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Senate Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: March 7, 2019 03:20 PM
From: Senator Thomas H. Killion
To: All Senate members
Subject: Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI2) Legislation – Improving Sentencing Process
In the past decade, we have taken a Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI) approach to reduce corrections spending and reinvest savings in strategies to reduce recidivism and improve public safety.

In 2012, the General Assembly approved Act 122 and Act 196, based on a JRI policy framework. Since that time, our state agencies and other criminal justice system stakeholders have made policy implementation a priority. The General Assembly established a bipartisan, interbranch Justice Reinvestment Working Group under the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD). This group conducted a comprehensive analysis of extensive data and did much to develop policy options for the General Assembly’s consideration.

In 2018, Senator Stewart Greenleaf introduced a package of bills aimed to build upon the success of JRI in the form of SB 1070, SB 1071, and SB 1072. This second phase of reform would help further reduce the prison population and help continue to save millions in taxpayer dollars. All three bills were unanimously approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 19, 2018; and unanimously approved by the full Senate on April 25, 2018. The Senate also approved House Bill 285 PN 4272, which contained language similar to SB 1071, by a vote of 48-1 on October 17, 2018. These bills were not considered by the House prior to the last scheduled voting Session day in the 2017-2018 Session.

We remain focused on the second phase of JRI2 reform, and are hopeful to continue to build upon our accomplishments and successes. In the near future, we intend to re-introduce this package of bills in the form of three pieces of legislation.

This particular piece of legislation will be similar to SB 1071 PN 1708 of the 2017-2018 Legislative Session which was co-sponsored by the following Senators: Leach, Hughes, Schwank, Yudichak, Browne and Street.

Specifically, this bill would generate significant savings for the Pennsylvania 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. This bill would also revise sentencing laws and the direction that the General Assembly gives to the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing; improving our system of sentencing.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this legislation.

Introduced as SB501