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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: December 19, 2017 04:05 PM
From: Senator Stewart J. Greenleaf
To: All Senate members
Subject: Justice Reinvestment Initiative Legislation
 
I will be introducing legislation that originates from the work of the bipartisan, interbranch Justice Reinvestment Working Group of 37 members, including state lawmakers and agency leaders, judiciary members, probation and county government officials, district attorneys and public defenders, and law enforcement representatives. The group met five times between March and December 2016 to review analyses conducted by the Council of State Governments Justice Center and discuss policy options.



Document #1

Introduced as SB1070

Description: This bill will create a County Adult Probation and Parole Advisory Committee, and allow counties to retain all supervision fees they collect.
 
According to a 2015 report from the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee, 86% of all probation and parole cases are under the jurisdiction of county probation departments.  As of December 31, 2013, county probation and parole offices supervised 233,345 offenders, compared to 39,036 offenders at the state level.  The probation and parole population (both state and county) account for 72% of the entire criminal offender population in Pennsylvania.  Meanwhile, many new responsibilities have been placed on county probation and parole offices with little or no additional funding.  Unlike juvenile probation departments, which receive guidance and IT support from the Juvenile Court Judges Commission, adult county probation departments have no central agency to organize them and implement uniform best practices.
 
The bill will amend the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency Law in two ways.  It would add the County Adult Probation and Parole Advisory Committee, which would advise PCCD on funding, standards and training for county adult probation and parole departments. The bill also revises the Justice Reinvestment funding mechanism to account for savings expected from another bill in the package.  It seeks to distribute funding for increased victim compensation ($250,000 annually) and to provide resources to meaningfully improve county adult probation and parole (increasing to $20 million annually in 5 years).
 
Finally, the bill will amend the Crime Victims Act to allow counties to maintain 100% of supervision fees in a local restricted receipts account.
 
Please join me in cosponsoring this legislation to equip our county probation departments with the resources they need.
 
 

Document #2

Introduced as SB1071

Description: This bill will generate significant savings for the Department of Corrections by streamlining the process for placement in State Intermediate Punishment, allowing parole agents to quickly detain parolees for violations, and streamlining the process for paroling people who receive a short sentence to prison.
 
The bill seeks to change State Intermediate Punishment to its more common and accurate description in statute, the “State drug treatment program.” It retains the current law of ineligible offenses, but to expand usage, amends the selection process from an elaborate sentencing option to a simpler DOC placement (similar to the provisions for the Department’s motivational boot camp). The bill allows the judge to affirmatively prevent DOC placement in the program, after considering any prosecutor objections.
 
My legislation includes multiple amendments to remove county probation from the responsibilities of the Board of Probation and Parole, and rename it the Parole Board, in connection with another bill in the package, which creates the County Adult Probation and Parole Advisory Committee.
 
The bill provides new authority for parole agents to detain a parolee for up to five days, and allows for use of video technology for parole process interactions.  The bill will not change existing law requiring that all interactions by the Parole Board with victims take place in person.
 
Finally, the bill provides new authority governing short-sentence parole.

Please join me in cosponsoring this important legislation.
 
 
 

Document #3

Description: This bill will revise sentencing laws and the direction that the General Assembly gives to the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing.
 
The bill seeks to amend the directions to the Commission on Sentencing to conduct more extensive examination of criminal history scoring as a factor in the guidelines and provide more guidance for different features of sentencing such as terms of probation and split sentences.  It amends their requirement for guidelines for county intermediate punishment to reflect a narrower meaning for county intermediate punishment and to call for a commission role in monitoring the use of state-funded restrictive conditions of probation. It requires parole guidelines to utilize risk of recidivism to prioritize among longer-sentenced inmates for parole interviews.  It amends two statutes to conform to repeal of State Intermediate Punishment as a sentencing option, in another bill in the package.
 
The bill simplifies sentencing options by eliminating State Intermediate Punishment and County Intermediate Punishment (CIP) as separate sentencing options, updating the purposes for total confinement, and establishing a uniform list of probation conditions. That list would define permissible conditions of probation, and defines CIP as the more restrictive range of probation conditions. It would retain CIP as a method of funding local restrictive sanctions while undoing its role as a separate sentencing option, and requires evaluation of county eligibility for state CIP funding to include review of compliance information collected by the Commission on Sentencing.  The bill would simplify probation violation sanctions to 5 days for technical violations, to mirror proposed parole law in another bill in the package.
 
My legislation will also change motivational boot camp selection so that the judge can prevent placement in the program by the DOC, rather than having to affirmatively determine eligibility.

Please join me in cosponsoring this important legislation to improve our system of sentencing.
 
 

Document #4

Introduced as SB1072

Description: This bill amends the Crime Victims Act to better provide information and compensation to victims.
 
The bill updates the definitions in the Act, adding notice of the Address Confidentiality Program, and providing a right to notice of placement in the state drug offender treatment program, as provided for by another bill in the package. The bill would shift the burden of notifying the victim of his or her rights from a law enforcement agency to the individual officer, and adds to the prosecutor’s duties to provide notification on behalf of the victim to the Office of Victim Advocate.
 
For victim compensation, the bill changes the statute of limitations for making claim from 2 to 3 years and allow for a good faith extension, and to decrease the minimum loss from $100 to $50. It grants flexibility in the amount of emergency awards, adds eligibility for recipients of sexual violence and intimidation order, adds crime scene clean-up for vehicles, and excuses victims under 18 from requirement to use insurance. It clarifies the reporting requirement to be eligible for compensation, and merges the Crime Victims Compensation Fund and Victim Witness Services Fund into a single, non-lapsing fund.
  
Please join me in cosponsoring this important legislation for crime victims in the Commonwealth.