SB 500-FN – FINAL VERSION
SENATE BILL 500-FN
SPONSORS: Sen. Larsen, Dist 15; Sen. Letourneau, Dist 19; Sen. Hassan, Dist 23; Sen. Bragdon, Dist 11; Sen. Reynolds, Dist 2; Rep. Norelli, Rock 16; Rep. Welch, Rock 8; Rep. Shurtleff, Merr 10; Rep. Kurk, Hills 7
This bill makes changes to the sentencing and hearings provisions and the nature and length of supervision used by probation and parole officers for probationers and parolees.
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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.
Matter removed from current law appears [
in brackets and struckthrough.]
Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.
STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Ten
AN ACT implementing changes in the probation, parole, and sentencing of certain offenders in an effort to increase public safety, strengthen community supervision, and reduce recidivism.
Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:
247:1 Findings: The general court finds that:
I. New Hampshire is one of the safest states in the country, with a low crime rate that has remained stable from fiscal years 1999 through 2009.
II. The state prison population has increased 31 percent and the annual department of corrections budget has doubled over this same time period from $52 million to $104 million.
III. Effective supervision of individuals under probation and parole supervision impacts public safety and the prison population.
IV. Revocations from parole have increased 50 percent since fiscal year 2000, and probation and parole revocations now account for 57 percent of all admissions to state prison.
V. A large number of people are held in prison beyond their minimum sentence date. Furthermore, 16 percent of people released from New Hampshire prisons completed their maximum sentence without receiving parole supervision.
247:2 Intent. The general court intends that this act will:
I. Increase public safety by lowering recidivism, reducing spending on corrections, and reinvesting in community-based treatment and sanction programs.
II. Focus community-based supervision resources on offenders under probation and parole supervision who are assessed as presenting high risk to community safety.
III. Make probation and parole supervision tough and smart by creating tools for probation and parole officers to use in reducing recidivism such as short, swift, and certain jail sanctions for supervising probationers and intermediate sanction programs for parolees in lieu of revocation to prison.
IV. Ensure everyone leaving prison receives at least 9 months of post-release supervision.
V. Reinvest a portion of corrections savings generated through these measures in the expansion of effective addiction and mental health treatment programs to ensure that probationers and parolees can have access to treatment that can reduce their likelihood to reoffend.
247:3 New Paragraph; Violation of the Terms of Probation or Parole. Amend RSA 504-A:4 by inserting after paragraph II the following new paragraph:
III. A probation or parole officer may require any probationer, whose sentence includes a one to 5 day jail sanction pursuant to RSA 651:2, V(i), to serve a county house of corrections sanction or a portion thereof, provided that the probationer is advised of and waives his or her right to counsel and to a preliminary hearing under RSA 504-A:5 and violation of probation hearing. If the probation officer intends to impose this sanction, the officer shall advise the offender of the violations alleged, the date or dates of the violation, and the number of days the offender shall serve. If the offender objects to the imposition of the jail sanction, a violation of probation hearing shall be held. This short jail stay may not be issued for any violation of probation which could warrant an additional, separate felony charge.
247:4 New Section; Probationers and Parolees; Risk Assessment and Length of Supervision. Amend RSA 504-A by inserting after section 14 the following new section:
504-A:15 Risk Assessment and Length of Supervision.
I. Every person placed on probation or parole shall be assessed by the department of corrections, using a valid and objective risk assessment tool, to determine that person’s risk of recidivating. Based on that assessment, the person shall be designated as low, medium, or high risk.
II. Any person placed on probation for a misdemeanor shall be subject to active supervision for up to the first 9 months and thereafter be placed on administrative supervision unless the probationer has been designated high risk or has been adjudicated by the court for a violation of the conditions of probation during the first 9 months under supervision.
III. Any person placed on probation for a felony shall be subject to active supervision for up to the first 12 months and thereafter be placed on administrative supervision unless the probationer has been designated high risk or has been adjudicated by the court for a violation of the conditions of probation during the first 12 months under supervision.
IV. Any person placed on parole for a felony shall be subject to active supervision for up to the first 18 months and thereafter be placed on administrative supervision unless the parolee has been designated high risk or has violated the conditions of parole during the first 18 months under supervision.
247:5 New Paragraphs; Parole of Prisoners; Definitions. Amend RSA 651-A:2 by inserting after paragraph V the following new paragraphs:
VI. “Nonviolent offense” shall include all criminal offenses, except those defined as violent crimes in RSA 651:5, XIII and the following:
(a) RSA 173-B:9, violation of protective order.
(b) RSA 631:2, second degree assault.
(c) RSA 631:3, felony reckless conduct.
(d) RSA 631:4, criminal threatening involving the use of a deadly weapon.
(e) RSA 633:3-a, stalking.
(f) RSA 635:1, burglary.
(g) RSA 641:5, tampering with witnesses and informants.
(h) RSA 650-A:1, felonious use of firearms.
VII. “Intermediate sanction program” means a community-based day or residential program that is designed for use as a swift and certain sanction for a parole violation, in lieu of parole revocation.
247:6 Parole of Prisoners; Terms of Release. Amend RSA 651-A:6, I to read as follows:
I. Any prisoner released on parole shall be given a permit by the board to be at liberty from prison during the unexpired portion of the maximum term of his or her sentence. The decision to release a prisoner shall be governed by the following rules:
(a) A prisoner may be released on parole upon the expiration of the minimum term of his or her sentence, minus any credits received pursuant to RSA 651-A:23, plus the disciplinary period added to such minimum under RSA 651:2, II-e, any part of which is not reduced for good conduct as provided in RSA 651-A:22, provided that there shall appear to the adult parole board, after having given the notice required in RSA 651-A:11, to be a reasonable probability that [
he] the prisoner will remain at liberty without violating the law and will conduct himself or herself as a good citizen. [ Any prisoner so released shall be given a permit by the board to be at liberty from prison during the unexpired portion of the maximum term of his sentence.]
(b) A prisoner convicted of a nonviolent offense shall be released on parole upon serving 120 percent of the minimum term of his or her sentence, minus any credits received pursuant to RSA 651-A:23, plus the disciplinary period added to such minimum under RSA 651:2, II-e, any part of which is not reduced for good conduct as provided in RSA 651-A:22.
(c) All prisoners who have not been previously paroled, or who were recommitted to prison more than one year prior to the expiration of the maximum term of his or her sentence, shall be released on parole at least 9 months prior to the expiration of the maximum term of his or her sentence. This provision shall not apply to any prisoner who is the subject of a pending petition for civil commitment pursuant to RSA 135-E. In the event that the prisoner is not civilly committed, he or she shall be released on parole for the remainder of his or her sentence.
247:7 Parole of Prisoners; Report Required. Amend RSA 651-A:16, I(c)-(d) to read as follows:
(c) Absconds from supervision for a period of 30 days or more; [
(d) Commits 3 or more parole violations of any type within a 12 month period; or
(e) Is placed in an intermediate sanction program by a probation/parole officer in lieu of revocation.
247:8 New Section; Parole of Prisoners; Intermediate Sanction Programs. Amend RSA 651-A by inserting after section 16 the following new section:
651-A:16-a Intermediate Sanction Programs.
I. The commissioner shall establish one or more intermediate sanction programs, to include a 7-day residential program located in a halfway house facility.
II. Probation/parole officers may place a parolee in an intermediate sanction program in lieu of a parole revocation hearing only if the offender agrees to participate.
247:9 Parole of Prisoners; Parole Revocation. Amend RSA 651-A:17 to read as follows:
651-A:17 Parole Revocation. Any parolee arrested under RSA 651-A:15-a shall be entitled to a hearing before the board within 45 days, in addition to any preliminary hearing which is required under RSA [
504-A:6] 504-A:5. The parolee shall have the right to appear and be heard at the revocation hearing. The board shall have power to subpoena witnesses, pay said witnesses such fees and expenses as allowed under RSA 516:16, and administer oaths in any proceeding or examination instituted before or conducted by it, and to compel, by subpoena duces tecum, the production of any accounts, books, contracts, records, documents, memoranda, papers or tangible objects of any kind. If the board, after a hearing, finds that the parolee has violated the conditions of parole, violated the law, or associated with criminal companions and in its judgment should be returned to the custody of the commissioner of corrections, the board shall revoke the parole. A prisoner whose parole is revoked shall be recommitted to the custody of the commissioner of corrections. This provision shall not apply to a parolee who has accepted an option, offered by a probation/parole officer, to participate in an intermediate sanction program and has waived his or her right to counsel and to a preliminary hearing under RSA 504-A:5.
247:10 Parole of Prisoners; Effect of Recommittal. Amend RSA 651-A:19 to read as follows:
651-A:19 Effect of Recommittal.
I. A prisoner who is recommitted [
may, at any time before the expiration] shall serve 90 days in prison before being placed back on parole or the remainder of his or her maximum sentence, [ except as provided in RSA 651-A:18, be paroled again. If not paroled, a prisoner who is recommitted shall serve the remainder of his maximum sentence minus any credits to which he may thereafter become entitled under RSA 651-A:22 and 23 and less the period of time the prisoner was at liberty in satisfactory compliance with the terms and conditions of his parole] whichever is shorter. The time between the return of the parolee to prison after [ his] arrest and revocation of parole shall be considered as time served as a portion of the maximum sentence.
II. Prisoners who are recommitted shall be housed separately in a prison housing unit that provides focused, evidence-based programming aimed at reengaging parolees in their parole plan.
247:11 Parole of Prisoners; Credits for Good Conduct. Amend RSA 651-A:22, II to read as follows:
II. The commissioner shall by rule determine the standards for the earning of credit for good conduct. Such rules shall not be subject to the provisions of RSA 541-A. Such rules shall establish standards for prisoners to receive credit for participating in programs designed to reduce recidivism of participants, as determined by the commissioner.
247:12 New Subparagraph; Sentences and Limitations. Amend RSA 651:2, V by inserting after subparagraph (h) the following new subparagraph:
(i) The court may include, as a condition of probation for a felony offense, a jail sentence of one to 5 days that a probation/parole officer may impose in response to a violation of a condition of probation, in lieu of a violation of probation hearing. Such jail sanction shall be served at the county jail facility closest to or in reasonable proximity to where the probationer is under supervision.
I. RSA 504-A:15 as inserted by section 4 of this act shall apply to any person placed on probation or parole supervision on or after the effective date of this act.
II. RSA 651-A:6, I(b) as inserted by section 6 of this act shall apply to any person sentenced to the state prison on or after the effective date of this act.
III. RSA 651-A:6, I(c) as inserted by section 6 of this act shall apply to any person incarcerated in the state prison with 9 months or more remaining until the expiration of his or her maximum sentence as of October 1, 2010 or thereafter.
247:14 Involuntary Civil Commitment of Sexually Violent Predators; Notice. Amend RSA 135-E:3, II to read as follows:
II. When a person who has committed a sexually violent offense is to be released from total confinement in New Hampshire, the agency with jurisdiction over the person shall give written notice to the person and the county attorney of the county where that person was last convicted of a sexually violent offense, or attorney general if the case was prosecuted by the attorney general. If the person is in custody on an out-of-state or federal sexually violent offense, the agency with jurisdiction shall give written notice to the person and the county attorney of the county where the person plans to reside upon release or, if no residence in this state is planned, the county attorney in the county where the facility from which the person to be released is located or to the attorney general if the person has been convicted of murder. Except as provided in RSA 135-E:4, the written notice shall be given at least 9 months prior to the anticipated release [
from the maximum sentence] on parole pursuant to RSA 651-A:6, I(c), except that in the case of persons who are totally confined for a period of less than 9 months, written notice shall be given as soon as practicable.
247:15 Involuntary Civil Commitment of Sexually Violent Predators; Release From Total Confinement. Amend RSA 135-E:4, I to read as follows:
I. In the event that a person who has been convicted of a sexually violent offense is eligible for immediate release [
from total confinement] on parole pursuant to RSA 651-A:6, I(c), or upon completion of the maximum term of incarceration, the agency with jurisdiction shall provide immediate notice to the county attorney or attorney general of the person’s release. The county attorney or attorney general or the agency with jurisdiction may file a petition for an emergency hearing in the superior court requesting that the person subject to immediate release be evaluated by the multidisciplinary team to determine whether the person is a sexually violent predator. The hearing shall be held within 24 hours of the filing of the petition, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. The person shall not be released from total confinement until after the hearing has been held. At the hearing, the court shall determine whether there is probable cause to believe that the person is a sexually violent predator. If the court finds probable cause, the person shall be held in an appropriate secure facility.
247:16 Effective Date.
I. RSA 651-A:6, I(c) as inserted by section 6 of this act shall take effect as provided in section 13 of this act.
III. Sections 14-15 of this act shall take effect September 1, 2010 at 12:01 a.m.
IV. The remainder of this act shall take effect July 1, 2010.
Approved: July 1, 2010
Effective Date: I. RSA 651-A:6, I(c) as inserted by section 6 shall take effect as provided in section 13.
III. Sections 14-15 of this act shall take effect September 1, 2010 at 12:01 a.m.
IV. The remainder of this act shall take effect July 1, 2010.