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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: May 28, 2015 03:58 PM
From: Senator Stewart J. Greenleaf
To: All Senate members
Subject: Consolidation of Corrections and Parole
In the near future, I intend to introduce legislation to consolidate the Department of Corrections and the Board of Probation and Parole. The combined agency will be called the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

The consolidation of these agencies will accomplish cost savings and increased efficiencies in the operations of our state prisons and parole services. Currently, the community corrections centers are operated and staffed by the Department of Corrections, but the residents of the centers are entirely parolees. The Board of Probation and Parole assigns institutional parole agents to work inside the state prisons. The Office of Victim Advocate is staffed and funded by both agencies. Given how much the operations of these agencies overlap, it makes sense to consolidate their resources while continuing to allow the Board to make independent decisions on parole.

This legislation will also lead to a reduction in recidivism. Studies consistently find that expediting prisoners’ release from prison and providing appropriate supervision decreases the likelihood that the prisoners will reoffend. Under my bill, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation will assume the supervision of parole agents and employ a broader range of tools to supervise parolees. There will be a requirement that parole agents receive training in social work so that they will be better equipped to guide parolees toward a law-abiding lifestyle.

Document #1

Introduced as SB859

This bill will amend the consolidated provisions of Title 42 and Title 61.  The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation will be authorized to create parole violator centers to expand its ability to work with parolees during the reentry process.  State parole agents will be appointed and supervised by the Department, but the Parole Board will continue to have the authority to establish the conditions of parole.  State parole agents will be required to receive training in social work, criminology, psychology, psychiatry, and criminal justice.

Document #2

Introduced as SB860

This bill will amend the unconsolidated Crime Victims Act to make technical changes.  The Office of Victim Advocate will be housed within the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation instead of the Parole Board.  The bill makes no substantive changes to the Crime Victims Act.