the judge can use the information to determine the level of treatment to be provided while the individual is in the custody of the commissioner of corrections; and

(D)  enable the commissioner to gather data regarding the prevalence of co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders.   

(3)  The amount of $88,000.00 shall be to assess offenders for substance abuse treatment needs prior to release.

(4)  The amount of $150,000.00 shall be used to fund substance abuse programs and vocational training in the Windsor work camp facility.

(5)  The amount of $62,000.00 shall be for entering into contracts with several community‑based substance abuse treatment providers in different geographic regions of the state to provide the substance abuse treatment services to persons on conditional reentry status pursuant to subchapter 1A of chapter 11 of 28 V.S.A. or furlough pursuant to 28 V.S.A. § 808.

(c)  Based on a recommendation from the commissioner of corrections and the corrections oversight committee, the joint fiscal committee may authorize further spending of funds from the fiscal year 2009 corrections appropriation for all or part of the amounts of this subsection, in the order listed in this subsection.  In fiscal year 2010, from within the amounts appropriated to the department of corrections from the general fund, the department shall reinvest a portion of the savings identified by the commissioner of corrections and the corrections oversight committee as follows:

(1)  The amount necessary to continue funding the screening and assessment pilot program established in subdivision (b)(2) of this section for one more year.

(2)  The amount of $150,000.00 shall be to provide grants to community providers of transitional housing to increase the number of beds available by 10 beds for three to six months of housing for at least 20 offenders reentering the community on furlough pursuant to 28 V.S.A. § 808 or on conditional reentry pursuant to subchapter 1A of chapter 11 of Title 28.

(3)  The amount of $200,000.00 shall be to develop the capacities of community substance abuse treatment providers to work effectively with offenders and to function efficiently as a collaborative system.

(4)  The amount of $1,200,000.00 shall be to provide grants to community providers to increase by 60 the number of beds available for at least 120 offenders who will be staying in the transitional housing for three to six months before reentering the community on furlough pursuant to 28 V.S.A. § 808 or conditional reentry, pursuant to subchapter 1A of chapter 11 of Title 28.  The new transitional housing shall include a range from lightly supervised with no treatment programs to heavily supervised with wrap-around treatment programs.  Of the amount appropriated in this subdivision, $200,000.00 shall be used to:

(A)  provide life skills programming;

(B)  expand housing readiness, search, and retention services; and

(C)  expand housing assistance funding which may be granted to housing authorities and other community agencies in response to requests for proposals or memorandums of understanding entered into in accordance with department policy and directives.

(5)  The amount of $365,000.00 shall be to expand the ISAP program to include a residential component for those who have been furloughed to the community pursuant to 28 V.S.A. § 808(a)(7);

(6)  The amount of $650,000.00 shall be to provide vocational training and residential substance abuse programs in one or more state-owned and ‑operated work camps.

(7)  The amount of $110,000.00 shall be for recovery centers.

(8)  The amount of $50,000.00 shall be to increase the capacity of the department of corrections’ intensive substance abuse program (ISAP) to provide services to those offenders with drug abuse disorders who are on preapproved furlough status under 28 V.S.A. § 808(a)(7).

(9)  The amount of $150,000.00 shall be used to expand the availability of public inebriate beds outside the department of corrections.

(10)  The amount of $211,000.00 shall be used to purchase electronic monitoring equipment, including automated voice recognition telephone equipment, global position monitoring system bracelets, and transdermal alcohol monitoring equipment.  The commissioner shall use the equipment to augment supervision of offenders on probation, parole, or furlough and to enhance the capacity of field staff to monitor and control offenders who would otherwise be incarcerated.

(d)  The joint fiscal office shall track and report to the joint fiscal committee in January and July of 2009 savings in the corrections budget resulting from the provisions of this act, including savings resulting from increased use of electronic monitoring equipment following passage of this act.

Sec. 16.  STATEWIDE DRUG COURT STUDY

The court administrator, the defender general, the executive director of the department of state’s attorneys and sheriffs, the deputy commissioner of the department of health in charge of the office of alcohol and drug abuse programs, and the commissioner of mental health shall report to the house and senate committees on judiciary by December 15, 2008, on the advisability and feasibility of expanding the drug court program to every county in the state.  The report shall address:

(1)  the financial costs of expanding the drug court program statewide;

(2)  the workforce impact which a statewide expansion of the program would have and whether new staff would be required;

(3)  whether current state facilities have the capacity to support statewide expansion and whether and where any new facilities would be required; and

(4)  any other matter deemed relevant to the issue of statewide drug court expansion.    

Sec. 17.  PUBLIC INEBRIATES TASK FORCE

(a)  A public inebriates task force is established.  The task force shall consist of the following members:

(1)  Two members employed by the office of alcohol and drug abuse programs appointed by the commissioner of the department of health.

(2)  Two substance abuse treatment providers appointed by the substance abuse treatment providers association.

(3)  One member appointed by the department of public safety.

(4)  One member appointed by the Vermont police association.

(5)  One member appointed by the Vermont League of Cities and Towns.

(6)  Two members appointed by the Vermont medical society who shall be hospital emergency department personnel.

(7)  Two members appointed by the Vermont recovery network.

(8)  Two employees of the department of corrections appointed by the commissioner of the department of corrections.

(9)  A representative of the Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health Systems.

(b)  The task force shall report to the senate and house committees on judiciary, corrections and institutions, and appropriations no later than January 1, 2010 with a plan to ensure that public inebriates are given appropriate care rather than incarcerated.  The plan shall ensure the regional availability of supportive voluntary and secure accommodations for public inebriates by January 1, 2011, and shall include a timetable for providing reimbursement of expenses to programs that house and maintain public inebriates.


Sec. 18.  ACCOUNTABILITY; REPORTS

(a)  On or before January 15, 2009, the commissioner of corrections and the court administrator shall report to the senate and house committees on judiciary and the house committee on corrections and institutions on implementing the screening and assessment pilot program authorized and funded in Sec. 15(b)(2) of this act, as well as recommendations for continuing the program or expanding the program or both.

(b)  On or before January 15, 2010, the commissioner of corrections shall report to the senate committee on judiciary, the senate committee on institutions, the house committee on corrections and institutions, and the house committee on judiciary on:

(1)  the prevalence of co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders among those committed to the custody of the commissioner of corrections;

(2)  the success of and problems encountered in:

(A)  expanding the ISAP program pursuant to Sec. 15(b)(1) of this act;

(B)  developing reentry plans which identify services needed by offenders upon release, and in working with community providers to ensure that each offender receives those services immediately upon release;

(C)  implementing the screening and assessment pilot program authorized and funded in Sec. 15(b)(2) of this act, as well as recommendations for continuing the program or expanding the program or both.  The commissioner shall make this report jointly with the court administrator;

(3)  the progress made since passage of this act in establishing a comprehensive system of community substance abuse treatment services which is coordinated with corrections services;

(4)  a proposal to increase the furlough days for nonlisted offenders from the existing average of 53 to a target of 75; and

(5)  the advisability of establishing a third 100-bed work camp in fiscal year 2011. 

(c)  On or before January 15, 2011, the commissioner of corrections shall report to the senate committee on judiciary, the house committee on corrections and institutions, and the house committee on judiciary on the successes of and problems encountered in working to meet the following goals with the funds provided and through the programs established in this act:

(1)  increase by at least 30 the number of offenders with sentences of one or more years placed in the department of corrections’ intensive substance abuse program (ISAP) pursuant to 28 V.S.A. § 808(a)(7);

(2)  move at least 10 offenders who are in the intensive phase of receiving ISAP services under 28 V.S.A. § 808(a)(7) and who are unsuccessful and would otherwise be reincarcerated to a community-based residential substance abuse treatment program which may be a component of ISAP;

(3)  incarcerate no more than 20 percent of offenders who are receiving substance abuse treatment services under 28 V.S.A. § 808(a)(7); 

(4)  reduce by 10 percent the number of reincarcerations of those on conditional reentry with a high need for substance abuse treatment;

(5)  increase by 25 the average per month number of inmates released on furlough, pursuant to 28 V.S.A. § 808; and

(6)  increase the average number of days inmates are released on reintegration furlough pursuant to 28 V.S.A. § 808(a)(8) prior to the minimum sentence to as close to 90 days as possible. 

(d)  Until the corrections oversight committee informs the commissioner that it no longer requires the information, the commissioner of corrections shall include in monthly reports to the committee:

(1)  the number of inmates eligible for furlough under 28 V.S.A. § 808 and considered appropriate for release by the commissioner but who have not been released because the commissioner is unable to find appropriate housing, employment, treatment, or other services;

(2)  which treatment or other services would have been necessary and in which geographic region the services would have been needed to enable release;

(3)  the number of days of incarceration that could have been avoided if the community resources had been available and these offenders had been released; and

(4)  a detailed description of the progress made on increasing the use of electronic monitoring as authorized by 28 V.S.A. §§ 202, 403(1) and 808(b). 

(e)  On or before January 15, 2011, the court administrator’s office, in consultation with the office of alcohol and drug abuse programs in the Vermont department of health, the department of corrections, the defender general, and the executive director of the department of state’s attorneys and sheriffs, shall report to the senate and house committees on judiciary on the costs, cost savings, and effectiveness of the screening and assessment pilot project established pursuant to Sec. 15(b)(2) of this act and shall make a recommendation as to the continuation of the screening and assessment pilot project and its expansion to other counties.

(f)  The joint fiscal office and the office of finance and management shall jointly document the impact of the policies and provisions of this act on corrections costs and shall report their findings to the general assembly on or before January 15, 2010, and in January of each year for five years thereafter.

(g)  The Vermont center for justice research shall study and evaluate the effectiveness of the system of administrative probation established by subsection 205(c) of Title 28, including whether the people who receive such probation commit further offenses and the nature of those offenses.  The center shall report its evaluation of administrative probation to the senate and house committees on judiciary on or before December 15, 2011.

Sec. 19.  CORRECTIONS OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE; CHILDREN OF  INCARCERATED PARENTS; REPORT

(a)  During the summer and fall of 2008, the corrections oversight committee shall investigate issues regarding minor children of incarcerated parents.  The investigation shall include:

(1)  A report from the commissioner of corrections on data on the prevalence of inmates who are parents of minor children, including the number of inmates who are primary caregivers of minor children.

(2)  Identification of mail, telephone, and visiting policies that promote appropriate family contact.

(3)  A report from the secretary of human services on how to provide appropriate support and assistance to the children of incarcerated parents.

(b)  The committee shall make recommendations regarding:

(1)  Ways to increase and improve appropriate contact between minor children and their incarcerated parents.

(2)  Data to be collected to enable the general assembly to understand the impact of incarceration of parents on minor children and to help policy makers access resources and formulate solutions.  The committee shall also make recommendations on how the data will be collected.

(3)  Cost estimates of resources needed to make recommended changes.

(4)  Appropriate support and assistance to the children of incarcerated parents using existing resources, programs, and staff of the agency of human services.

(c)  The committee shall report its findings and recommendations to the general assembly on or before January 15, 2009. 

Sec. 20.  2 V.S.A. § 801(d) is amended to read:

(d)  When the general assembly is in session, the committee shall meet at the call of the chair.  The committee may meet four six 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.

Sec. 21.  LAW ENFORCEMENT ADVISORY BOARD; ANNUAL

               REPORT; CHILDREN OF ARRESTED PARENTS

The law enforcement advisory board created in 24 V.S.A. § 1939 shall review and evaluate current law enforcement practices and procedures in arresting a parent or caretaker of a minor child, particularly when the child is present at the time of the arrest.  The board shall solicit input from Kids Apart, the Vermont agency of human services’ child trauma work group, and the Vermont network against domestic and sexual violence.  In its 2009 annual report to the general assembly and the governor, the board shall report its findings and recommendations for improving current practices and procedures.

Sec. 22.  EFFECTIVE DATES

(a)  Secs. 11 and 12 of this act shall take effect on July 1, 2011.

(b)  All remaining sections of this act shall take effect on July 1, 2008.




Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us