http://cmnv.org/sitemap5.xml Since , at least 22 states have adjusted monetary thresholds for theft crimes; Figure 1 lists these states. Time Served. Various factors affect how long an inmate will spend in prison and when he or she may be released. The sentence imposed is only part of the calculation to determine the length of time an inmate will serve in prison. Truth-in-sentencing requirements, mandatory sentences, good-time and earned-time, and parole eligibility policies also affect the portion of the sentence that will or must be served. Time served is an important factor in determining state prison populations and costs.
In states that have parole, state sentencing systems give parole boards varying degrees of discretion to determine when an inmate may be released. A number of states are revisiting minimum sentence policies, while others are expanding earned-time. Some are using conditional release policies that allow corrections departments to make community placements to help inmates make the transition from prison to the community after a lengthy period of incarceration.
Mandatory Minimum Sentences Mandatory minimum sentences apply in many states to violent and sex offenses; repeat and habitual offenders; offenses committed while possessing or using deadly weapons; certain drug crimes; and crimes involving a child or other vulnerable victim. Mandatory minimum sentences have been implemented in all types of sentencing schemes, and generally provide a sentence enhancement for certain offenders, crimes or circumstances.
The most common mandatory minimum sentences apply to habitual or re- peat offenders. Three-strikes laws generally require a prison term for habitual or persistent offenders, although the number and types of crimes that trigger a three-strikes sentence—as well as the length of the prison term—differ from state to state. Many states have determined that mandatory minimum sentences are appropriate for dangerous offenders. This reflects objectives stated in the Principles section that sentencing policy seeks to protect the public. Other mandatory sentences apply to drug offenders and some misdemeanors.
At least three states—Arizona, Florida and Texas—have adopted mandatory enhanced penalties for repeat misdemeanor offenses. Missouri and Wisconsin laws provide courts with discretion to increase penalties for those who are repeat misdemeanor offenders. It recommended mandatory minimum sentences as appropriate for offenders who pose a risk to the public and require incapacitation or when deterrence is a primary sentence purpose.
Broader court discretion was recommended as more appropriate for less serious offenders who potentially could benefit from rehabilitative services and treatment. The General Assembly is reviewing the recommendations. This same concept has prompted other states to revisit mandatory minimum sentences in recent years, and illustrates work in states to achieve more balanced and cost-effective sentencing and corrections systems. At least 14 states modified mandatory minimum sentences for certain drug offenders during the s. Connecticut, Indiana and South Dakota narrowed the application of mandatory minimums, and Delaware eliminated mandatory prison time for some drug possession and sales.
Ships with Tracking Number! Awareness of Washington's Three Strikes law by criminals in other states has reduced the number of them who choose to move here. The Washington State Supreme Court recently upheld this landmark legislation in three rulings on three companion cases. This is particularly important in states where prison overcrowding results in early release even for violent criminals. Department of Justice, informs state legislatures on corrections, sentencing, reentry, and related justice information and evidence-based policy initiatives. Certain criminal offenses, because they are con-sensual actions taken between and among willing parties, present police with difficult investigative problems. Returning user.
States have also made notable changes to three-strikes laws in recent years, including narrowing their application. California amended its policy to no longer impose a three-strikes sentence for many third convictions, limiting it to a third serious or violent crime. Colorado and Louisiana no longer require prison terms for some low-level, nonviolent, repeat offenders, while Nevada removed crimes involving fraud from the list of those that trigger a three-strikes penalty.
A handful of states, including California, have replaced mandatory minimum sentences with sentence ranges that also give courts alternatives to a life sentence upon a third strike. In Colorado, Connecticut and Indiana, third convictions require the offender to be sentenced to a prison term equal to three times that of the underlying offense. Indiana courts may order life without parole for certain sex and violent crimes. Good-time credits generally are granted to inmates who follow prison rules and participate in required activities.
At least 32 states have good-time policies. Earned-time credits are available in at least 37 states for certain inmates who participate in or complete educational courses, vocational training, treatment, work or other programs. Earned-time credits are distinguished from and can be offered in addition to good-time credits.
These release incentives not only trim inmate time served and lower costs of incarceration, but also provide programs that improve offender success in the community and reduce recidivism. Even though some earned- time laws offer inmates a fairly small reduction in prison terms, those few days can add up to a significant cost savings when applied to hundreds or thousands of inmates.
Mindful that any policy involving release of inmates must consider public safety, it is noteworthy that recidivism rates in states with earned-time provisions either remain unchanged or actually drop. This is attributed in large part to the benefits of prison-based programs inmates must complete to earn time off their sentences.
More savings are captured when offenders who are better prepared to be in the community do not violate their supervision conditions or commit new crimes that create new crime and punishment costs. Inmates in Oregon are allowed to earn up to 20 percent or 30 percent off their sentences, depending on the date and conviction offense. Time is awarded for good conduct and compliance with a prison program plan that includes programs such as cognitive behavioral classes, education and work assignments, parenting courses and substance abuse treatment. Certain inmates can earn additional sentence credits for attaining educational or vocational certificates and degrees.
Parole Board Release Parole boards, a standard component of indeterminate sentencing structures in the early and mids, had broad discretionary authority over the release of inmates from state prisons. With the rise of determinate and sentencing guidelines systems and the adoption of truth-in-sentencing provisions in the s and s, a number of states restricted or eliminated discretionary parole.
Although parole boards still exist in most states, their function often has changed. To deal with swelling prison populations and costs, the Mississippi Legislature twice increased the amount of good-time that low-level offenders were eligible to earn and reinstated parole eligibility for certain nonviolent offenders. In , lawmakers reinstated discretionary parole at 25 percent of the sentence for inmates convicted of nonviolent crimes who have no violent history.
The new provision also was applied retroactively; as a result, approximately 12 percent of the prison population was immediately eligible for parole consideration. This, together with the revised parole eligibility policies, delayed the need for a new state prison by 10 years. An independent evaluation in found that, of some 3, offenders released between July and August , were returned to prison— for technical violations of parole and five for new crimes.
As with other criminal justice agencies, parole boards are beginning to use risk assessments in release decisions. An April survey by the Association of Paroling Authorities International found that 32 of 37 responding parole boards use a risk assessment instrument in the release decision process, and many have some form of parole guidelines. In , the Colorado General Assembly incorporated use of a parole decision-making tool into the release and revocation process.
It also helps set parolee supervision requirements. These policies are among those referred to in the Principles section as providing incentives to prisoners who complete programming, treatment or training. Options can include placement in a residential facility or other structured access to services, treatment, or health care that is not available in secure correctional facilities. Residential treatment and work release facilities provide reintegration services while offenders work and pay room and board in addition to any required restitution or child support.
South Carolina lawmakers expanded eligibility for their work release program in Certain inmates who are not eligible for parole now may serve the last three years of their sentence in a residential, pre-release and work facility. Other forms of conditional release include furloughs, such as those statutorily authorized in Vermont. The Vermont Department of Corrections supervises short-term release of eligible inmates to meet with prospective employers or secure housing as they prepare for discharge from prison. Upon completion of the minimum term of confinement, inmates also can be released to participate in locally run restorative justice reentry programs.
Treatment furloughs allow the corrections department to move an inmate to a hospital or residential-based treatment program at any point during the term of confinement, if it is determined that an inmate needs ser- vices not available in a correctional facility. Medical parole moves certain inmates who have an incapacitating or terminal medical condition to a residential care facility or other setting suited to treatment of medical needs. Policies that provide for release to medical care for aged or infirm inmates are among those that follow the Principles suggestion that discretion be exercised in placement and release of offenders and also that legislatures strive for balance in cost, population control and safety Principles 3 and 4.
As of , laws in at least 39 states provide for medical parole; use of such policies is limited, however. A analysis by the Vera Institute of Justice found that, while medical parole may be a promising cost-control policy, use of these laws is hindered by unclear eligibility and complex release procedures.
The Vera study suggested that states clarify eligibility and consider setting up processes for automatic, scheduled review for those offenders who meet eligibility based on age or infirmity. Lack of suitable housing and care in the community limits medical release, according to a report to the Virginia General Assembly. The Department of Corrections reported that, between and , only seven inmates were granted medical release. In some cases, the seriousness of the offense and other factors related to public safety were reasons the Parole Board did not grant release.
Further limiting medical releases, according to the report, are lack of available beds in nursing homes and unwillingness on the part of private nursing homes to accept people with a criminal record. The report recommended creating a statewide correctional medical center. Mandatory Release Sentencing policies in some states affect not only opportunities for post-release services and supervision, but also time served.
A period of post-prison supervision provides offenders a formal link to transitional support services from treatment providers and other community and faith-based organizations. Post-release supervision also enables correctional agencies to monitor offenders during their initial return to the community, at which time they are at the highest risk of reoffending.
Release from prison on a fixed sentence with no community supervision means less access to services and little or no monitoring, both of which are particularly troublesome for high-risk offenders. In New Hampshire, 16 percent of all inmates released in had completed their maximum sentence in prison and were not subject to supervision upon release. In , the General Court enacted legislation to re- quire that inmates be released to community supervision nine months before their maximum release date. Kentucky faced a similar situation when the legislature amended release laws in Certain lower-level inmates who are serving a prison term of more than two years now are required to be released to parole supervision six months before their maximum release date.
For inmates who are not eligible for the six-month release—those who are convicted of the most serious crimes, are not statutorily eligible for parole, or are serving their term in a maximum security facility—an additional year of community supervision is now required after the maximum sentence has expired. Effective sentencing and corrections policies use information and research to weigh safety risks and offender supervision needs in determining appropriate sentence types and lengths. State efforts to study and involve stakeholders can result in a package of policies that help to reduce crime and manage corrections resources.
Prisons are expensive. The Pew report shows that prison spending has increased in recent years at a faster rate than spending on community corrections. During that time, Pew reported, 88 percent of new corrections dollars were allocated to prisons and only 12 percent went to community corrections supervision. Non-prison options for suitable offenders not only helps states do more with their corrections money, but also ensures prison space is available for the most dangerous offenders. Intermediate supervision options such as electronic monitoring, residential programs and problem-solving courts are less costly than incarceration, and they provide a greater degree of monitoring and requirements than traditional probation or parole programs.
Residential and community treatment can address substance abuse and mental health needs commonly related to criminal behavior see also Treating Drug Offenders. Non-prison sanctions for probation and parole violations can also provide for offender accountability and reserve costly prison space for offenders who may present a public safety concern. Adequate funding for community corrections is a perennial challenge, especially as states struggle with the recent recession. Some states are finding ways to use data and evidence to invest in successful, effective supervision strategies; they use savings gained to reinvest in identified policies that further manage costs and achieve better result for both offenders and corrections systems.
Policies such as risk-based supervision, administrative supervision and compliance credits allow agencies to focus community resources on the highest- risk offenders and at the same time, hold accountable all offenders who are in the community. Intermediate supervision options, which provide varying levels of surveillance and services, may include such options as electronic monitoring and home confinement, residential placements, or required participation in problem-solving courts. As noted in Principle 4, the value of intermediate sanctions depends upon policies that target resources effectively and focus the highest-level supervision on the highest-risk offenders.
Creating more intensive supervision for lower-risk offenders usually does not help meet corrections goals, affect cost control, or reduce reoffending. For nonviolent offenders, it often is combined with house arrest or is used to enforce curfew and travel restrictions. Correctional agencies also use electronic monitoring as an alternative sanction to jail or prison for violations of supervision conditions or to monitor offenders who are making the transition into the community after prison.
The Vermont General Assembly increased use of electronic monitoring to provide community supervision for certain offenders who otherwise would be incarcerated. A law authorized use of electronic monitoring for probation violations and as part of supervision provided in a structured, community transition program. In , the General Assembly created a house arrest sentence for offenders who otherwise would be sent to prison. This allows offenders to continue working, attend treatment, support their families, and remain in their residences except for travel approved by a supervising officer.
Electronic monitoring has been found to be a cost-effective supervision strategy when used in lieu of jail and in conjunction with appropriate services. A Washington State Institute for Public Policy WSIPP analysis of evidence-based policy options determined electronic monitoring to be an economically beneficial supervision tool that does not affect crime incidence. Residential Facilities Residential facilities provide offenders with a structured environment and support services in a community-based setting. Most facilities require offenders to keep a job, and pay room and board, state and federal taxes, and any restitution and child support owed.
Offenders participate in programs such as substance abuse treatment; counseling designed to address cognitive reasoning and criminal behavior; employment and vocational courses; and life skills, financial, and anger management training. A Department of Corrections analysis in FY found that employed offenders were three times more likely to finish the program than those who were unemployed, underscoring the importance of job readiness for community-based offenders.
Problem-Solving Courts Problem-solving courts were identified by state chief justices and court administrators in a National Center for State Courts survey as one of the two most effective supervision programs available in their states; mental health and substance abuse programs are the other.
These courts, which vary in size, target population and structure, are designed to address the special needs of the target population. At least six state legislatures—Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Nevada and Texas—took action in and to authorize courts that address needs of veterans who become involved in the criminal justice system. California, Iowa, New Hampshire and Oregon have similar policies that authorize diversion of veterans convicted of nonviolent crimes into treatment programs in lieu of prison.
Drug courts are the oldest and most common type of problem-solving courts—in there were more than 2, such courts operating across all 50 states, according to the National Association of Drug Court Professionals. Studies comparing drug court participants to similar offenders who are not enrolled have found criminal justice system savings as a result of reduced prison and jail time, lower re-arrest and re-conviction rates, and decreased victim and law enforcement costs.
Other benefits—such as increased employment rates and wage earnings, reduced health care costs, and increased parental participation and payment of child support—also have been noted. Studies of statewide drug court programs reveal that, while some drug courts cost more than typical court dockets or probation caseloads, the specialty courts still are more cost-effective than jail or prison. As policymakers explore the value of drug courts, they also can be aware of opportunities for improvement. A two-year examination of problem-solving courts by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers resulted in a report that questioned the effectiveness of drug courts in addressing the societal problems of substance abuse.
The report also cautioned about procedural matters and questioned whether drug court case- loads are adequately diverse and if clients are predominately those with the greatest need for intensive judicial supervision and treatment services see also Determining Criminal Sentences and Treating Drug Offenders.
As suggested in the Principles, policymakers can improve the effectiveness of intermediate and alternative sanctions both by ensuring that approaches are evidence-based and by requiring that community resources safely target offenders who can most benefit from community interventions in lieu of prison. Probation and Parole Violations Offenders sent to prison for probation and parole violations contribute substantially to state prison populations and related costs. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 35 percent of all state prison admissions in were offenders who returned to incarceration as a result of parole violations.
Although some violators must be returned to prison to protect society, a growing number of states are developing non-prison sanctions for offenders who break the rules of their supervision, known as technical violations.
Alternative sanctions for probation and parole violators are designed to hold offenders accountable for breaking the rules, address issues related to the violations, and minimize the cost of incarceration to the state. Intermediate options allow a violator to remain in the community, continue to work, and pay restitution and child support. Sanctions include residential and community-based treatment programs, specialty court supervision, house arrest, electronic monitoring, work release, community service, secure and residential facilities, increased monitoring and reporting, and possible short periods in jail.
Several states have statutorily authorized community supervision agencies to impose intermediate sanctions for technical violations of probation or parole in lieu of formal court revocation proceedings see Figure 3. Administrative sanctions allow violations to be swiftly dealt with at the agency level. This not only reduces time and costs of court and parole board hearings, but also provides for offender accountability and reduces reliance on prison as a sanction. A evaluation by the Department of Corrections found that offenders who were ordered to community sanctions had lower rates of future re-conviction than those ordered to jail; those ordered to community service had the lowest rate of re-conviction among all community-based options.
The overall evaluation conclusions noted that the most effective sanctions include a rehabilitative component. Several states have secure facilities that are designed to house and treat probation or parole violators instead of sending them to prison, as shown in Figure 3. Parolees who violate a condition of parole but have not committed a new felony may be sent to a secure facility for a six-month term to participate in a community service work crew or attend GED classes during the day and complete treatment programs in the evening.
Tennessee offers probation violators the opportunity to complete programming in a Special Technical Violator Unit STVU in lieu of revocation to a state prison. In the STVU, the probationer will participate for at least four months in an intensive work and treatment program. As of , New Hampshire requires that all programs and services provided at a parole violator facility be evidence-based and designed to re-engage parolees in their parole plan.
Prison populations are beginning to decline as a result of changes in front-end sentencing policies, availability of strategies to provide community-based sanctions for probation and parole violators, and specialized court and other treatment programs for drug offenders and those with mental health and other needs. Some states have created funding mechanisms to reinvest prison savings into programs that safely and successfully supervise offenders in the community.
The goal is to reduce the rate at which probationers and parolees commit new crimes or violate their supervision conditions and are then sent or returned to prison. In Kansas, a Risk Reduction Initiative adopted by the Legislature in was designed to increase offender success by reducing the number of revocations to state prison by at least 20 percent. To accomplish this, a grant program was established for local probation agencies that developed risk- reduction supervision and programming.
Careful assessment is used to assign offenders to the appropriate level and type of substance abuse, mental health, cognitive and other treatment. The first round of funding in FY went to all 31 probation agencies in the state. By FY , the Department of Corrections reported a 25 percent decrease in revocations to prison compared to the FY baseline; this exceeded the initial goal of 20 percent reduction. In , the California Legislature created a performance-based state-local funding partnership.
Success is measured in terms of decreases in the number of probationers sent to prison for technical violations or new crimes. Continued funding under the act depends upon the rate at which the revocations decline. Each year, counties will be eligible to receive a portion of state savings achieved by reducing the number of prison admissions. These funding strategies are examples of ones that, related to Principle 4, help states partner with local jurisdictions to create incentives for and hold accountable community programs and services.
Other state community supervision strategies are risk- and resource-sensitive in terms of identifying offenders who are not serious criminals, pose little threat and can be safely sanctioned at lower levels of supervision. State policies provide for administrative supervision, which consists of minimal reporting and monitoring requirements so long as restitution is being paid and the offender remains crime- and drug-free.
Other policies move offenders who comply with their supervision conditions to less active supervision or provide an opportunity for early termination of the community supervision term. Table 1 identifies additional information on policies for supervising low-risk offenders. Limiting and decreasing supervision and services for lower-risk offenders focuses resources more effectively on higher-risk offenders, and are among the strategies states can consider that, as suggested in the Principles, update and adapt criminal codes to reflect current standards and needs.
Table 1. Options for Supervising Low-Risk Offenders. Minimal reporting requirements; monitoring to ensure court-ordered payments are being made and no new criminal activity occurs. Kentucky created an administrative caseload supervision program in for low-risk offenders who are identified via risk assessment.
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Offender is assigned to a supervision level based on offense, compliance with supervision conditions and risk assessment scores. In New Hampshire, risk assessments guide both the level of supervision and time spent at each level of supervision. For example, a low- or medium-risk offender will be placed on active supervision for the first 12 months and, if compliant, moved to administrative supervision for the remainder of the term. Gives courts discretion to review and grant early termination of a probation or parole sentence.
Often requires the offender to have paid restitution in full and completed all pro- gram and treatment requirements. Includes use of structured, swift and incremental sanctions for violations of super- vision, and incentives such as early termination for compliance. Provides probationers or parolees with a monthly credit for compliance with supervision requirements.
Nevada law permits certain probationers to earn 10 days per month for complying with supervision requirements and staying on schedule with all court-ordered fee and restitution payments. An additional 10 days per month can be earned for maintaining employment and participating in education or rehabilitation programs.
In , Delaware limited probation sentences to two years for any violent felony, 18 months for drug offenses and one year for all other offenses. Previous law did not set an upper limit on probation terms, and lengthy probation sentences were common. Source: Tex.
Laws, Chap. Acts, Chap. The variety of strategies described help states safely and cost-effectively manage many offenders in the com- munity. Community corrections resources can be maximized with other risk- and resource-sensitive policies that focus the most supervision and services on offenders who need to be watched most closely and who have significant needs that can be addressed in the community. Inmates incarcerated for drug offenses make up about 20 percent of state prison populations, but more than half of all inmates meet the criteria for drug abuse or dependence, according to a report of the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics.
Despite high rates of addiction among offenders, few receive treatment in prison. Many state legislatures are addressing the drug-crime connection with policies that divert appropriate drug offenders to treatment. Kansas addressed high rates of drug abuse among criminal offenders in by requiring a community-based drug treatment sentence for certain non- violent drug offenders. Offenders may be placed in residential and outpatient treatment settings, receive substance abuse aftercare services, and face sanctions for violating community supervision requirements.
The state established a special fund to support supervision and treatment costs, and offenders make court- ordered payments if it is determined they can do so. The Texas Legislature has increased funding to community-based treatment options in recent years.
An evidence-based continuum of care model has been established to provide a variety of secure and community-based treatment options to address both substance abuse and mental health needs of probationers. Supervision officers use assessment tools to appropriately place offenders in the least restrictive setting available without compromising public safety. Other states also have created pre- and post-charge diversion programs and have expanded secure residential treatment.
In Minnesota, certain first-time, low-level drug possession and sale offenders are placed on probation in a pre-conviction program that focuses on alcohol and drug abuse education. Courts there also can offer a post-conviction program for higher-level drug possession and sale offenders who are supervised on a probation sentence.
This success prompted the Legislature in to authorize expansion to other superior courts; those eligible are first-time, nonviolent felony drug offenders. The Bureau of Justice Assistance has reported the Back on Track program to be an evidence-based strategy that combines offender accountability and opportunity for self-improvement. In addition to treatment services, the program includes training in a variety of vocational and life skills.
The law required that more information be made available to judges about the substance abuse needs of defendants and expanded community-based treatment options in the state. Eligible offenders are those convicted of a felony or felons being released on parole for the first time whose assessments identify them to be in need of substance abuse services. Human services and criminal justice agencies collaborate to create and implement individual plans that include treatment and intensive supervision. The state continues to find high rates of treatment completion among participants. A trio of options is available in Idaho to treat drug-addicted offenders in a secure setting.
The treatment options vary in length and intensity, and offenders are placed in one of the programs based on assessment.
These offenders include probationers and parolees who violate the conditions of supervision. The second option, a day program, addresses a broader range of issues related to criminal behavior, including substance abuse, mental health, education, and employment issues. The most intense program is based on a therapeutic community treatment model. It targets offenders who have more chronic or serious criminal histories and chronic substance abuse is- sues.
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Tools Request permission Export citation Add to favorites Track citation. A spokesman for Cannizzaro's office called it misleading to compare parishes in their use of the law. Bowman described the repeat-offender law as "a useful tool that we don't use at every opportunity. We use it in a small minority of cases in which a defendant is actually eligible to receive it. The data show that sentencing under the habitual-offender law has trended upward, though they list only the leading jurisdictions for and , the year after Hurricane Katrina, when Orleans Parish notched just 10 prison admissions under the statute.
Those figures show the same trends. They also indicate that Cannizzaro, a former judge who assumed the Orleans DA post in , ratcheted up sentencing under the statute two years later. His prosecutors applied it to convictions on criminal counts in That rose to counts in before tapering off to last year.
Montgomery said use of the statute in St. Tammany and Washington parishes peaked last year under practices that lingered from his predecessor, former longtime DA Walter Reed. Montgomery said he sometimes uses the habitual-offender law as a threat for defendants to abide by the terms of diversion or drug court programs, but he leans away from using a law he described as "a big hammer. If someone burglarizes homes over and over, that person is preying on people. Connick's office declined to comment Friday on the data, which an official said the office had not yet reviewed.
East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore, whose office turned to the habitual-offender law just three times last year, according to the state data, said he reserved its use for extreme cases, like that of Donald Ray Dickerson, who was sentenced to life in May under the statute. Dickerson had three prior felonies on his record when a jury convicted him last year of second-degree battery in a brutal attack on Mother's Day three years ago. Dickerson beat a St. He counted four habitual offender cases from his office last year.