Presentation on theme: "Background The Sentencing Commission is a public governor and legislature- appointed body whose purpose is to study Louisiana sentencing and incarceration."— Presentation transcript:
Background The Sentencing Commission is a public governor and legislature- appointed body whose purpose is to study Louisiana sentencing and incarceration practices in order to propose legislative and administrative steps to reduce incarceration rates while also decreasing recidivism. The Commission also educates judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and probation and parole officers about Louisiana substantive and procedural law and criminal best practices. The Commission’s work is currently conducted through four workgroups: Front End, Release Mechanisms, Reentry, and Information and technology.
Notable 2011 Reforms Enhanced Pardon and Parole Process to aid in effective decision making Enhanced the pardon and parole process to ensure that members of the Pardon Board and Parole Board are equipped with the tools they need to make proper clemency decisions. This legislation added the warden or deputy warden of the institution in which an offender is housed as an ex officio member of the Pardon Board when that offender applies for clemency. This enhanced the decision making process of the Pardon Board by adding a person who is in the best position to provide information relative to the offender’s conduct while incarcerated, their institutional adjustment and program participation. Enhanced the Parole Board by requiring the members to complete initial training upon appointment to the board and to complete eight hours of annual training consistent with courses offered by the National Institute of Corrections or the American Probation and Parole Association. Members of the Parole Board will now receive training in areas such as the parole process, use of risk assessment tools and the dynamics of criminal victimization. Authorized the Department of Corrections to establish a validated risk and needs assessment tool. This tool is used to guide the department, parole board and agents of the department in determining supervision management and strategies for offenders as well as case planning and treatment decisions to address criminal risk factors and reduce an offenders chance of reoffending. Created Home Incarceration Reporting Requirements: amended the home incarceration statute to create reporting requirements for providers of home incarceration and electronic monitoring services, so that the sentencing court, the sheriff of the parish in which the offender is placed on supervision and the Department of Corrections will be notified of the court’s order and will now be able to track their use. Previously, the department had no information as to how many offenders have been sentenced to home incarceration or electronic monitoring, or data to determine the success or failure of such supervision. This legislation provides the department invaluable information and helps them identify possible efficiencies for future use.
Revised and consolidated the provisions concerning “good time” Previously, offenders earned “good time” while incarcerated for their good behavior in jail and for participating in educational and vocational programs. However, the multiple provisions governing “good time” made it difficult for judges, prosecutors, crime victims and defendants to know exactly how much good time an offender would earn for any given sentence. This bill clarified the provisions governing this crucial area of law in our criminal justice system in order for all stakeholders to be able to accurately determine the time an offender will serve in prison. Created Administrative Sanctions Process: Created the process to allow probation and parole officers to punish probationers and parolees with administrative sanctions for technical violations of their supervision conditions. Administrative sanctions will reduce recidivism and ensure better compliance with supervision conditions through quicker responses to technical violations. Parole Eligibility for First time Felony Offenders Previously, first time felony offenders were required to serve at least 33% of their imposed sentence before becoming eligible for parole. This legislation allowed first-time non-violent, non-sex offense offenders to become eligible for parole after serving 25% of their sentence.
Notable 2012 reforms Increased prosecutorial discretion in regard to mandatory minimums The current criminal code provides many sentences that carry “mandatory minimums” in which an offender must be sentenced to a term of incarceration without the benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence. The code also provides for many mandatory minimum penalties and fines that an offender must pay. The prosecution is now able to enter into a plea agreement or post-conviction agreement with the defendant in which they can agree to a sentence that can be served with the benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence or a reduced penalty or fine. However, they cannot provide parole benefits greater than that provided in current law. This new ability does not apply to offenders arrested for crimes of violence or sex offenses. Merged the pardon and parole boards and eliminated the risk review panels In 2012, the Department of Corrections requested the Association of State Correctional Administrators conduct a survey of other states’ pardon board structure. Of the states that responded, 19 had boards with combined pardon and parole functions. Statutorily moved the duties of the Parole Board and placed them under the Pardon Board. Similar to the Ethics Board members also functioning as the Supervisory Committee on Campaign Disclosure Laws, the Pardon Board members now function as the new “Committee on Parole” and exercise the functions of granting or denying parole to incarcerated offenders. Merging the parole board into the pardon board created a gross savings of over $275,000. Risk Review Panels, were essentially an extra layer of bureaucracy in the clemency process. When a panel determined an offender is not a risk to society, they made a recommendation that the person be consider for parole or pardon. However, their recommendation was not binding on either the parole or pardon board and it is not always concurred in by either board. Furthermore, the new risk assessment tool established by a Louisiana Sentencing Commission proposal from 2011 legislative session now objectively determine the risk posed by an offender and whether that offender is ready to be paroled or have his sentence commuted.
Expanded re-entry courts to the 19th JDC and the 22nd JDC This reform allowed district court judges in the 19th and 22nd judicial districts to create re-entry court divisions and these divisions now allow offenders to participate in rehabilitation and workforce development programs taught at Angola. Offenders who are habitual offenders or have been convicted of a sex offense or a crime of violence are ineligible to participate in the program. In order to participate in the program, the offender must plead guilty and participate in the courts re-entry, rehabilitation and workforce development program. These programs enable offenders to learn trade skills, gain an education and develop life-skills. These offenders are housed at Angola and taught by other offenders who have graduated from Angola’s Campus of the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary or other offenders who are certified in the programs they teach. Upon successful completion of the program, the offender petitions the court for reconsideration of sentence and the court will then resentence the offender to probation and place him on intensive re-entry supervision. If the offender does not succeed, then the court must sentence him to serve the remainder of his sentence in prison. Reduced time an offender must serve until they are parole eligible Louisiana’s non-violent; non-sex offense offenders are a significant driver of Louisiana’s prison population. These offenders are taking up bed space and consume resources that could be better used to target violent, high-risk offenders and fund other priorities such as re-entry services and probation and parole supervision. As of 11/1/10, 45% of the confined population was incarcerated because of a drug or property offense. Over 70% of the prison admissions in calendar year 2009 were for drug or property offenses. Previously, prior to becoming parole eligible, first time felony offenders were required to serve at least 33% of their imposed sentence, second time felony offenders were required to serve 50% of their imposed sentence and third time felony offenders were not eligible for parole. Parole eligibility only gives the offender a hearing before the parole board, and does not guarantee they will be released from prison. The current grant rate of the parole board is about 30%. Good Time calculation revision This legislation altered the computations of time to allow non-violent offenders to serve 6% more of their sentence on parole supervision rather than in prison (from 54% to 60% of the total sentence on supervision). These offenders previously earned good time at a rate of 35 days for 30 days, and this reform changed this to earning good time at a rate of 1.5 days for 1 day. Essentially, these offenders now spend about an extra 22 days per year on parole supervision.
Notable 2013 Reforms Created Early Release program for certain Drug Offenders Authorized the Secretary of DOC to grant Early/Conditional release to first, or second offenders currently incarcerated for possession or possession with intent to distribute drugs to intense parole supervision who meet the following criteria: ○ Non-Sex, Non-Violent, First and Second Offenders (for possession or possession with intent to distribute controlled dangerous substances-), who have served at least 2 years (as of 7/1/2013) and ○ whose release date is within ONE year ○ Successful completion of a 90 day chemical dependency treatment program prior to the scheduled early release.
Authorized DOC to create a Substance Abuse Probation Program for certain eligible Drug Offenders The program model requires judges to suspend a sentence and place an offender on probation with treatment as a condition of probation for certain offenders meeting a series of eligibility criteria The DOC monitoring and treatment program is closely modeled after the Drug Court Probation program- using third party substance abuse treatment providers as well as Administrative Sanctions to mirror the Drug Court’s swift accountability and graduated sanctions. Eliminated certain restrictions on eligibility for consideration for Drug Court
Attempted Theft Amended the attempt theft statute (R.S. 14:27) to make the threshold amounts for a particular sentence consistent with that for the theft statute (R.S. 14:67). Before this bill the threshold for attempted theft was lower than for the completed offense Simple Escape Eliminates the mandatory consecutive sentencing for the simple escape from work release (transitional work program) returning discretion to the sentencing judge. OWI This bill permits OWI (R.S. 14:98) offenders to be sentenced through a drug court model and made adjustments to the administrative proceedings Risk/Need Assessment at Sentencing (Pilot program in the 22 nd JDC) This instrument sets up a pilot program in the Twenty-Second Judicial District Court for the use of a validated risk/needs assessment tool pre sentence for use by the court in sentencing.
Areas of Interest for 2013/2014 Parole Eligibility for Elderly offenders Medical Parole for certain terminally ill inmates Mandatory Minimums Expansion of Drug Court Eligibility Cleansing Period for 3 rd offenders Continue to research and collect data regarding factors driving Louisiana’s incarceration and recidivism rates.