|BILL AS PASSED BY SENATE||2007-2008|
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. SHORT TITLE
This act may be known as “The Justice Reinvestment Act.”
Sec. 2. PURPOSE, FINDINGS, AND INTENT
(a) It is the purpose of this act to reduce recidivism, increase public safety, and reduce corrections costs by increasing substance abuse treatment, vocational training, and transitional housing for misdemeanants and persons who have committed nonviolent felonies as defined in section 205 of Title 28.
(b) 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.
(c) The general assembly further finds that:
(1) As the public inebriate study committee outlined in its report, the Vermont legislature enacted the Alcohol Services Act in 1978 in order to decriminalize public intoxication and create a program to place public inebriates in treatment rather than jail. In 1977, the last full year prior to the act’s passage, 550 persons were jailed after being charged with public intoxication. However, by 2006, 2,322 persons out of 4,179 screened had been placed in protective custody without being charged with a crime, a substantial increase in both total cases and incarcerations.
(2) As the public inebriate study committee concluded, the Alcohol Services Act has produced results contrary to the legislature’s intent. The inebriate program established by the act does not work effectively, except in selected areas where staffed shelters exist.
(3) It is imperative that a new approach to public inebriation be taken, because it is unconscionable that in the 21st century persons are incarcerated who have not committed a crime.
(d) 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. However, almost one-half are not released because of insufficient housing options.
(2) For many low risk offenders, studies show that a minimum sentence is likely to deter reoffense, and that a longer sentence does not decrease the likelihood of reoffense. Therefore, statute authorizes the commissioner of corrections to release certain offenders 90 days prior to the minimum sentence date. However, on average, eligible inmates are not released until 53 days prior to the minimum sentence date.
(e) Therefore, in order to reduce recidivism, increase public safety, and reduce the cost to the state of incarcerating offenders, it is the intent of the general assembly to:
(1) increase substance abuse treatment services, vocational training, and transitional housing available to offenders;
(2) provide for careful screening and assessment of offenders in order to connect those with high needs with appropriate treatment programs, and to ensure that those who do not need treatment are not required to participate;
(3) provide incentives for offenders to engage in positive behaviors; and
(4) establish processes for reducing incarceration time when appropriate.
Sec. 3. 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 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. The department shall assess each offender for substance abuse treatment needs, using an assessment tool designed to assess the suitability of a broad range of treatment services, and use the results of this assessment in preparing the reentry plan. The department may assess an offender sentenced to a minimum term of more than five years later than 30 days after receiving the sentence but at least within a year of receiving the sentence.
Sec. 4. 28 V.S.A. § 102(b) is amended to read:
(b) The commissioner is charged with the following powers:
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(5) To order the assignment and transfer of persons committed to the custody of the commissioner to correctional facilities, including out-of-state facilities.
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Sec. 5. 28 V.S.A. § 202 is amended to read:
§ 202. POWERS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE COMMISSIONER
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. The commissioner may use electronic monitoring equipment such as global position monitoring, automated voice recognition telephone equipment, or transdermal alcohol monitoring equipment to enable more effective or efficient supervision of individuals placed on probation.
Sec. 6. 28 V.S.A. § 205 is amended to read:
§ 205. PROBATION
(a)(1) After passing sentence, a court may suspend all or part of the sentence and place the person so sentenced in the care and custody of the commissioner upon such conditions and for such time as it may prescribe in accordance with law or until further order of court.
(2) The term of probation for misdemeanors shall be for a specific term not to exceed two years unless the court, in its sole discretion, specifically finds that the interests of justice require a longer or an indefinite period of probation.
(3)(A) The term of probation for nonviolent felonies shall not exceed the statutory maximum term of imprisonment for the offense unless the court, in its sole discretion, specifically finds that the interests of justice require a longer or an indefinite period of probation.
(B) As used in this subdivision, "nonviolent felonies" means an offense which is not:
(i) a listed crime as defined in subdivision 5301(7) of Title 13; or
(ii) an offense involving sexual exploitation of children in violation of chapter 6 of Title 13.
(4) Nothing in this subsection shall prevent the court from terminating the period of probation and discharging a person pursuant to section 251 of this title.
(5) The probation officer of a person on probation for a specific term shall review the person's case file during probation and, not less than 45 days prior to the expiration of the probation term, may file a petition with the court requesting the court to extend the period of probation for a specific term not to exceed one year in order to provide the person the opportunity to complete programming consistent with special conditions of probation. A hearing on the petition for an extension of probation under this subsection shall comply with the procedures set forth in Rule 32.1 of the Vermont Rules of Criminal Procedure.
(b) The victim of a listed crime as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 5301(7) for which the offender has been placed on probation shall have the right to request, and receive from the department of corrections information regarding the offender's general compliance with the specific conditions of probation. Nothing in this section shall require the department of corrections to disclose any confidential information revealed by the offender in connection with participation in a treatment program.
(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 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; and
(C) not have probable cause found for 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.
(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).
(O) Unlawful trespass under 13 V.S.A. § 3705(a).
(P) A first offense of possession under 18 V.S.A. § 4230(a)(1).
Sec. 7. 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:
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(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.
(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 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 at the sole discretion of the commissioner pursuant to a rule adopted by the commissioner under 3 V.S.A. chapter 25.
Sec. 8. 28 V.S.A. § 256 is added to read:
§ 256. CASELOAD CAPACITY; HIGH RISK OFFENDERS
(a) Probation officers designated to work exclusively with offenders 21 years of age and younger shall have caseloads of no more than 25 youths.
(b) The department will review severity of offenses and assess the risk to re-offend 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 re-offense.
(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 probation officer caseload ranges for offender profiles:
(1) All listed offenders requiring risk management shall be supervised at no more than 45 offenders per probation officer.
(2) All non-listed offenders requiring risk management shall be supervised at no more than 60 offenders per probation officer.
(3) All offenders requiring response supervision shall be supervised at no more than 150 offenders per probation 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 probation 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.
(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 state's position 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. 9. 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, or transdermal alcohol monitoring equipment to enable more effective or efficient supervision of individuals placed on parole;
Sec. 10. 33 V.S.A. § 708 is amended to read:
§ 708. TREATMENT AND SERVICES
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(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 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 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 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.
(d) of this section, a 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, and for whom 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, 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 members of a substance abuse crisis team or 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.
(k) This section, except for subsection (j), shall be repealed on July 1, 2010.
Sec. 11. 33 V.S.A. § 708a is added to read:
§ 708a. INCARCERATION FOR INEBRIATION PROHIBITED
No person who has not been charged with a crime shall be incarcerated on account of the person’s inebriation.
Sec. 12. 28 V.S.A. § 808(a)(8) is amended to read:
(8) To prepare for reentry into the community.
(A) Any offender sentenced to
may shall be furloughed to the community up to
90 days prior to completion of the minimum sentence, at the commissioner's
discretion and in accordance with if the requirements and conditions
established by rules adopted pursuant to subdivision (C) of this
subdivision (8) have been satisfied, provided that an offender sentenced
to a minimum term of fewer than 180 days shall not be eligible for furlough
under this subdivision until the offender has served at least one-half of his
or her minimum term of incarceration.
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(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 monitor continually the offender’s location and blood alcohol level.
Sec. 13. 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, or transdermal alcohol monitoring equipment to enable more effective or efficient supervision of individuals placed on furlough.
Sec. 14a. BUDGETARY SAVINGS ALLOCATIONS IN FISCAL YEARS 2009 AND 2010
(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 Faculty in Waterbury shall be closed.
(2) In Fiscal Year 2009, the mission of the Southeast Vermont Correctional Facility in Windsor shall change to a therapeutic community in a work camp model, consistent with any further directive set forth in the 2007 Capital Construction Act, S.365.
(3) In Fiscal Year 2009, sections of the Northwest Regional Correctional Facility in St. Albans town shall be closed and the facility otherwise configured to house and program women consistent with any further directive set forth in the 2007 Capital Construction Act, S.365.
(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. 2(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. 2(a) of this act.
Sec. 14b. ANTICIPATED BUDGETARY SAVINGS ALLOCATIONS IN
FISCAL YEAR 2009
(a) In the last quarter of fiscal year 2009, from within the amounts appropriated to the department of corrections from the general fund, the department shall reinvest $600,000.00 as follows:
(1) the amount of $150,000.00 shall be used to fund substance abuse programs and vocational training in a state work camp facility;
(2) the amount of $450,000.00 shall be transferred to the secretary of human services and used to fund the following activities:
(A) $200,000.00 shall be used to expand the capacity of community alcohol and substance abuse prevention and treatment providers to provide services, including services to public inebriates; and
(B) $250,000.00 shall be used to expand the availability of public inebriate beds outside the department of corrections.
(b) 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.
Sec. 14c. ANTICIPATED BUDGETARY SAVINGS ALLOCATIONS IN
FISCAL YEAR 2010
(a) 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 either the commissioner of corrections or the corrections oversight committee as follows:
(1) $150,000.00 to increase the capacity of the department of corrections’ intensive substance abuse program (ISAP), which provides services on an intensive out-patient basis;
(2) $150,000.00 to expand the ISAP program to include a community based residential substance abuse treatment component for those who have been furloughed to the community pursuant to 28 V.S.A. § 808(a)(7);
(3) $150,000.00 to enter into contracts with several community based substance abuse treatment providers in different geographic regions of the state, and 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.;
(4) $200,000.00 to provide life skills services programming;
(5) $650,000.00 to provide vocational training and residential substance abuse programs in one or more state owned and operated work camps;
(6) $1,200,000.00 shall be to used provide grants to community providers to:
(A) 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; and
(B) the new transitional housing shall include a range from lightly supervised with no treatment programs to heavily supervised with wrap-around treatment programs;
(7) $211,000.00 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;
(8) $110,000.00 for recovery centers; and
(9) $200,000.00 shall be transferred to the secretary of human services to expand the capacity of community alcohol and substance abuse prevention and treatment providers to provide services, including services to public inebriates.
Sec. 15. [DELETED]
Sec. 16. ACCOUNTABILITY; REPORTS
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 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 room 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.
(b) The task force shall report to the senate and house committees on judiciary, institutions, and appropriations no later than January 1, 2009 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 secured accommodations for public inebriates by January 1, 2010, and shall include a timetable for providing reimbursement of expenses to programs that house and maintain public inebriates.
Sec. 18. EFFECTIVE DATE
This act shall take effect on July 1, 2008, except for Sec. 11, which shall take effect on July 1, 2010.
The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street