CRIMINAL JUSTICE

 

HB 1213 provides sweeping criminal justice reform in the form of truth-in-sentencing, community corrections, a planning process for new correctional facilities, and repeal of existing early release mechanisms:

  • Truth-in-Sentencing provisions of HB 1213 eliminate jury sentencing in all but capital cases and provide for judicial sentencing guidelines that will result in felony offenders serving, on average, 54% more time than under previous law. Violent offenders will serve at least 85% of their imposed sentence, and non-violent offenders at least 75% of their sentence.

  • The new community corrections system created in HB 1213 will provide for a broad array of community punishments and treatments ranging from jail time to restitution to drug and alcohol treatment. County officials, including judges, DAs, sheriffs and county commissioners, and appointed citizens will design punishment and treatment options to meet local needs. A new community sentencing division at the Department of Corrections will assist local officials in development of plans, contract with treatment providers and monitor outcomes. The state will pay the cost of jail time for more serious community offenders, pay costs of jail sanctions of offenders that violate community punishments, and pay for 185 days of treatment per offender per year.

  • HB 1213 provides for a planning and bid process to improve the state's ability to analyze the costs and benefits of various proposals to accommodate prison needs. The RFP process also improves the state's ability to negotiate for new prison beds.

  • HB 1213 repeals the current special supervision program and provides for public accountability by including the Governor in any release decision.

$2.6 million was appropriated to the Department of Corrections (DOC) for the implementation of Community Corrections / Truth in Sentencing.

$33 million was provided to DOC to annualize supplemental appropriations for FY'97 operations. The funds support 1,484 beds, an infirmary at Mabel Bassett Correctional Facility, and 278 new FTE.

The Department of Corrections was appropriated $8.7 million for more contract beds.

$2.2 million was approved for increased operational costs due to growth at state-run facilities.

208 FTE and an additional $2.5 million was approved to increase staffing at all DOC facilities.

Other items funded in the FY'98 appropriation include: a kitchen and staff for William Key C.C. ($347,000); probation and parole equipment ($500,000); and $424,000 for a mental health and re-assessment unit.

There were also two other major issues addressed in the FY'98 session:

  • $18 million was approved for the construction of 600 new state beds.

  • SB 745 requires DOC to conduct pre-sentence investigations to insure that no violent offenses are overlooked during the sentencing phase.

The Pardon and Parole Board received additional funding of $128,382, which will support two new investigators and other operations.

 

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