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I_SentencingReform_2017A 08/23/2017 09:00 AM Committee Summary

Final

STAFF SUMMARY OF MEETING



SENTENCING IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM

Date: 08/23/2017
ATTENDANCE
Time: 09:14 AM to 04:09 PM
Kagan
X
Lundberg
X
Place: RM 271
Weissman
X
Wist
X
This Meeting was called to order by
Cooke
*
Representative Lee
Lee
X
This Report was prepared by
Bo Pogue
X = Present, E = Excused, A = Absent, * = Present after roll call, R = Remote Participation
Bills Addressed: Action Taken:
Practitioner's Perspective: Attorney General

Probation Early Termination and Presentence Process

Problem-solving Courts

Sentencing in Other States

Parole Board Operations and Assessments

Restitution Interests
Witness Testimony and/or Committee Discussion Only

Witness Testimony and/or Committee Discussion Only

Witness Testimony and/or Committee Discussion Only

Witness Testimony and/or Committee Discussion Only

Witness Testimony and/or Committee Discussion Only

Witness Testimony and/or Committee Discussion Only





09:15 AM -- Practitioner's Perspective: Attorney General



The committee came to order. A quorum was present. Representative Lee, Chair, first reviewed the activity that took place during the last committee meeting (August 9), and updated the committee on a few ancillary items of interest to the committee, including a meeting that Representative Lee recently had with certain members of the Colorado Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice. Representative Lee then provided an overview of the day's proceedings. Mr. Scott Turner, Deputy Attorney General, Department of Law (Attorney General's Office), provided the department's perspective on criminal sentencing. Committee members received a packet of slides providing the basis for Mr. Turner's presentation (Attachment A). Mr. Turner discussed the factors driving incarceration rates. Mr. Turner responded to questions regarding certain policies enacted in Colorado that have driven a rise in incarceration rates. He then returned to his presentation. Discussion ensued regarding the incarceration rates and overall population in Colorado.



170823 AttachA.pdf170823 AttachA.pdf



09:41 AM



Mr. Turner returned to his presentation, discussing judicial discretion in sentencing. Mr. Turner responded to questions regarding the impact of adding crimes to state statutes on the state's incarceration rate. He then returned to his presentation. Discussion ensued regarding the impact of drug laws on the incarceration rate.







09:52 AM



Mr. Turner continued to discuss judicial discretion. He then made some recommendations about how to address an increase in offender incarceration, including actions taken in other states to reduce prison populations. Mr. Turner responded to questions regarding these activities in other states, and the impacts of these activities on state budgeting for corrections.



10:04 AM



Discussion ensued regarding the sentencing scheme in Colorado for sex offenders. Discussion returned to factors that drive corrections budgeting. Mr. Turner returned to discussing developments in other states with an aim toward reducing incarceration rates. Mr. Turner wrapped up his presentation by noting some common themes that affect criminal sentencing, and discussing costs associated with sentencing reform. Mr. Turner responded to questions regarding changes to sentencing statutes that took place in Colorado in the 1980s and 1990s, and the factors that drive prison populations.



10:20 AM -- Probation Early Termination and Presentence Investigation Process



Mr. Mike Garcia, Director of Probation Services for the Judicial Branch, explained to the committee the early termination process for parole. He also provided an overview of the presentence investigation process. Mr. Garcia was joined by Mr. Terry Scanlon, Legislative Liaison for the Judicial Department. Mr. Garcia provided an overview of probation, and discussed the number of probation early terminations. He responded to questions concerning the success rate of Colorado's probation program and management of probationers by private entities.



10:30 AM



Mr. Garcia continued his presentation on early termination from parole. He provided information on early termination policies in other states, and the procedure for early termination in Colorado. Mr. Garcia responded to questions concerning early termination of those who are supervised by a private probation supervision provider.



10:40 AM



Mr. Garcia presented to the committee on presentence investigation (PSI). He explained the types of cases for which PSIs are performed, and provided data on the number of PSIs performed. Mr. Garcia explained the components of PSIs, and responded to questions about the information included in a PSI report. Mr. Garcia, in response to a question, discussed the people interviewed when preparing a PSI, and provided information on the time it takes to prepare PSI reports. He also responded to a question concerning evaluations and recommendations related to restorative justice.



10:48 AM -- Problem-solving Courts



Mr. Scanlon introduced Ms. Brenidy Rice, State Problem Solving Court Coordinator, Colorado Judicial Branch. Ms. Rice presented to the committee on problem-solving courts. She provided background on the development of problem-solving courts, and described the characteristics of such courts. Ms. Rice responded to a question concerning the status of the cases of offenders who participate in problem-solving courts, and the procedures used for offenders prior to entering problem-solving courts. Ms. Rice continued her presentation by describing the processes observed in problem-solving courts, specifically highlighting an example involving a drug court.





10:58 AM



Ms. Rice continued her presentation by explaining the types of conditions placed on offenders participating in problem-solving courts. She discussed the non-adversarial nature of the court and the roles of the different participants with the court, and explained the sanctions and incentives used by such courts. In response to a question, Ms. Rice discussed the training received by problem-solving court judges. Ms. Rice continued her presentation by providing information on the increase in drug offenses in Colorado in 2013; she responded to questions concerning that data.



11:08 AM



Ms. Rice discussed the cost-effectiveness of problem-solving courts. She responded to a question concerning the offender population that participates in problem-solving courts, and studies concerning the effectiveness of problem-solving courts. Ms. Rice provided data related to problem-solving courts, including information on the number and location of courts (Attachment B), the offender population served, drugs of choice for offenders in drug court, the growth of problem-solving courts, and recidivism rates.



170823 AttachB.pdf170823 AttachB.pdf



11:18 AM



Ms. Rice responded to questions concerning the different types of problem-solving courts and information sharing across judicial districts. Representative Weissman requested information concerning the number of participating offenders in each judicial district. Ms. Rice responded to a question concerning the resources available to problem-solving courts and the opportunities for growing problem-solving courts. Representative Weissman commented on the connection between drug courts and the work of the Opioid and Other Substance Use Disorders Interim Study Committee. Ms. Rice commented.



11:24 AM -- Sentencing in Other States



Mr. Bo Pogue, Legislative Council Staff, presented a memorandum comparing sentencing schemes in Colorado and other states (Attachment C). Mr. Pogue discussed the sources of data used in the memorandum, and its difference from data provided earlier in the meeting. Discussion ensued regarding changes to Minnesota's sentencing laws.



170823 AttachC.pdf170823 AttachC.pdf



11:35 AM



Mr. Pogue continued walking the committee through the memorandum. He also responded to questions concerning habitual sentencing in Nebraska. Senator Kagan and Representative Lee discussed habitual sentencing in Nebraska and Colorado. Mr. Pogue continued his presentation of the memo. Discussion continued regarding commissions established in various states that institute and amend criminal sentencing guidelines.





11:43 AM



Ms. Alison Lawrence, Criminal Justice Program Director, National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), presented to the committee on sentencing in other states (Attachment D). She mentioned NCSL publications that may be of interest to the committee, and online resources available for tracking criminal justice data. Ms. Lawrence provided information on different sentencing systems used by states, including how sentencing commissions operate in other states. In response to a question, she further explained a structured sentencing scheme.



170823 AttachD.pdf170823 AttachD.pdf



11:55 AM



Ms. Lawrence continued her presentation by discussing different sentencing options that are used by states. She noted the recent trend toward individualized sentencing, including an increase in presumptive sentences to probation. Ms. Lawrence discussed how different community supervision schemes work in various states.



12:06 PM



Ms. Lawrence discussed mandatory minimum policies used in other states, and the results of those policies. She noted that some states have recently introduced statutory provisions that permit judges to sentence an offender to less than the mandatory minimum under certain situations, for example, in the case of "manifest injustice." Ms. Lawrence discussed how states calculate time served, including sentence credits, such as good and earned time, and parole or automatic release provisions.



12:17 PM



Ms. Lawrence discussed "second look sentencing" policies, including an increase of states making changes to sentence credits retroactive. Ms. Lawrence explained mandatory supervision policies, such as Colorado's proscribed periods of parole after prison. She also discussed earned discharge, whereby offenders may be discharged from prison based on compliance with rules. She identified 19 states where state law requires programs that must provide the opportunity to earn time that is removed from terms of parole or probation.



12:28 PM



Ms. Lawrence discussed funding reform and cost savings from certain sentencing reform initiatives. She explained that some initiatives will have up front costs and may result in later savings. In response to a question, Ms. Lawrence explained how savings and averted costs are calculated.



12:35 PM



The committee recessed.







01:38 PM -- Parole Board Operations and Assessments



The committee returned to order. Mr. Joe Morales, Chairperson, State Board of Parole; Ms. Rebecca Oakes, Vice Chairperson, State Board of Parole; Dr. Brandon Mathews, Member, State Board of Parole; and Ms. Anne Andrews, Research and Evaluation Specialist, State Board of Parole, briefed the committee on its charge, operations, and parole assessment process. Committee members received a packet of information supporting the board's presentation (Attachment E). Mr. Morales first provided an overview of the activities and duties of the parole board. Dr. Mathews discussed the instrument that guides the board in its decision-making process. Dr. Mathews responded to questions regarding recently adopted legislation that has changed the information required in the decision-making tool. Discussion ensued on this point. Dr. Mathews returned to briefing the committee on the decision-making tool.



170823 AttachE.pdf170823 AttachE.pdf



01:51 PM



Dr. Mathews responded to questions regarding the rate at which the State Board of Parole adheres to the recommendations of its decision-making tool. Discussion ensued on this point, and certain data-collecting efforts being undertaken by the board.



02:09 PM



Discussion continued regarding data-gathering currently underway at the board concerning its decision-making instrument. Discussion followed regarding the types of information to which the State Board of Parole is privy when making a parole determination. Ms. Andrews briefed the committee on the numbers of technical violations that result in parole revocation, and the conditions placed on parolees. Mr. Morales discussed a pair of recommendations affecting parole made by the Colorado Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice (CCJJ), which are contained in Attachment E. The committee discussed these recommendations with the board.



02:31 PM



Discussion continued regarding certain recommendations made pertaining to parole by CCJJ, and a backlog in mandatory parole release dates. Mr. Morales responded to questions regarding those who may be eligible for parole under House Bill 17-1326. Ms. Andrews provided input on this issue.



02:43 PM



Discussion continued regarding one of the CCJJ recommendations contained in Attachment E, and certain factors that result in parole revocation. Mr. Morales responded to questions regarding interaction between the State Board of Parole and the General Assembly.



02:53 PM



Discussion ensued regarding the availability of certain data and information from the State Board of Parole, and the accessing of certain corrections information by the board. Discussion followed regarding additional resources recently allocated to the parole process under state law, and disparities among facilities.





03:11 PM



Mr. Morales addressed some issues raised by Representative Lee about a couple of parole cases with which he has become familiar through constituent outreach. The committee and the panel again discussed some of the proposed changes considered by CCJJ.



03:24 PM




The committee recessed.



03:45 PM -- Restitution Interest



The committee returned to order. Mr. Rob Lohman, Lifted from the Rut Intervention and Addiction Services, presented to the committee (Attachment F). Mr. Lohman discussed the purpose of charging interest on restitution, and the burden it places on those unable to pay restitution in sufficient amounts. He discussed his personal situation, which involves significant restitution payments.



170823 AttachF.pdf170823 AttachF.pdf



03:55 PM



Mr. Lohman continued to describe his personal situation, including the amount of interest he will pay on owed restitution, and its effect on his life.



04:04 PM



Mr. Lohman responded to a question concerning the effect of restitution and interest payments on his ability to enter into financial agreements, such as loans. He stated that he was unsure of the effect on financial documents, such as a credit report, or the effect of ending his probation. In response to a question, Mr. Lohman discussed the circumstances concerning the offense he committed.



04:09 PM



Representative Lee opened the floor for public testimony. No one wished to testify.



04:09 PM



The committee adjourned.




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