Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Understanding Prison Sentences

Similar presentations

Presentation on theme: "Understanding Prison Sentences"— Presentation transcript:

1 Understanding Prison Sentences
Chris Florian Deputy General Counsel South Carolina Department of Corrections

2 Call Us First Find out projected maxout and parole dates for a hypothetical sentence. We can review the sentencing order to ensure it will have the intended result. SCDC General Counsel: Internet sentence calculator:

3 Calculation of Release Dates
Or Why a Manual Sentence Calculation Looks Like a Tax Return

4 The Distinction between Parole Eligibility Date and Maxout Date
Earliest opportunity for release Derived from total sentence Determination made by parole board Offender continues to serve sentence under supervision by SCDPPPS Date calculated by SCDC based on statutory criteria as interpreted by SCDPPPS Maxout Date End of prison sentence Derived from incarcerative sentence May be followed by supervision by SCDPPPS

5 Calculating a Maxout Date
3 types of offenses Parolable offenses 85% offenses Day-for-day

6 Parolable Sentences Felony D and lesser offenses with no mandatory minimum Typical offender will serve between 51% and 65% before maxout Service Time Good Time Credits – SC Code § 20 days per month if disciplinary free Can lose earned credits for a disciplinary offense Earned Work/Education Credits – § Amount varies Maximum is 1 day for every 2 days employed or enrolled Service Time Good Time Work Credits

7 85% Sentences “No parole” offenses S.C. Code § 24-13-100
Defined as Class A, B, or C felonies, or offenses exempt from classification Any offense punishable by 20 years or more Cannot be released until served 85% of the sentence Service Time Good Time Credits – SC Code § 3 days per month if disciplinary free Earned Work/Education Credits – § 6 days per month if participating Includes offenses with special parole eligibility provisions in S.C. Code and -375. ALC is split on this issue On appeal to the Court of Appeals

8 Day-for-day offenses Offenses with mandatory minimum periods of incarceration that must be served day-for-day. Cannot reduce service time below mandatory minimum through earned work credits or good time credits. Example: Nelson v. Ozmint, 390 S.C. 432, 702 S.E.2d 369 (2010) Requires day-for-day service on CDV 3rd. Service Time

9 Sentence Calculation on the Internet
Start at






15 The Final Word on an Inmate’s Sentence…Most of the Time
The Sentencing Order The Final Word on an Inmate’s Sentence…Most of the Time

16 Sentencing Order vs. Pronouncement, Part I
Boan v. State, 388 S.C. 272, 695 S.E.2d 850 (2010) Oral pronouncement: 20 years plus 10 years consecutive Written order: 30 years plus 10 years consecutive “In a situation such as the one on appeal, due process requires the judge's oral pronouncement control over a conflicting written sentencing order.”

17 Sentencing Order vs. Pronouncement, Part II
Tant v. SCDC, 408 S.C. 334, 759 S.E.2d 398 (2014) Oral pronouncement: = 40 years 6 5-year terms to run consecutively to each other Or was it? Written order: = 15 Silent as to whether the 5 year terms run consecutively to each other Letter from judge: 40 years “The sentencing sheets were signed by the judge and both attorneys without objection and are assumed to memorialize the judge's intention no less than what was pronounced from the bench. We see no reason why the Department should not be able to rely on unambiguous sentencing sheets as indicative of the intended sentence.” Oral pronouncement and written order found ambiguous. Rule of lenity. Letter was a nullity because judge no longer had jurisdiction Boan limited to its facts

18 The Most Common Source of Sentencing Problems
Jail Time Credit The Most Common Source of Sentencing Problems

19 Jail Time – What credit counts?
Full credit must be given for time served prior to trial and sentencing. S.C. Code Sentencing judge’s refusal to give credit is an error of law. State v. Boggs, 388 S.C. 314, 696 S.E.2d 597 (Ct. App. 2010) Offender gets credit for time in custody even if arrest warrant for particular offense has not been served. Blakeney v. State, 339 S.C. 86, 529 S.E.2d 9 (2009)

20 Jail Time – What does not count?
Time on escape. S.C. Code Time before offense is charged. Crooks v. State, 326 S.C. 171, 485 S.E.2d 374 (1997). Pre-conviction time if sentenced pursuant to YOA. S.C. Code Time while serving a sentence for one offense while awaiting trial on another A subsequent concurrent sentence

21 Subsequent Concurrent Sentences
Sentence A Sentence B Under the statute (SC Code § ), the second sentence starts on the date of sentencing! Running them concurrently doesn’t change the jail time credit.

22 Jail Time – Court’s Authority
The Court may designate specific time for commencement of service of sentence. S.C. Code SCDC is obligated to follow the court’s order. Mention v. SCDC, unpublished S.Ct. order filed October 20, 1999.

23 Jail Time – Setting a Sentence Start Date
Sentence A Sentence B Avoiding the subsequent concurrent sentence problem. Set sentence start date to same start date as sentence already being served Indicate in the “Other” section of the sentencing sheet

24 Jail Time Credit – House Arrest
Sentencing judge has discretion whether to award credit: In every case in computing the time served by a prisoner, full credit against the sentence must be given for time served prior to trial and sentencing, and may be given for any time spent under monitored house arrest. S.C. Code If it’s on the written order, the defendant will get credit

25 How an Indeterminate Sentence Is Determined
Youthful Offender Act How an Indeterminate Sentence Is Determined

26 Eligibility for YOA Must be less than 25 years old at time of conviction Cannot be a violent offense Listed in SC Code Except for burglary 2nd, violent (more on this in a minute) Cannot be a Class A, B, C, or exempt felony Crimes punishable by 15 years or less

27 Youthful Offender Program
Access to additional programs Release determined by administrative release authority Offender serves a minimum period of incarceration corresponding to seriousness of offense 6 months to 12 months from assignment of ISO Offenses categorized by seriousness at: Administrative release authority approves/disapproves YOA parole Considers recommendations from community, victim(s), and institution

28 YOA after Relase Supervision for at least one year
Evaluated for unconditional discharge by release authority after one year

29 YOA: Special Rules for Burglary 2nd
S.C. Code has a 3-year mandatory minimum for YOA 2nd degree burglary sentences. Both violent and non-violent. Persons convicted of 2nd degree burglary and sentenced under YOA must serve 3 years, day-for- day.

30 YOA: The Non-Conforming Sentence
Non-conforming means the offender was not eligible for a YOA sentence, but the sentencing judge ordered YOA Offenders are typically incarcerated at least 3 years

31 Shock Incarceration Program

32 Eligibility for Shock Eligibility is evaluated by SCDC
No convictions for violent or no parole offenses No previous service at SCDC Physically and mentally able to participate

33 Shock Program Ninety day incarcerative program
Following incarceration offenders are released under parole supervision

34 Addiction Treatment Unit
Referrals and Available Programs

35 Addiction Treatment Unit
All offenders are screened for placement into the ATU If ordered by the sentencing judge, offender will have higher priority Otherwise, offenders who are referred are placed randomly as bedspace is available Offenders must have at least 9 months until their maxout to be eligible

36 Concurrent Federal and State Sentences
Will they really run concurrently?

37 Concurrent Federal and State Sentences: The Problem
Will they really run concurrently? The federal rule: 18 USC § 3585 Federal sentence starts when defendant arrives in federal custody BOP does not defer to State sentencing order BOP typically accepts custody only if they have “primary jurisdiction” Primary jurisdiction is the first jurisdiction to make arrest.

38 Concurrent Federal and State Sentences: The Solution
Setser v. United States 132 S.Ct (2012) Coordinate with federal authorities BOP must follow federal orders The federal sentencing judge can order federal sentence be concurrent or concsecutive Even before State sentencing!

39 Common Law Escape or Statutory Escape
Automatic consecutive sentence?

40 Two Escape Offenses – the Problem
There are two possible escape offenses in South Carolina. Common law escape. State v. Walker, 311 S.C. 8, 426 S.E.2d 337 (Ct. App ) Statutory escape. SC Code § What are the rules for consecutive or concurrent sentencing?

41 Two Escape Offenses – the Solution
Statutory escape. Term of imprisonment must be consecutive to original sentence and sentences previously imposed. SC Code § (C). Will run consecutively unless order says otherwise. Common law escape. Penalty comes from S.C. Code § (sentence where no punishment is provided) “The court shall award such sentence as is conformable to the common usage and practice in this State, according to the nature of the offense, and not repugnant to the Constitution.” Will run concurrently unless order says otherwise.

42 Changes in Law Does an amended penalty apply to offenses committed before the amendment?

43 Changes in Sentencing Law
State v. Varner, 310 S.C. 264, 423 S.E.2d 133 (1992) Language of statute controls But if there is nothing in the statue: If the penalty is greater under new statute, apply law as of date of offense If the penalty is less under new statute, apply law as of date of sentencing State v. Dawson, 402 S.C. 160, 740 S.E.2d 501 (2013) 2010 Omnibus Act Savings clause unambiguously detail the Act's prospective application

44 Final Thoughts SCDC is not in court when defendant is sentenced; we are not part of the plea negotiations Use the sentencing sheet to make Court’s intent clear Use the “Other” part of the sentencing sheet We are happy to help in preparing a sentencing order to reflect Court’s intent

45 THE END Questions?

Download ppt "Understanding Prison Sentences"

Similar presentations

Ads by Google