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BILL AS PASSED HOUSE AND SENATE 2007-2008

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S.97

AN ACT RELATING TO CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES

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

Sec. 1.   4 V.S.A. § 1102 is amended to read:

§ 1102.  JUDICIAL BUREAU; JURISDICTION

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(b)  The judicial bureau shall have jurisdiction of the following matters:

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(11)  violations of 18 V.S.A. § 4234b(b), relating to selling ephedrine base, pseudoephedrine base, or phenylpropanolamine base;

(12)  violations of 18 V.S.A. § 4249, relating to the introduction of tobacco or tobacco products into a correctional facility.

Sec. 2.  18 V.S.A. § 4249 is amended to read:

§ 4249.  TRANSPORTATION OF ALCOHOL, TOBACCO, OR

               REGULATED DRUGS INTO PLACES OF DETENTION

(a)  No person shall knowingly carry or introduce or cause to be carried or introduced into a lockup, jail, prison, or correctional facility:

(1)  alcohol, malt or vinous beverages, or spirituous liquor;

(2)  marijuana; or

(3)  a regulated drug, other than marijuana, as defined in section 4201 of this title, except upon the prescription or direction of a practitioner as that term is defined in chapter 36 of Title 26; or

(4)  tobacco or tobacco products, except that an employee may possess or store tobacco or tobacco products in a locked automobile parked on the correctional facility grounds, store tobacco or tobacco products in a secure place within the correctional facility which is designated for storage of employee tobacco, and possess tobacco or tobacco products in a designated smoking area.

(b)  A person who violates subdivision (a)(1) of this section shall be imprisoned not more than three months or fined not more than $300.00, or both.

(c)  A person who violates subdivision (a)(2) of this section shall be imprisoned not more than six months or fined not more than $500.00, or both.

(d)  A person who violates subdivision (a)(3) of this section shall be imprisoned not more than one year or fined not more than $1,000.00, or both.

(e)  A person who violates subdivision (a)(4) of this section shall be subject to a civil penalty of not more than $450.00 for the first offense and $900.00 for any subsequent offense.  An action under this subsection shall be brought in the same manner as for a traffic violation pursuant to chapter 24 of Title 23.

(f)  As used in this section, “correctional facility” means any secure or staff-secure building, enclosure, space, or structure of or supported by the department and used for the confinement of persons committed to the custody of the commissioner of corrections, or for any other matter related to such confinement.

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 incarcerated at a department of corrections facility shall not correspond through the mail 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 correspondence through the mail from a particular inmate.

(3)  A parent or authorized legal guardian of a minor may add the minor child to the negative contact list of any inmate who is not the parent of the child by notifying the department of corrections in writing that he or she does not wish the minor child to receive any correspondence through the mail from a particular inmate.  If the inmate is a parent of the minor, the inmate shall have the right to have contact with the minor, unless the inmate is prohibited by court order from contacting the child.

Sec. 4.  28 V.S.A. § 120(h) is amended to read:

(h)  Required participation.  All persons under the custody of the commissioner of corrections who are under the age of 22 23 and have not received a high school diploma shall participate in the education program unless exempted by the commissioner.

Sec. 5.  2 V.S.A. § 801 (b) and (c) are amended to read:

§ 801.  CREATION OF COMMITTEE

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(b)  The committee shall be composed of eight 10 members:  four five members of the house of representatives, who shall not all be from the same party, appointed by the speaker of the house; and four five 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, the senate committee on health and welfare, and the house committee on human services.

(c)  The committee shall elect a chair, vice chair, and clerk from among its members and shall adopt rules of procedure.  The chair 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 six members.

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Sec. 6.  JOINT LEGISLATIVE CORRECTIONS OVERSIGHT

             COMMITTEE; MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES; REDUCTION OF

             RECIDIVISM

(a)  During the 2007 interim, the joint legislative corrections oversight committee shall develop recommendations regarding the current and future needs of persons with mental illnesses who are or will be involved in the criminal justice or corrections systems.

(b)  In accomplishing its work under subsection (a) of this section, the committee shall coordinate with and consider the work of the consultant hired under No. 9 of the Acts of 2007 with respect to the impact of inmates and criminal defendants in inpatient settings to ensure that corrections mental health needs are integrated with the continuum of mental health care, including replacement of the services currently provided at the Vermont State Hospital.  The committee shall:

(1)  Assess current and accurate data on the prevalence of inmates who are in need of inpatient care and the number of inpatient psychiatric beds needed by:

(A)  inmates with acute mental health treatment needs;

(B)  criminal defendants committed for pre‑trial forensic evaluation in an inpatient setting; and

(C)  criminal defendants found incompetent to stand trial or insane at the time of the offense;

(2)  Assess current and accurate data on the prevalence of inmates who can be prevented from requiring inpatient care through having their acute mental health needs met in an adequately staffed and fully programmed therapeutic residence within a correctional setting;

(3)  Review policies from other states of similar population profiles that address issues of mental health in inmate populations.  The committee may consult with the National Council of State Legislatures or the Council of State Governments to meet the requirements of this subdivision; and

(4)  Consider the best way to meet the mental health needs of the corrections population, including consideration of a separate inpatient facility.

(c)  If the committee has sufficient time and resources available after completing the work required by subsection (a) of this section, the committee may engage policymakers, social scientists, and interested persons to develop a strategic plan to reduce the number of Vermont offenders confined to corrections facilities.  In preparing the strategic plan described in this subsection, the committee shall:

(1)  Include projections for incarceration rates based on current department of corrections’ practices;

(2)  Identify programs that aim to reduce recidivism and prevent crime;

(3)  Consider alternatives to current sentencing practices, particularly for nonviolent, first‑time offenders;

(4)  Consult with interested persons and experts in the field to determine best practices which might lead to successful implementation of the strategic plan;

(5)  Develop cost estimates of any resources needed to implement the strategic plan; and

(6)  Include in its report a draft of any legislative action recommended to implement the strategic plan.

(d)  The committee shall also:

(1)  Consider whether “serious mental illness,” as defined in subdivision 906(1) of Title 28, should be amended to include other mental impairments that significantly and negatively affect daily functioning, including all forms of developmental disabilities, mental retardation, traumatic brain injury, autism, and various forms of dementia.

(2)  Review the department of corrections’ policies governing the administration of drugs prescribed to treat mental health issues among the inmate population, including:

(A)  The economic cost of current prescription policies.

(B)  The effectiveness of prescription drugs in treating mental illness within the inmate population.

(C)  Current trends in the use of particular categories of drugs to treat mental illness within the inmate population.

(D)  The department’s policies regarding off‑label usage of prescription drugs.

(e)  On or before January 15, 2008, the committee shall report its findings and recommendations for legislative action to the general assembly.

Sec. 7.  COMMISSIONER OF CORRECTIONS; COMMISSIONER OF

               EDUCATION; MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING

On or before January 15, 2008, the commissioner of corrections and the commissioner of education shall provide to the house committee on institutions, the senate committee on judiciary, and the senate and house committees on education a copy of a memorandum of understanding executed and signed by the two commissioners as required by an interagency agreement required under Part B of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.  The memorandum shall describe the legal, service provision, financial, and accounting roles and responsibilities of each of their agencies regarding special education services delivery by the Community High School of Vermont.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us