Would everybody take their seats? I don't know if this mic is working, is it seem to be working? Alright, good enough. Okay, thank you. The sergeant at arms will close the doors and everybody take their seat, we'll get our committee meeting started. We've got a rather extensive presentation and we're going to sort of change the way we're doing it this morning. This is going to be a pretty complicated presentation so, except for you gentlemen who are attorneys and experienced in law enforcement and other things, we're just going to take questions as we go. So if you all have a question, rather than get so far along and then you forget what questions, because I'd like to air these questions that you have. I was told to recognize the sergeant at arms and the pages, so I'm going to do that. Thank you, Maria. Let's see who we got. House Sergeant at Arms Barry Moore, Barry, good to have you here. You look like you could handle on the House side. If we have any problems we'll be calling on you. B.H. Powell, B.H., good to have you here and David Lithkin, David, good to have you here. And the Senate Sergeant at Arms Larry Hancock, Larry, where are you? Okay, Larry, good to have you here, and Giles Jeffries, Giles, good to have you here. Okay now let's see. We're supposed to have two pages. You all folks stand up. Cumberland, Rick Glazier has a, and I'm not sure how to pronounce this, if you wouldn't mind pronouncing your first name. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Hello, my name is ??. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Well thank you much and we're glad to have you here, hope you learn a lot and hope you never have to experience any of the things that a lot of these folks have to offer. Maybe you'll be a counselor or other things. James Berry III from Wake County and you're Representative is Brigadier General Gary Pendleton. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes sir. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Are you the General or is he the General? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I think he's the General. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Good. Well we represent the military, too, here. So good to have you here and glad you're interested and hope you learn a lot but we won't allow you to ask questions. But you'll meet all these people, all these representatives and senators, etc. So if you have any questions, if you have any questions about law enforcement or anything related to it, there's somebody in this room that will answer it, and if they don't they'll pretend to. But anyway, alright, so let's get started. We've got, let's see, where's my sheet? Yeah, that's what I need. Thank you. Overview of Structured Sentencing, this is complicated but we got someone that can answer, I can assure you because I've served on this committee. John ??, John, if you would. Wherever John is. Oh yeah, here he is. Come on up John. Does any of the subcommittees chairs, I mean, not subcommittees but committee chairs have any comments before we begin? Either side? Hearing none, it's all yours John. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and members of the committee. On behalf of the Sentencing Commission and our Chairman, Judge Spainhour, I want to thank you for inviting us here today and letting us have this opportunity to talk with you about structured sentencing. I see so many familiar faces around here that I feel like a lot of you could give this presentation about the same as I could now. But hopefully we can answer some questions for you in the next hour and give you a better understanding of what structured sentencing is about. I would also like to introduce here our Executive Director Susan
And our Associate Director for Research Jenny Hebner and Rebecca Murdoch from the research and policy associates. They're here to help answer questions and provide anything you might need. Today over the next hour I'd like to cover at least four areas here. I'd like to begin with just a brief overview of who the sentencing commission is, give you an idea of who these people are and why we're here, and then talk about structured sentencing. First, the timeline, the history of how it got to where it is today and then we'll spend the bulk of the time talking about the basic elements of structured sentencing, the different components and how it all works together and what the policies are that underly those elements and then your staff also asked us to talk briefly about maybe some of the impact that structured sentencing has had on the criminal justice system. As the chairman said, I certainly invite your questions along the way and hopefully that will help clarify anything that I might say to you at this point. I do want to point out our website is listed on your handout, on the slides as well. We're part of the judicial branch, so we're off of the NCcourts.org website, and on there you can find just about any information you might need. The punishment charts are posted there electronically. We have lists of felony offences, misdemeanor offences, all of the studies that the commission produces, the reports they provide to the General Assembly are posted there as well as all of our contact information. Should you have a question in the future, you're welcome to contact us by either phone or email. So the first question is then who is the sentencing commission? The commission was actually created back in 1990. We've been around for 25 years now, it hardly seems like it. The General Assembly put them together essentially to come up with sentencing structures for use in the court system. This commission was designed to be first of all experienced, to draw together a lot of experience from the field. Also to be independent and objective. We have 28 members at this point representing all areas of the criminal justice system. We have a police chief and a sheriff, we have a district court and superior court judge, a prosecutor and a defense attorney, the commissioner of corrections serves on there as well, we have victims representatives. We also have legislative members. We're pleased to have Representative Jackson, Representative Faircloth and Representative Daughtry as members here. We also have three Senate members and Senator Bingham is a former member of the commission, so we have appreciated their input as well. It was designed to be independent in that all the members are non-partisan, they're appointed by leadership from all three branches of government, and finally they do bring their experience to the table. All of these members are volunteers, they have other jobs, full time jobs in the system, but they bring all that experience to the table, but they also look at empirical information. They try to do their analysis based on statewide data not just anecdotal evidence and hopefully that produces a better product. Originally when the commission was created they had a very large mandate. The mandate was to develop the structures for use in the courts, also to classify felony offences and misdemeanor offences, also wanted to develop a continuum of community corrections, come up with programs that would cover the whole spectrum of needs in the community and finally to develop a population simulation model, a computer model that helps us project what resources we need based on the policies that are put in place. Well, the commission worked for about three years on this project, put together an entire package and brought it to the General Assembly in 1993. The General Assembly spent the entire year studying that, pulling it apart, looking at each piece of it and eventually passed it at the end of the 1993 session. The laws took effect at in October of 1994, so structured sentencing has been in the laws in North Carolina for over 20 years now. There have been some modifications along the way. In 1995 after the first year of implementation, the General Assembly added a few punishments, increased some of the punishments simply in response to the feel, what they found as they started to work within the system, then in 2009, several years later, the General Assembly adjusted policies again to deal with a projected growth in the prison population. This was a way of curbing that projected growth and finally, probably the most significant change recently was in 2011 when you enacted the Justice Reinvestment
Speaker 1: Dealt in large part with probation nerds[?] and new ways of dealing with people in the community. If you look in your handouts you can see a copy of, you can see a copy of the grid on page ten, towards the back, but before the commission ever addressed the grid and came up with the details of it, they first set down a set of principles that they wanted to put in place, goals they wanted to achieve with this new structure, and there were five principles. First one was Truth in Sentencing. At the time the commission was created felons for example served about 19% of the sentence that the court imposed. Generally they were released, uh, parole release, they were given a great deal of credit on top of that, and they were serving about 19% So the first goal was Truth in sentencing. That whatever sentence the judge imposed would be the time the offender would serve, there wouldn't be that tremendous reduction to it. Second goal was that the structure would provide consistency and certainty in sentencing. That offenders who commit similar offences and have a similar type of prior record would get similar sentences, there wouldn't be a great deal of disparity depending upon what district you were in, or what judge you were in front of, So that they were similar going across the state in every court. The third goal was to provide a rational basis for the sentence. To be able to explain why they got what they got. This is based on the seriousness of their offence and the seriousness of their prior record. When you look at those two factors things that everybody can see and can be easily pulled out, and then that is the basis for the sentence they receive The last two principles they set out deal with resources because that was an issue as well when the commission was created. First one was to set priorities for the use of the resources. The commission realized that prison and jail beds were the most expensive resource, and there was a limited number of them. We couldn't put everyone into a prison or a jail bed. That was the problem we were facing at the time. So they decided that only the most serious offences and offenders, violent offenders repeat offenders, Those are the ones that they would designate the jail beds for, the prison beds. Those who have nonviolent offenses have little or no prior record they would use more of the community corrections, the less expensive sanctions. So this structure was designed to help prioritize that. And the last goal was to balance the policies and the resources. Whatever policies they came up with they want to use, especially the correctional simulation model they developed, to determine what sort of resources would be needed. How many beds will you need, how many probation slots, how many community corrections programs? So that these offenders get the sentences that are handed out in court. I ask you to keep these in mind then as we go through the structure, I think you'll see how they sort of play out with the decisions that the commission made. Well as I mentioned before in the back of your handout on page ten, you can see a copy of the felony punishment chart. You'll see a lot of letters and a lot of numbers in there. It's a large grid; there are a lot of felonies. New Speaker: If, uh, if any of y'all have a question, if you would just raise your hand, we'll break in at the appropriate time and we'll try to get your question in. Speaker 1: Yes I believe it's behind the slides. Those are the pages I'll refer to as we go along.
Okay, so that is the felony punishment chart. I don't know if you're happier to find it or to not see it at this point. It looks complicated, but it actually breaks down to four really simple parts. Four elements. You've got the offense class and the defendant's prior record. These are two pieces of information that are provided to the judge in the court at the time of sentencing. Those are easily identified. Offences have classes assigned to them. Defendant's prior record can be received from EOC and so on, so they are simply pieces of information that go into this grid. Then the judge uses those to determine the sentence and the sentence is going to have two parts to it, the disposition, what type of sentence, whether it's an active or a suspended sentence, and then the duration, how long a sentence are they going to impose. That's the area, those two areas where the judge has more of the discretion to tailor the sentence to fit the crime itself. As you see various criminal justice bills coming through the general assembly, you will see they will address at least one of those four areas. Usually they are offense class, when you see new offenses or you see reclassification it will apply to the offense class and sometimes you may deal with a specific disposition or there may be changes to sentence lengths, the durations, but it's always gonna come down to one of these four areas and as we go through each of them you'll see how they fit into the grid and then that will help to explain how they affect the changes in the grid if you see a new bill. So looking at the grid, the first two pieces of information for the axes of the grid. The offense class is the first column, A through I, all the offences are assigned a severity based upon the severity of the offence. Prior record level will go into that top row. There are six levels and every offender is going to go into one of those six levels based upon the seriousness of their prior convictions and the number of prior convictions they have and for our discussion right now we're going to focus on the felony punishment chart cause I'll be talking about felons in general. At the end we do have the misdemeanor chart and I'll show that to you briefly and explain how that's similar to what we have for the felons. How the mandate was was the commission classify felony offenses based on their severity, so the commission developed a set of criteria to guide their decision. They looked at what types of harm come from the felony offenses and what degree of harm. For types of harm they looked at harm to person, harm to property, harm to society, the degrees they looked at serious and significant and minor injury and then they ranked those in relationship to each other and as you might imagine if you would think that through to yourself you would put harm to person probably first, those that result in injury to people as your most serious offenses. Property and societal harm come after that. The commission did the same thing. They wound up developing this set of criteria to say what kind of harm fit into each class. This first group here you see from A to C, they're primarily those that result in injury to person. See, serious, debilitating, long term personal injury, serious personal injury. There is some degree of societal injury built in there as well for the serious, long term, widespread societal injury. Some examples, first degree rape, that's classified as a class B1 felony, serious, debilitating, long term personal injury. Armed robbery with a class of D, you see serious infringement on property issues but you also see the safety concerns in use of a deadly weapon, so this helps to put them into categories where you have similar offenses with similar classes. If you move on to F through I, you see more of the property offenses, more of the societal injury. Things like larceny and breaking and entering are all in class H, serious property loss from a home or by the removal of property. Some of the societal injuries like distributing obscene literature in class I. Overall this helped to give proportionality to the offences, to make sure that your more serious offences were treated more seriously than the other offences
And get them grouped, with similar offenses. This criteria is only a guideline. It’s not in statute. It’s not a requirement in any way. It’s something the commission developed to help it do its job. I will say that when the commission submitted the original package, all the felony offenses were classified according to the criteria, and the General Assembly adopted those new classifications. And most of the offenses that have been classified or re-classified since then follow this criteria. One of the things the sentencing commission does as part of its statutory duties is to review all proposed legislation for its consistency with structured sentencing and with this criteria, and we issue a report that you will be receiving a copy of in the Judiciary Committees as well, and I will say like I said, most of these have been consistent with the criteria. Occasionally some have not, but in general most of the felony offenses are still in keeping with this proportionality. By doing this, you can see it helps to provide a little bit of that consistency, and a little bit of the rational basis for the sentence, because the offenses are now classified according to their severity. The other piece is the prior record level. Here, offenders are classified based upon the number of prior convictions and the seriousness of their prior convictions. You can see a copy of this chart on page seven, as well, of your handout. First column, they collect strictly the number of prior convictions in each class. But then if you move over to the third column, you can see numbers there – weights assigned to the prior convictions. Those weights are based upon the seriousness of the offense. If you think back to the criteria, you can see a Class A felony, which was murder, the serious personal injury area, they have higher point totals. Class A has ten points, Class B1 has nine points, and so on. When you get down to the property offenses, the societal injuries, you have lower point values. Two points, four points. Our most serious misdemeanors are included. They get one point each. Now there’s also an additional point added on to the prior records score, one if they have committed this offense before. If they’ve committed the offense, been convicted of it, and sentenced for it and now they’re back again for the same offense, they get an additional prior record point that increases their score. Also, they get an additional prior record point if they’ve been in the criminal justice system at the time of the current offense. Maybe they were on probation and they committed a new offense. Or they were in prison at the time and committed an offense or escaped. They will get an additional point that will increase their prior record score. The score is totaled up and it places them then in one of the six categories you see there. Level one is essentially a first time felon. They may have one prior record point, that may be one prior misdemeanor, but they cannot have a prior felony. Your felonies start at two points. So if they have a prior felony, they’d move up to level two already. And they work their way up to level six, 18 or more points there. If you think about the scoring, you’ll see there are two different ways that they can get to the higher levels. One is you can have a couple of serious prior convictions. If they had two prior first-degree rape convictions, that’d be nine points each. That would take them up to 18, they’d be level six already. However, if they had for example ten prior breaking and entering offenses, that’d be two points each. That gives them 20. So level six offenders, violent offenders and repeat offenders. So we are grouping them together and grouping together those with little or no prior record. So those two pieces of information are presented to the court at the time of sentencing and that gets the judge into the grid. Every offense has a class assigned to it. Every offender is going to get a prior record score and prior record level. Where they intersect on the grid, that’s where the judge gets the information about how they can sentence, what options are available to them. And remember we’re talking about two parts here: the disposition and the duration. I’ll start with the disposition. You look at the grid and you can see As, Is and Cs all over the grid. These represent the three different types of dispositions available to the court. A is the active punishment, I is intermediate punishment, C is community punishment. Where you’ve got an I-slash-A or a C-slash-I, there the judge has
the discretion to choose between the two. But what do these three different letters mean is a lot more, there's a lot more behind them than what you see on the graph. First of all, when you talk about the A, you're talking about the active sentence. For a felon, that represents prison. There's no other option in there, they will be sent to prison. For misdemeanants, they'll be going to jail. For felons, that sentence will also include a period of post-release supervision. They will serve the sentence they received in prison but there will also be a period of supervision after that when they reenter the community. When we get into the durations I'll go into that in a little more detail. If, however, they don't get an active sentence, then the judge is looking at suspending the prison sentence and imposing either an intermediate or a community punishment. This is where a lot of the other programs and other sanctions are available for the judge. Intermediate punishment means they must get supervised probation. The judge can't just let them go with a fine. They have to get at least supervise probation. The statutes recommend a period anywhere from 18 to 36 months, but the judge could go as high as five years at that point. Now, it's up to the judge as to what sort of conditions they want to put on to probation. They may include a split sentence, where the offender serves a short period of time in prison and then goes out on probation, sort of get a taste of what prison is and then they get the opportunity to be on probation. It could include a drug treatment court. It could also include any other condition that you hear about in general. It may be electronic monitoring, house arrest with electronic monitoring. It may be what they're calling quick dips now. This is something new under the Justice Reinvestment Act. This is a short, a very short period of time in jail, like two to three days. They can give them one time or they could give them up to six days per month in two to three day increments, up to three months total. So it could be short weekends in jail. I could also include restitution, community service, fines, any of the other conditions are available to the judge but they have to start at least with supervised probation. Now, if it's a community punishment, it's even broader. There, the judge may just impose a fine. Community punishments can be a fine only. They impose unsupervised probation with certain conditions, or they could include supervised probation with all the conditions I mentioned before, except for the split sentence or drug treatment court. Those two are reserved strictly for intermedate punishments. This really isn't the end of it for the offender. Once they leave the court, this is a new aspect that's coming to the Justice Reinvestment Act, it's enhanced it, the probation officer also has certain conditions available to them to impose upon the offender. Probation will get the offender, they do a risk and needs assessment to determine what this offender might need in addition to what the court's imposed, and then they have a list of conditions they can add on to the offender's sentence. That may include electronic monitoring house arrest, it may include some quick dips in jail, various other aspects, vocational training, substance abuse assessment and treatment, things like that that once they've got the offender and they can get to know them a little better, I believe it's about a 60 day process that they spend trying to get through their assessment, then they can assign these additional conditions. That's available both for intermediate and community punishments. Now, to take it just a little bit further down the road beyond sentencing, if the offender is on probation and they fail to comply with their conditions, then the judge has several options. If they commit a new crime, if they abscond from probation, the judge can revoke probation, send them to prison for their prison sentence. If, however, they just violate some of these technical conditions, they don't show up to their appointments, they have a positive drug test, something like that, the judge cannot revoke their probation initially but he does have a series of options that he can use. He can use those quick dips we talked about, he can ratchet them up from a community to an intermediate punishment. He could add a split sentence. He could also impose what is called a period of confinement in response to violations, CRV, you'll probably be hearing more about that as you go through the process this year. This is a 90 day period of confinement, but the offender then leaves that and goes back on to probation. So they're not done with their sentence, they not done fulfilling their conditions
?? Back under probation. So they’re not done with their sentence. They’re not done fulfilling their conditions. They simply get this period of confinement. Now, the Division of Adult Correction has centers where they send them to receive additional treatment and the programming, and when they come out of there they go back into the community, back under probation, and continue with their sentence there. If they fail, if they receive two periods of CRV in a row, the third time then the judge has the option of revoking their probation and sending them to prison. So those are the types of sentences that the judge has at his disposal there. The active or the suspended sentence, intermediate and community if it’s suspended. The last thing that the judge has to determine is the length of sentence. That’s represented by all the numbers you see on the grid, and you see on the next page after it as well. And we’ll break those apart, piece by piece here. I’m going to draw an example out of this. We’ll take an offender who’s convicted of armed robbery, which is a class D felony. And they have 12 prior record points. You see, 12 puts them up in prior record level 4. So this would be the cell that they would end up in, and this would present the options available to the judge at sentencing. First you see three different ranges there. All of these ranges, all of these numbers, represent the minimum sentences that are available for the judge. They could choose from anywhere within this range. There are some limitations on if they will go over, but essentially with this example offender, the judge is looking at an option anywhere from 58 months to 121 months, for a minimum sentence. This also represents, the minimum sentence represents the time the offender has to serve. There is no parole release for these offenders. There is no good time awards that will reduce that minimum sentence. Whatever the judge determines is the minimum is the time the offender is then going to serve in prison. That’s the truth in sentencing aspect of it. So the judge begins in the middle range, the presumptive range. And they could start from there, they could sentence from there. About 70%, almost 70% of the sentences handed down in a year are in that presumptive range. Judge can pick a number anywhere in there. If however, they find aggravating factors are present – perhaps it was particularly atrocious, heinous crime, the victim was particularly young or vulnerable, things like that – they can move up to the aggravated sentence range. That gives the judge a whole longer range to work with. Conversely if they find mitigating factors are present – that they find that the defendant played a passive role in the crime, or that the defendant’s age or mental maturity played a role in that – then they can move down to the mitigated range. It gives them another set of numbers to choose from. Whichever range they end up in, they will select one number from that range. And it can be anywhere in there. Taking the presumptive range here, it could be 78 months, 80, 85, 89, 92 or 97. Anywhere in there, they could pick that number. Again, this gives the judge a little bit of an opportunity to tailor his sentence a little more toward the facts of the case. As I mentioned before, they would pick one minimum out of there, and that minimum then represents the amount of time the offender has to serve. Now they will also impose a maximum sentence. That’s on page 11 of your handout. The maximum sentence is not discretionary. This is really automatic. It’s just simply doing the math, imposing a sentence beyond the minimum. For the class B1 through E felonies, the maximum sentence is basically the minimum sentence, 120% of that minimum, plus 12 months for post-release supervision. I’ll break that out in a minute. But they add 20% on, plus 12 months. If it happens to be a sex offender in class B1 through E, it’ll be 20% plus 60 months added on. Whereas for the F through I felons, it’s essentially the minimum sentence plus 20 months, plus 9 months for post-release supervision. So there’s a lot packed into the maximums. Take some of the pieces out of there, first of all you take the minimum sentence and it adds 20% to it. What is that for?
That is a period where the offender can earn time off. If the offender is in prison, they participate in treatment or education programs or they work at a job while they're in the prison they can earn a certain number of days per month off their sentence, but it comes off of that 20%. It comes off mathematically so that the most that they could earn would be down to their minimum, no lower than that, but then there's also this period on top of that for after F through I's, a 9 month period. The offender is originally released 9 months before the maximum and less any earned time, but that is a period of post-release supervision they will serve now. They'll go back into the community, they'll be supervised by associate probation officers a lot like the probation structure. They will have this 9 month or 12 month with B1 through E felonies sentence hanging over their head. If they fail to comply with their conditions, the post-release supervision and parole commission can work with the offender, they can add additional conditions, they can revoke the offender for a portion of that 9 months if they choose and then send them back out on post-release supervision. So it's all factored into there. I think if you wanna see, look at your chart, two examples that I find the easiest to look at. If you look at 100 months in the B1 to E category, that's in the third column there, you can see a minimum of 100 months, you can see a maximum of 132. so that's 100 plus the 20%, in this case it would be 120 months, plus the 12, so that leaves up to 132, and that's how the pieces fit together. The same thing with the F through I's, if you look at the 10 month minimum, you see the maximum there's 21 months. Includes the 2 months which is the 20% plus the 9 month for post-release supervision, so it's all included into this minimum and maximum that the judge imposes in the court. That was really at a very high, 3000 point model overview, but those are really the components of structured sentencing. Those are the four pieces that make it up. You can see, look at the full grid now, you can see the classes for the criminal offence, the prior record level for the offender, they're all classified based on severity, then once they get into the A cell on the grid it tells the judge what options are available, active or suspended sentence, what length of sentence are available. They've got the minimum and the maximum. Having that minimum gives them the truth in sentencing principle, the principle that they were trying to achieve. Having every offender classified by their offence and their prior record level gives that level or consistency and certainty to it. If you look at where the A's are on the grid as compared to the I's and C's, you can see that the active punishments are up in the upper level and out to the right to prioritize the prisons for the violent offenders and repeat offenders using the intermediate and the community for the less serious offenders with little or no prior record, and using this grid, and know that this is used with every offender throughout the state, and using our population simulation model, the commission is able to project what the resource needs will be because the sentences are predictable and we provide that to you on a regular basis, what sort of prison beds will be needed and so on so that you can keep the policies and the resources in balance. Before I move on to misdemeanors do you wanna see if anybody has a question? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Everybody clearly understand it. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chairman. [SPEAKER CHANGES] [??] Certainly. [??] to consecutive sentences [??] [SPEAKER CHANGES] Absolutely. When the judge has multiple offences, multiple convictions in front of them they have three choices really. One is they can consolidate the offenses and they impose a punishment for the most serious offence and simply pick that sentence on the grid. The second choice is they can run them concurrent. They sentence for each one of them, put them in their appropriate cell on the grid and select one for each sentence but they all run at the same time, so the most serious one would then dictate how long they would be in prison or on probation. The third option is running consecutively and there is no restriction on that for felons. They can run multiple sentences back to back. What they will do is add up all the minimum sentences. They will
Speaker Changes:each minimum sentence in the line up so let the minimum sentence then dd up and then go o the back and determine the maximum bout ?? Speaker Changes:?? Speaker Changes:i think sometimes there is confusion specially multiple times ?? i know that the class for ones re well over make attorney nd judges mke ll ?? problems if the notify the plans of inconsistent what they should be Speaker Changes: ?? diplomatic way to say it Speaker Changes: but very rare Speaker Changes: as a prosecutor i made several mistakes regarding the calculation on the charts will i need to stay in the court every time is good to see that sentenced charged in ?? i wondering little question how we handle question for PWI ? Speaker Changes: PWI re not under structural sentencing they re their own structure ?? based upon the level ?? they re still eligible to glow receive their big time an they hadn't included ?? that is class ?? if they re convicted virtually and determine prior recorded so fr ?? PWI they doesn't come under these rules Speaker Changes: thank you Speaker Changes: ?? is basically the same concept you could see this on page 12 and of your had out but it is much simpler version they are lot more ?? so the commission decided to simply it ?? in the district courts you got offense classes ?? they re re no criteria ?? what the commission did originally was ?? whether these re 30 days 6 months or 2 years going in the wisdom what the general assembly had felt has enacted the statutes A1 ?? so we gotta go with the number to do it and that was basically ?? of the offenses ?? like that to treat like that to more conviction ?? justifying one point each first level no more conviction and the third level prior more conviction those ?? information gin put your cell in one of the cell and the judges looking like same options there and look t the sentences but that is little different you gotta see eyes and ace
active, pretty much the same idea available to the judge. Active here represents jail time now, all misdemeanors are going into jail one way or another. The I's and the A's are supervised probation. I'm sorry, the C's and the I's, supervised probation, unsupervised probation, fines, so on. If you look down in the lower left hand corner, a class three, levels one and two. This was a change the General Assembly made in 2013. Those first two cells were limited to a fine only now. So we can't even get probation down in those two cells, the least serious offender, little or no prior record. I believe that that was, in part, due to indigent defense costs and this was a way of reducing the cost for them. As far as sentence length, we don't have aggravation and mitigation, we don't have a minimum and a maximum, we have one range for the judge to choose from in each cell. This range represents days rather than months. But again, it's time the offender must serve. They can earn a little bit off of that if they participate in programs, treatment, education, or they work in the jail unit, but it's a very limited amount. So, once again, the offender will receive a sentence in the court and they'll get a time close to the time that they will serve in the jail. As we mentioned before, DWI's are not part of this structure but just about every other misdemeanor comes under this structure. I will move to the last item then. Staff asked us simply to talk a little bit about the effects that structured sentencing has on sentencing overall, kind of three areas we wanted to highlight. One of them is sentence lengths. This is something you don't hear as much about now because it has been 20 years but, originally, we heard a great deal about it. Prior to structured sentencing there were some very long sentence lengths on the books, up to 50 years sentence lengths available for the higher classes. When structured sentencing was enacted, they looked a lot shorter. People said we're cutting these sentences in half, we're reducing a tremendous amount. They were shorter in most cases, not in every case, they were shorter than what was in the books but, because of the truth in sentencing aspect, because it was time the offender was going to be serving, time served actually was longer. Felons going to prison were serving more of their sentence and they were serving a longer sentence than what they would have prior to structured sentencing. As you imagine though, that would have an impact on prison population. Before, offenders were being turned out pretty quickly in order to keep it within the capacity of the prisons. Now you've got offenders coming for a longer time and they can't be released under parole release. So it did have an impact on prison beds. Initially, the state had to build for a little while to keep up with the policies that were placed in the structure. We also had growth in the population. If you think between 1990 and today, the state has grown a great deal. We've had a number of people come in, more people produces a larger number of offenders, even if the percentage doesn't increase. Also, as years go by, the General Assembly will enact new statutes. There are new crimes that come up that will reclassify existing crimes. That all has an impact. That's one of the four pieces that has an impact on that structure. So throughout the first 10-15 years of structured sentencing, as these forces were impacting it, the General Assembly was appropriating money for additional prisons, keep the resources up with the policies that they had in place. About 2009, the General Assembly did change the ??. Remember, we talked about that in the beginning, they changed some of the sentences, those minimum sentences, to make sure they were more proportionate across the grid. They also changed the prior record level to make sure the offenders were distributed more evenly. The result of this, one of the results, was that it curved some of the projected growth. We're looking at a large growth coming up in the next ten years after that, and this helped to reduce some of that projected growth, we curved that. At the same time, if you think back to the last several years, crime rate was dropping too. That wasn't something that anyone could have predicted or projected in any way but we started to see a drop at that point as well. So this helped to reduce some of the impact on the prison beds. Finally, the most recent change was the Justice Reinvestment Act. As I said before, that had a lot of impact on probationers and things that the Division of Adult Correction was going to do with offenders in the community.
Speaker Changes:one of the main thing was they could not revoke them when they buy ?? those were large group of offended coming into the prison and grouping like that?? and you see the various others that do ?? the only you say is because you have that structure place because you have that policies and have stimulation models and what to change ?? resources and the once you said s the policies mistake Speaker Changes:?? Speaker Changes:No it's good question prior to the justice reinvent ct everyone over 90 days they would have on it now everyone is going to jail on it ?? we don't have passage numbers of the state because every jail is independent ?? but we certainly herd judges says what their jail capacity is think bout my jail ?? they disperse the across the state ?? Speaker Changes:OK now the point you made about the disperse cross the states is elaborating Speaker Changes:absolutely the state wide is part of the justice reinvent the idea was there re two piece they have 100 jails to ?? takes they have so 50 jails so take they room visible ??? under 90 days that goes to local jail they tried them as possible ?? there wise they would tried to place you in neighboring county ?? but so they can place ?? in the ?? and hopefully we can do something bout ?? Speaker Changes: now director if i say this wrong i think it is help to control there prison population initially polices increase the prison policies and we educe the population one of the min things was
Other acts, like Justice Reinvestment, as a part of the structure, has helped to reduce the population as well. It is down from its peak. Its peak was about 2009, roughly 41,000. It is down now to about 37,000. So the structure, as a tool, has helped to control that population. I look to Susan to see if I've missed anything on that. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Susan Katzenelson, Executive Director of the Sentencing Commission and what I would like to point out about the structured sentencing is it's a structure, it's a concept. It's as much a tool as the content that you put in it, so, I have no idea what I sound like, but the two main drivers of prison populations in the United States for the past 20-25 years have been population growth and this state has been very fortunate in growing from six-million-some to close to ten million in that time period and the crime rate. The type of sentencing is a second step that kind of follows behind that. So the majority of prisons that had to be built is because we were just receiving more people but an interesting number to mention here is our incarceration rate has not increased. So we didn't have proportionately more offenders who needed to go to prison, we just, we are more of us, all of us. So the rate has been hovering in the middle of the United States' rates and the second lowest or lowest among southern states. So we've been doing well with that. I think what structured sentencing was emphasizing more, two things, truth in sentencing, which was a public complaint that we hear the judge announce the sentence at the courtroom and that's not what's happening. At the end it was 17-18% of the time and the victim of the families saw the person out on the street way too soon. The other one is to do it proportionately, to think rationally. If we have a limited number of beds, which we always do, who are the people who we really want to be safe from more than other people and hence the violent and/or prior records and combinations thereof. So the actual population growth has been initially down because there we many more intermediate options and the courts and the community accepted that if you're supervised more closely and we put more conditions on it, it might be also helpful to keep you in the community for rehabilitation and for close supervision. I think what drove up the prison in those middle years that John had mentioned is one of them was the, there was some lack of ??, we have true life sentences now for homicide and so on. So these people started to, what we call piling on and not coming out. The other one was revocations, that people, the prison entry at any given year was close to 50% people entering prison were not entering on a new sentence from a new conviction but rather for a revocation of their probation sentence. That why I think that justice reinvestment had made the main, one of the main impacts on prison populations and that's saying, "We will try at least two more times working with you in the community, if not more, before you get revoked." That created a huge drop and it will maintain that. So it's not a simple one on one relationship but the structure helps you control it. Every time you look at legislation you know, within reasonable limits, of what the impact of that will be. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I just look at the people, the revocation rate, the citizen rate of people going back, climbing back into the system and the cost for that. [SPEAKER CHANGES] For the recidivism part? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Well, we're talking about once they get back into the system, there's a cost for that. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Right. It basically becomes a prison cost, which is way more expensive than probation, and justice reinvestment really, that was one of the reasons, trying to rehabilitate them with another. So the recidivism part of that new approach is not in yet because it's too new. We also have a mandate from you to track recidivism and so we will be happy to, hopefully another two year cycle, to come back and say the ?? that has been under structured sentencing, this is their recidivism, and justice reinvestment, that's their recidivism rate. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Johnson, are you good with that? As you can tell, Susan is from, with her accent, she's from South Carolina somewhere.
Speaker changes:Thanks a lot i know you have a lot to speak about in the future anyway if you do have questions i would like to ask john ?? that has been very successful program john did you comment on that ?? Speaker changes:but just reminder here quick deal with the idea ?? very short periods in jail could be two or three days up to total 6 days per month up to three months in total ?? the d a c have done study of the effectiveness of the initially effectiveness i think that's very very good result for i think provide more information i think that they are happy so for providing more and more information ?? Speaker changes:i would like to thank everyone for coming it's nice to her for ?? clerk records surely and reign ?? and you re in the proximity and complexity of this system ,do you have any questions we have lot of people to answer so thank you ll for coming we stand adjourn thank you