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A04875 Summary:

BILL NO    A04875A

SAME AS    No same as 

SPONSOR    O'Donnell (MS)

COSPNSR    Aubry, Roberts, Kavanagh

MLTSPNSR   

Amd S851, Cor L

Relates to expanding prison work release program eligibility and participation.
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A04875 Memo:

BILL NUMBER:A4875A

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
ineligible for work release was expanded to include people committed
specific sex crimes and acts of terrorism or incest.  Discretion to
decide eligibility 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
conditional 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 Comprehensive 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 Temporary 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
decisions 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 participants than to house "traditional prisoners."
Second, because individuals involved in work release earn a taxable
income, this program generates 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 period. 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
subdivision 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
subdivision 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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