Monday, March 26, 2012

Oklahoma Criminal Justice Reform

House Bill 3052 proposes sweeping reforms to Oklahoma's Criminal Justice system. The bill is the work of the Justice Reinvestment Initiative and addresses supervision for felony offenders released from prison, provides for grants to local law enforcement, requires mental health and substance abuse assessments for those arrested of a felony offense and outlines intermediate sanctions for those committing technical parole and probation violations, among other things.
House Speaker Kris Steele said “House Bill 3052 would require future felons to serve nine months of supervised release after leaving prison, mandate substance abuse and mental health screenings for everyone arrested in felony cases, and provide funding for enhanced local law enforcement.”
This new bill aims to cut violent crimes by 10% over five years creating safer communities.  "This is a crime-fighting piece of legislation," said Speaker Steele.
Representatives from Oklahoma’s public safety community, including Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty and Department of Corrections Director Justin Jones, expressed their support Monday for House Speaker Kris Steele’s corrections reform proposal. “The whole proposal benefits law enforcement,” Citty said of the bill.
HB 3052 makes numerous modifications to address criminal justice reform in Oklahoma.  The measure requires the Department of Corrections to maintain an accounting of the earned credits of those inmates sentenced to an eighty-five percent crime and allows the Director of the Department of Corrections to apply the credits only after the offender has served eighty-five percent of the sentence. 
Section 2 requires all persons arrested for a felony offense to submit to a risk, mental health and substance abuse assessment and evaluation. 
Section 3 allows a drug court participant to be sanctioned to serve six months in an intermediate revocation facility for failure to comply with the terms of the drug court agreement.  The offender may not serve more than two separate terms of confinement in an intermediate sanction facility. 
Section 4 extends the opportunity for judicial review of sentence to twenty-four months.  The district attorney must approve the review if it occurs beyond twelve months of the initial sentence. 
Section 5 requires the court to include in every felony sentence of every person sentenced to confinement a term of post-imprisonment supervision of not less than nine months or more than one year following confinement.  Post-imprisonment supervision not applicable to persons sentenced to life, life without parole or persons sentenced to the maximum sentence allowed for conviction of the offense. 
Section 6 authorizes a one-time referral to a six month term of confinement in an intermediate revocation facility for probationers who incur technical violations of their terms of supervision.  A person may be sanctioned to serve additional terms of confinement in an intermediate revocation facility upon the approval of the district attorney. 
Section 7 states that a person serving a term of confinement in an intermediate revocation facility is not eligible for earned credits. 
Section 8 provides definition of intermediate revocation facility as a corrections center operated by the Department of Corrections or a private facility or public trust operating pursuant to contract with the Department of Corrections which provides housing and intensive programmatic services for offenders who have violated the terms or conditions of probation as determined by a supervising probation officer.  “Intensive programmatic services” offered by the Department of Corrections includes, but shall not be limited to, alcohol and substance abuse counseling and treatment, mental health counseling and treatment and domestic violence courses and treatment programs. 
Section 9 establishes that a Probation and Parole Officer shall notify the Department of Corrections when a probationer has been charged with committing a felony offense, has been charged with a misdemeanor which reflects a propensity for violence, has been convicted of a misdemeanor, or has escaped from custody and the Department shall issue a warrant for arrest of the probationer and initiate revocation proceedings.  This section establishes the procedure for the issuance of an arrest warrant for a probationer who has technical violations of the conditions of supervision.  Repeated technical violations of the terms of probation may result in a revocation proceeding.  This section provides that a district attorney can file a petition to revoke a suspended sentence and may refer a probationer to an intermediate revocation facility without a recommendation from the Department of Corrections.
 Section 10 directs the Department of Corrections to establish intermediate revocation facilities. 
Section 11 provides graduated punishments for drug penalties in a similar manner as DUI penalties. 
Section 12 establishes the Justice Reinvestment Grant Program within the Office of the Attorney General to be used to provide funding for initiatives and strategies to combat violent crime.
 Section 13 requires data analysis to be conducted to issue a report to the Governor, Speaker of the House and President Pro Tempore of the Senate. 
Section 14 provides effective date of November 1, 2012.
HB3052 is expected to control the increase in prison growth by increasing substance abuse treatment, reducing violent crime, strengthening supervision, and reducing recidivism.  Prison costs will be reduced over time as these reforms are implemented. The utilization of intermediate revocation facilities will provide significant cost savings, which will offset the additional costs associated with treatment, screening, and supervision.
The reform bill has passed the house by a 66 to 27 vote and has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee then to Appropriations Committee.

1 comment:

  1. What is and where are these so called intermediate revocation facilities?

    ReplyDelete