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1 _____ March 5, 2009 SC Sentencing Reform Commission Presenter South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster S206/H3166 _____.

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Presentation on theme: "1 _____ March 5, 2009 SC Sentencing Reform Commission Presenter South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster S206/H3166 _____."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 _____ March 5, 2009 SC Sentencing Reform Commission Presenter South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster S206/H3166 _____

2 2 Currently, A, B, C felonies or offense exempt from classification as enumerated in Section 16-1-10(d) with a twenty year maximum or more, have to serve 85% of the sentence before they are eligible for early release. It should be this way for all crimes in South Carolina. No Parole

3 3 End Parole For All Crimes Truth-In-Sentencing – When a court imposes a sentences everyone in the court should able to “mark down on their calendars” the earliest date the prisoner could be released. This should include parole and all credits available. No Parole has a deterrent effect. Prison Population Growth Rate Actually Declined After SC passed No Parole for some crimes in 1995. The prison growth rate ten years before No Parole was 90.9% and after it became law the prison population growth rate for ten years dropped to 22.9%.

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5 5 Only 14% of inmates that apply for parole are granted parole. Number of Inmates granted parole in 2008 was 610 or 4.8% of the total Department of Corrections (“DOC”) population. SOUTH CAROLINA’S PAROLE SYSTEM IS A REVOLVING DOOR

6 6 438 parolees were returned to prison in 2008 for violating the conditions of parole. The difference between those paroled and those returned to prison for parole violations = 172 inmates. Money running the parole portion of PPP could be used for probation or DOC. Victims should not have to come to Columbia to attend parole hearings year after year.

7 7 Who Is Parole Eligibility? Section 24-21-610 of the South Carolina Code: Non Violent: Parole Eligible after serving ¼ of the total sentence. Violent: (defined by Section 16-1-60) Trafficking First is the only violent crime that allows for parole after serving 1/3 of the total sentence or the mandatory minimum portion of the sentence, whichever is longer. Parole is not available for any other violent control.

8 8 Violent Crimes/Parole “Non Violent” Crimes/Parole

9 9 Virginia’s Historical and Projected State Responsible (Prison) Population 1993-2011 Date Inmates Percent Change Historical 1993 20,760 1994 23,648 13.9% 1995 27,364 15.7 1996 28,743 5.0 1997 28,743 0.0 1998 28,657 -0.3 1999 30,112* 5.1 2000 30,882* 2.6 2001 32,347* 4.7 2002 34,171* 5.6 2003 35,363* 3.5 2004 35,879* 1.5 2005 35,899 0.1 Projected 2006 36,329 1.2 2007 36,933 1.7 2008 37,513 1.6 2009 38,227 1.9 2010 39,082 2.2 2011 39,925 2.2 Date is June of each year **Virginia Sentencing Commission Annual Report 2005

10 10 A Guide to Virginia’s No Parole Results Virginia does not have the Middle Court

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23 23 Credits Good Time: -20 days for every 30 days unless No Parole. Section 24-3-210 - No Parole Offenders are can earn a 15% reduction for good time. Section 24-12-150.

24 24 WORK CREDITS SECTION 24-13-230 High Level Jobs 1 day off for every 2 days worked. Lowest Jobs 1 days off for every 7 days worked. No Parole Offenders can not work down the time below 85%.

25 25 A Washington Post article on February 29, 2008 by N.C. Aizenman about prison populations said, “Among the early innovators that states can look to is Virginia, which overhauled its system for sentencing nonviolent offenders in the mid-1990s. Although the state’s incarceration rate remains relatively high, Virginia has managed to slow the growth rate of its prison population substantially and reduce the share of its budget spent on corrections while still reducing the crime rate.”

26 26 Middle Court Some Non Violent Offenders should have an alternative to prison Cost $3500 for completion. (Ave. time in program 12 to 18 months) Some of this is offset by the offender paying. Prison cost $16,500 a year. Drug Court: 91% will not re-offend. Prison: 85% will re-offend within 10 years.

27 27 HOW MIDDLE COURT WORKS Must be sentenced to at least 90 days at the DOC. Active Sentence suspended per acceptance into the program. Application for admission made to Circuit Court Judge. Anyone can oppose the acceptance to middle court, this includes the solicitor and/or victims. Circuit Court Judge either accept or denies the application. Circuit Court Judge transfers offender to the Middle Court Judge.

28 28 Judges Middle Court Judge is recommended to the Supreme Court for approval. Serves with out pay but does get a per diem and exemption from 608 appointments. Has the ability to send someone to county jail for up to seven days, immediately for not following along with the program. (failing drugs tests, not seeking employment or education, etc.) Can also have other punishment methods.

29 29 THE PROCESS Participant Goes Through Three Stages: 1st Stage is intense weekly court hearings and other support group meetings almost daily. 2 nd Stage is geared down with court every other week and more time on their own. 3 rd Stage the court hearings are less frequent as the offender transitions away from supervision. The judge collects input from the counselors as to progress being made and then decides if the offender should graduate to the next stage or not.

30 30 Additional Facts Conviction is not expunged upon completion. If the offender fails out by the Middle Court Judge he immediately starts serving his the suspended sentence with no credit given for his middle court time. They offender waives any right to appeal the Middle Court Judge’s decisions.

31 31 ADDITIONAL SUGGESTIONS Require the courts, with the help of DOC, to calculate the minimum amount of time an inmate will serve and announce this at sentencing. This is real Truth In Sentencing. Do Not allow inmates to appeal the removal of good time/education/work credit to the courts. The DOC should be the final say on this process. Add prosecutors and defenders to this committee.

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