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Second Regular Session
Sixty-first General Assembly
LLS NO. 980448.01 JBB
SENATE BILL 98129
STATE OF COLORADO
BY SENATOR Rupert
A BILL FOR AN ACT
CONCERNING SENTENCES FOR CRIMES COMMITTED ON OR AFTER
JULY 1, 1999.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced
and does not necessarily reflect any amendments that may be subsequently
Requires persons convicted of crimes committed on or after July 1, 1999, to be released on parole after they have served their entire sentence less up to 15% for earned time and up to 10% for the successful completion of educational programs. Directs the executive director of the department of corrections to establish by rule:
! Objective criteria for the award of earned time; and
! The percentage of sentence reduction, up to 2% of the sentence, for the successful completion of each educational program.
Upon a violation of parole, authorizes the parole board to maintain or modify the terms of parole or to order that the person be reincarcerated for the length of time that the sentence was reduced for earned time or educational credit.
Makes the above changes applicable only if a bill enacted in the next regular session of the general assembly becomes law that changes criminal sentences and does not increase appropriations to the department of corrections.
Requires the state court administrator to report to the judiciary committees and the joint budget committee of the general assembly by October 1, 2003, on the continuing needs, size, and responsibilities of the state board of parole.
Establishes a truth in sentencing council to recommend to the general assembly changes in criminal sentences that will result in no fiscal impact but will result in offenders serving at least 75% of the sentence imposed. States that the council shall be composed of 15 members:
! 2 legislators appointed by the president of the senate;
! 2 legislators appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives;
! 3 district court judges appointed by the chief justice of the supreme court; and
! One representative appointed by the governor from each of the following groups:
! District attorneys;
! Criminal defense attorneys;
! Victim's advocates;
! Law enforcement;
! Department of corrections;
! Community corrections;
! State board of parole;
Reintegration service providers.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Colorado:
SECTION 1. Legislative declaration. (1) The general assembly hereby finds and declares that:
(a) Truth in sentencing is good public policy for the state of Colorado. It allows the people of Colorado to truly participate in the public policy debate regarding the length of time a person should serve in prison for any given crime. Under the current system, any public policy debate over the length of a criminal sentence is meaningless, because no one is certain how long the offender serves under the sentencing law.
(b) Truth in sentencing would give victims the assurance that when a perpetrator of a crime is sentenced, the he or she will actually serve the sentence imposed. It would stop the guessing game for judges so they will have real knowledge of how long a perpetrator found guilty of a crime will serve. Finally, truth in sentencing gives offenders a time certain that they will have to serve and measurable behavioral incentives while they are in prison.
(c) Under the state's present sentencing system, no one, including judges, district attorneys, defense attorneys, victims, and offenders, has any way of knowing how long an offender will be incarcerated. Even though under current law an offender may be eligible for parole after serving fifty percent of the sentence, few if any are released at that point. Yet the public, and even lawyers and judges, often believe that offenders will serve only fifty percent of the sentence.
(d) "Truth in sentencing" in Colorado means that each offender must serve at least seventyfive percent of his or her sentence in prison without a chance for earlier release. The remaining twentyfive percent of the sentence will be used for specific behavioral incentives while the offender is in prison.
(e) This act is to be interpreted as creating no fiscal impact to the state and no net increase in the length of any sentence actually served by an offender.
SECTION 2. Article 22.5 of title 17, Colorado Revised Statutes, is amended BY THE ADDITION OF A NEW PART to read:
PAROLE ELIGIBILITY AND
DISCHARGE FROM CUSTODY FOR
OFFENDERS SENTENCED FOR CRIMES
COMMITTED ON OR AFTER JULY 1, 1999
1722.5501. Earned time. (1) EACH PERSON SENTENCED FOR A CRIME COMMITTED ON OR AFTER JULY 1, 1999, WHOSE CONDUCT INDICATES THAT HE OR SHE HAS SUBSTANTIALLY OBSERVED ALL OF THE RULES OF THE INSTITUTION OR FACILITY IN WHICH THE PERSON HAS BEEN CONFINED AND HAS FAITHFULLY PERFORMED THE DUTIES ASSIGNED TO HIM OR HER, SHALL BE ENTITLED TO AN EARNED TIME DEDUCTION OF UP TO FOUR AND ONEHALF DAYS PER MONTH FROM HIS OR HER SENTENCE. THE EARNED TIME AUTHORIZED BY THIS SECTION SHALL VEST SEMIANNUALLY AND MAY NOT BE WITHDRAWN ONCE IT IS VESTED.
(2) ON OR BEFORE JULY 1, 1999, THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SHALL ADOPT A RULE THAT ESTABLISHES MEASURABLE, OBJECTIVE CRITERIA FOR DETERMINING WHEN EARNED TIME IS ACQUIRED.
(3) NOTHING IN THIS SECTION SHALL BE CONSTRUED AS TO PREVENT THE DEPARTMENT FROM WITHHOLDING EARNED TIME EARNABLE IN SUBSEQUENT PERIODS OF SENTENCE, BUT NOT YET EARNED, FOR CONDUCT OCCURRING IN ANY GIVEN PERIOD OF SENTENCE; EXCEPT THAT NO MORE THAN TWENTYSEVEN DAYS OF EARNED TIME MAY BE WITHHELD BY THE DEPARTMENT IN ANY SIXMONTH PERIOD OF SENTENCE.
1722.5502. Education time. (1) IN ADDITION TO THE EARNED TIME AUTHORIZED IN SECTION 1722.5501, EACH PERSON SENTENCED FOR A CRIME COMMITTED ON OR AFTER JULY 1, 1999, WHO SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETES EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS THROUGH THE DEPARTMENT SHALL BE ENTITLED TO AN EDUCATION TIME DEDUCTION FROM HIS OR HER SENTENCE; EXCEPT THAT NO COMBINATION OF EDUCATIONAL CREDITS FOR ANY PERSON MAY RESULT IN A REDUCTION OF MORE THAN TEN PERCENT OF HIS OR HER SENTENCE.
(2) THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SHALL SPECIFY BY RULE WHAT PERCENTAGE OF SENTENCE REDUCTION SHALL BE EARNED BY THE SUCCESSFUL COMPLETION OF EACH EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM; EXCEPT THAT COMPLETION OF ANY SINGLE EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM SHALL NOT RESULT IN A SENTENCE REDUCTION OF GREATER THAN TWO PERCENT OF THE SENTENCE.
1722.5503. Parole. (1) ONCE A PERSON SENTENCED FOR A CRIME COMMITTED ON OR AFTER JULY 1, 1999, HAS REMAINED IN CUSTODY FOR THE FULL TERM FOR WHICH HE OR SHE WAS SENTENCED, LESS ANY EARNED TIME AND EDUCATIONAL TIME GRANTED PURSUANT TO SECTION 1722.5501 OR 1722.5502, THE PERSON SHALL BE RELEASED FROM INCARCERATION SUBJECT TO THE TERM OF PAROLE TO WHICH THE PERSON WAS SENTENCED.
(2) NOTWITHSTANDING SUBSECTION (1) OF THIS SECTION, THE GOVERNOR MAY ORDER THAT A PERSON SENTENCED FOR A CRIME COMMITTED ON OR AFTER JULY 1, 1999, BE RELEASED FROM INCARCERATION SUBJECT TO A TERM OF PAROLE PRIOR TO THE COMPLETION OF HIS OR HER SENTENCE MINUS ANY EARNED TIME AND EDUCATIONAL TIME IF, IN THE GOVERNOR'S OPINION, EXTRAORDINARY MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCES EXIST AND THE RELEASE OF SUCH PERSON FROM INCARCERATION IS COMPATIBLE WITH THE SAFETY AND WELFARE OF SOCIETY.
(3) FOR PERSONS WHO ARE RELEASED ON PAROLE PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION, THE DIVISION OF ADULT SERVICES SHALL PROVIDE PAROLE SUPERVISION AND ASSISTANCE IN SECURING EMPLOYMENT, HOUSING, AND SUCH OTHER SERVICES AS MAY EFFECT THE SUCCESSFUL REINTEGRATION OF THE PERSON INTO THE COMMUNITY WHILE RECOGNIZING THE NEED FOR PUBLIC SAFETY.
(4) THE CONDITIONS FOR PAROLE FOR ANY PERSON RELEASED FOR PAROLE PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION SHALL BE ESTABLISHED BY THE STATE BOARD OF PAROLE PRIOR TO THE PERSON'S RELEASE FROM INCARCERATION.
(5) UPON A DETERMINATION IN A PAROLE REVOCATION HEARING HELD PURSUANT TO SECTION 172103 OR 172103.5 THAT CONDITIONS OF PAROLE HAVE BEEN VIOLATED, THE STATE BOARD OF PAROLE MAY:
(a) CONTINUE THE PAROLE IN EFFECT;
(b) MODIFY THE CONDITIONS OF PAROLE, IF CIRCUMSTANCES THEN SHOWN TO EXIST REQUIRE MODIFICATIONS, WHICH CIRCUMSTANCES SHALL BE SET FORTH IN WRITING; OR
(c) REVOKE THE PAROLE AND ORDER THE RETURN OF THE PERSON TO A PLACE OF CONFINEMENT DESIGNATED BY THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FOR A PERIOD NOT TO EXCEED THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF EARNED TIME OR EDUCATIONAL TIME DEDUCTED FROM THE PERSON'S SENTENCE PRIOR TO RELEASE FROM CONFINEMENT PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION.
(6) THE STATE BOARD OF PAROLE MAY DISCHARGE ANY PERSON RELEASED FROM INCARCERATION PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION AT ANY TIME DURING THE TERM OF PAROLE UPON A DETERMINATION THAT THE OFFENDER HAS BEEN SUFFICIENTLY REHABILITATED AND REINTEGRATED INTO SOCIETY AND CAN NO LONGER BENEFIT FROM PAROLE SUPERVISION.
1722.5504. Applicability of part. (1) THIS PART 5 SHALL ONLY APPLY TO SENTENCES FOR OFFENSES COMMITTED ON OR AFTER JULY 1, 1999. THE PROVISIONS OF THIS PART 5 SHALL NOT APPLY TO ANY SENTENCES FOR OFFENSES COMMITTED BEFORE JULY 1, 1999.
(2) THIS PART 5 ONLY APPLIES IF AN ACT OF THE FIRST SESSION OF THE SIXTYSECOND GENERAL ASSEMBLY THAT REVISES THE LENGTH OF SENTENCES FOR CRIMES COMMITTED ON OR AFTER JULY 1, 1999, AND REQUIRES NO ADDITIONAL APPROPRIATION DUE TO ANY CHANGE IN THE LENGTH OF SENTENCES BECOMES LAW.
SECTION 3. Article 3 of title 13, Colorado Revised Statutes, is amended BY THE ADDITION OF THE FOLLOWING NEW SECTIONS to read:
133113. Report of parole board repeal. (1) THE STATE COURT ADMINISTRATOR SHALL REPORT BY OCTOBER 1, 2003, TO THE CHAIRPERSONS OF THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEES OF THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND THE JOINT BUDGET COMMITTEE ON THE CONTINUING NEEDS, SIZE, AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE STATE BOARD OF PAROLE ESTABLISHED PURSUANT TO SECTION 172201, C.R.S.
(2) THIS SECTION IS REPEALED, EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2004.
133114. Truth in sentencing council legislative declaration repeal. (1) THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY HEREBY FINDS AND DECLARES THAT:
(a) UNDER THE CURRENT SYSTEM OF CRIMINAL SENTENCING, JUDGES, DISTRICT ATTORNEYS, DEFENSE ATTORNEYS, VICTIMS, AND OFFENDERS HAVE NO WAY OF KNOWING AT THE TIME OF SENTENCING HOW LONG AN OFFENDER WILL BE INCARCERATED. THIS UNCERTAINTY REDUCES PUBLIC CONFIDENCE IN THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM. UNDER THE CURRENT LAW, AN OFFENDER MAY BE ELIGIBLE FOR PAROLE AFTER THE OFFENDER HAS SERVED FIFTY PERCENT OF THE ORIGINAL SENTENCE. MANY PEOPLE BELIEVE THAT OFFENDERS ARE BEING RELEASED AT THAT TIME. HOWEVER, ELIGIBILITY FOR PAROLE DOES NOT MEAN THE OFFENDER IS RELEASED. EVEN MODEL OFFENDERS OFTEN ARE NOT RELEASED AFTER SERVING ONLY FIFTY PERCENT OF THE SENTENCE.
(b) "TRUTH IN SENTENCING" IN COLORADO MEANS THAT AN OFFENDER MUST SPEND AT LEAST SEVENTYFIVE PERCENT OF HIS OR HER SENTENCE IN PRISON. THE REMAINING TWENTYFIVE PERCENT OF THE SENTENCE WILL BE USED AS A BEHAVIORAL INCENTIVE WHILE THE OFFENDER IS IN PRISON.
(2) THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY HEREBY DECLARES THE NEED FOR A TRUTH IN SENTENCING COUNCIL TO STUDY THE SENTENCING PROVISIONS IN COLORADO LAW AND TO RECOMMEND TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY A METHOD BY WHICH TRUTH IN SENTENCING MAY BE OBTAINED WITHOUT A FISCAL IMPACT ON THE STATE AND WITHOUT A NET INCREASE IN THE SENTENCE ACTUALLY SERVED FOR ANY OFFENSE.
(3) (a) THERE IS HEREBY ESTABLISHED A TRUTH IN SENTENCING COUNCIL, REFERRED TO IN THIS SECTION AS THE "COUNCIL". THE COUNCIL SHALL BE COMPOSED OF THE FOLLOWING FIFTEEN MEMBERS:
(I) TWO MEMBERS SHALL BE MEMBERS OF THE SENATE APPOINTED BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE;
(II) TWO MEMBERS SHALL BE MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES APPOINTED BY THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES;
(III) THREE MEMBERS SHALL BE DISTRICT COURT JUDGES APPOINTED BY THE CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT;
(IV) THE GOVERNOR SHALL APPOINT THE REMAINING EIGHT MEMBERS WHO SHALL INCLUDE REPRESENTATIVES OF:
(A) DISTRICT ATTORNEYS;
(B) CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEYS;
(C) VICTIM'S ADVOCATES;
(D) LAW ENFORCEMENT;
(E) THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS;
(F) COMMUNITY CORRECTIONS;
(G) THE PAROLE BOARD; AND
(H) REINTEGRATION SERVICE PROVIDERS.
(b) NO MORE THAN EIGHT MEMBERS OF THE COUNCIL SHALL BE MEMBERS OF THE SAME POLITICAL PARTY.
(4) ON OR BEFORE NOVEMBER 1, 1998, THE COUNCIL SHALL SUBMIT TO A JOINT MEETING OF THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEES OF THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES RECOMMENDATIONS CONCERNING CHANGES IN SENTENCING LAWS. SAID RECOMMENDATIONS SHALL BE DESIGNED SO THAT THEY MAY BE IMPLEMENTED WITH NO FISCAL IMPACT TO THE STATE AND TO ENSURE THAT EACH INMATE SERVES AT LEAST SEVENTYFIVE PERCENT OF THE SENTENCE IMPOSED.
(5) THE STAFF OF THE DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH OF THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL AND THE OFFICE OF LEGISLATIVE LEGAL SERVICES SHALL PROVIDE ASSISTANCE TO THE COUNCIL.
(6) THIS SECTION IS REPEALED, EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 1999.
SECTION 4. Safety clause. The general assembly hereby finds, determines, and declares that this act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, and safety.