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A04875 Summary:

BILL NOA04875A
 
SAME ASNo same as
 
SPONSORO'Donnell (MS)
 
COSPNSRAubry, Roberts, Kavanagh
 
MLTSPNSR
 
Amd S851, Cor L
 
Relates to expanding prison work release program eligibility and participation.
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A04875 Memo:

NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY
MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION
submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
 
BILL NUMBER: A4875A
 
SPONSOR: O'Donnell (MS)
  TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the correction law, in relation to expanding prison work release program eligibility and participation   PURPOSE: To make people who have committed certain crimes ineligible for work release while expanding eligibility for people who do not nose a public safety risk.   SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1: Amends subdivision 2 of section 851 of the correction law, as amended by chapter 60 of-the laws of 1994, the opening paragraph as amended by chapter 320 of the laws of 2406, and the closing paragraph as amended by section 42 of subpart B of part C of chapter 62 of the laws of 2011 by changing the definition of "eligible inmate" Persons ineligi- ble for work release was expanded to include people committed specific sex crimes and acts of terrorism or incest. Discretion to decide eligi- bility and participation was restored to DOCCS and the legislature. Section 2: Amends subdivision 2 of section 951 of the correction law, as amended by chapter 447 of the laws of 1991, the opening paragraph as amended by chapter 252 of the laws of 2005, and the closing paragraph as amended by section 43 of subpart B of part C of chapter 62 of the laws of 2011 by expanding the list of ineligible inmates. Section 3: Amends subdivision 2 of section 851 of the correction law, as added by chapter 472 of the laws of 1969 by expanding the definition of "eligible inmate" to include those persons who will become eligible for parole or conditional release within two years. Section 4: Amends subdivision 2-a of section 851 of the correction law, as added by chapter 251 of the laws of 2002 by expanding the definition of "eligible inmate" to include those persons who will become eligible for parole or conditional release within four years. Section 5: Amends subdivision 2-b of section 851 of the correction law, as added by chapter 738 of the laws of 2004 to include additional merit time in calculating a person's eligibility date for parole or condi- tional release. Section 6 provides an effective date.   JUSTIFICATION: This legislation will ensure that inmates who do not pose a threat to public safety will be eligible to participate in prison work release programs. At its peak in 1994, 24,055 individuals participated in the work release program. As of 2010, program participation has plummeted to 1,910. In the two year period from 2009 to 2010 alone, the number of new admissions to the program was halved - in 2009, 416 applicants were accepted into the program, while in 2010, only 201 applicants were accepted. This low admission rate is not for lack of inmate interest in the program. In 2010, about 24,269 incarcerated people applied to participate in the program, but only 702 people were accepted into work release as a standalone program or work release as part of the Compre- hensive Alcohol and Substance Abuse Treatment (CASAT) program. This means that only 4% of all Temporary Release program applicants are accepted into the program. Although many prison superintendents and central office staff strongly support increasing participation in work release, the department needs a change in the statute to permit greater eligibility. Eligibility does not guarantee participation in the program, since DOCCS has discretion about which eligible inmates are chosen for the program. A revitalized Temporary Release program is fully consistent with the underlying goals of the recent merger of the New York Department of Correctional Services and the Division of Parole to form the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS), which include enhanced public safety through the promotion of individuals' successful reentry and reintegration into the community. The Temporary Release program has great potential to further this purpose. Temporary Release provides for a structured transition from incarceration to life in the community, helping participants to develop the work, educational, and basic life management skills they need to become law-abiding, contributing members of their communities. The evidence has shown that programs like Tempo- rary Release are effective at reducing recidivism, which enhances public safety. Participation in the Temporary Release program provides a sound and accurate picture of a person's readiness for release to the community as a law-abiding citizen. Not only does it aid the board in making deci- sions about readiness for release, it. can also be an invaluable resource to help DOCCS staff identify the supports a person needs while being supervised in the community, For example, it can help identify the need for better job skill development, the need for more education to further career advancement, or the need for ongoing after-care to address a substance abuse problem. Temporary Release is an exceptionally cost-effective program; indeed, a robust Temporary Release program is a sure way to reduce the staggering cost of the prison system. The program, particularly work release, saves taxpayers in two important ways. First, it costs significantly less to house work release partic- ipants than to house "traditional prisoners." Second, because individ- uals involved in work release earn a taxable income, this program gener- ates local, state, and federal tax revenues. Additionally, the proposed legislation will ensure that work release participants are provided the services and support necessary for success during the transitional peri- od. Further proposals will ensure the safety and security of the public by limiting eligible participants to those who have not committed certain enumerated crimes.   LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2012 reported, referred to codes   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: Unknown.   EFFECTIVE DATE: Effectively immediately, provided however, that the amendments to subdi- vision 2 of section 851 of the correction law made by section one of this act shall be subject to the expiration and reversion of such subdi- vision and section pursuant to subdivision (c) of section 46 of chapter 60 of the laws of 1994 and section 10 of chapter 339 of the laws of 1972, as amended, when upon such date the provisions of section two of this act shall take effect; provided further, that the amendments to subdivision 2 of section 851 of the correction law , made by section two of this act shall expire on the same date as subdivision ( c) of section 46 of chapter 60 of the laws of 1994, section 10 of chapter 339 of the laws of 1972, and section 5 of chapter 554 of the laws of 1996, as amended, expire, when upon such date the provisions of section three of this act shall rake effect; provided further that the amendments to subdivisions 2-a and 2-b of section 851 of the correction law, made by sections four and five of this act shall not affect the expiration of such section and shall expire therewith.
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