Thursday, July 7, 2011

Justice Reinvestment Act: A Primer

Governor Purdue signed the Justice Reinvestment into law last month. These changes will be going into effect on December 1, 2011. Read the full act here.

Ends the meaningful distinction between intermediate and community punishments.
First, changes the conditions that qualify for intermediate punishment. The new punishments are
  • House Arrest
  • Community Service
  • Up to 6 Days per month in Jail for up to 3 Months (served in 2-3 day periods)
  • Substance abuse assessment and treatment
  • Education or vocational skills assessment and training
  • Satellite-based monitoring
Under the new rules, a court may require these for community punishments (the C block of the punishment chart) and must include at least one for intermediate punishment (the I block).

Amends the authority of the probation officer to require additional tasks. Now, a probation officer, without order of the court, can make a probationer (and subject them to violation for non-compliance) do the following in a community punishment.
  • Do 20 hours of community service (50 if its an intermediate punishment)
  • Report to the office anytime
  • Submit to substance abuse treatment/assessment
  • House Arrest
  • Submit to confinement up to 6 days a month, for up to 3 months
  • Submit to a curfew
  • Participate in vocational rehabilitation.
An offender can challenge this, but they also can waive this by signing a form with their probation officer, without court appointed counsel.

Habitual Breaking and Entering. Creates the crime of "habitual breaking and entering." Second breaking and entering convictions are punished as Class E felonies (rather than class H).

Reduced Sentencing for Habitual Felon. Makes sentencing for habitual felon be 4 classes higher than the felony charged, up to class C, rather than automatically a class C. So, if you get charged with an H, you can be sentenced as an D, rather than as a C under the old law.

Probation Revocation. Allows the court, for violations other than absconding or committing new crimes, to incarcerated the probation violator for 90 day periods in county jail. There is also a line that "The court may not revoke probation unless the defendant has previously received a total of two periods of confinement under this subsection." This sounds like it means that, for violations other than new charges/absconding, the judge has to give 90 day incarcerations twice before revoking for the entire period.

Deferral. Creates a right to deferral in drug cases for first offenders for simple possession and misdemeanor cases.

Makes administrative changes to jail drug programs and housing of prisoners in county jail versus state prison.

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