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Profiles in Parole Release and Revocation: Examining the Legal Framework in the United States, Alabama

November 15, 2018

Alabama established a sentencing commission in 2000, and has utilized advisory sentencing standards in felonycases since 2006. In 2013, the Alabama Sentencing Standards grew to include presumptive standards for non-violent offenses. Alabama has a "truth in sentencing" statute that does not take effect until 2020 and will require the court to pronounce a minimum term and an extended term (120% of the minimum term) and mandates post-release supervision. Currently, however, offenders are sentenced to a definite term of imprisonment and may be released on parole, if eligible.

Profiles in Parole Release and Revocation Nevada

March 9, 2018

Felony sentences in Nevada have both a minimum and a maximum term, unless a definite term is required by statute. In 2017, legislation was passed creating the Nevada Sentencing Commission. The Commission hasmany statutory duties, including formulating statutory sentencing guidelines to be enacted by the legislature. Nevada's first Pardons Board was created in 1867. The Board was granted the power to parole inmates in 1909. In 1989, Nevada passed legislation that required the Board to create standards for parole release and revocation.Nevada also signed justice reinvestment legislation in 2007, which increased incentives for parolees to comply with supervision and expanded alternatives to incarceration.

Profiles in Parole Release and Revocation Kentucky

February 1, 2018

Sentences imposed in Kentucky are for a specific number of years (i.e. "three years"); referred to as a "fixed" sentence in state statute. Kentucky does not have sentencing guide-lines or a sentencing commission. Parole was first authorized in Kentucky in 1888. In 1900, the Board of Prison Commissioners was granted releasing authority. A full-time parole board was established in 1962 and, most recently, was expanded to nine members in 2010. In 2011, HB 463 (the Offender Accountability Act) passed; as a result, parole release now requires risk and needs assessment, parolees can complete some correctional programming in the community, and many other changes have been made. In 2012, some provisions were modified by HB 54, a bill that allowed the Department of Corrections to set special conditions of parole based on risk assessment. Finally, in 2015, SB 192 modified parole release for some serious heroin offenses and now requires cost calculations for reentry services for those with opiate or other drug addictions.

Profiles in Parole Release and Revocation Maryland

February 1, 2018

The Maryland Parole Commission (MPC) was created in 1976 to replace the Board of Parole, which had been established in 1968. The first Advisory Board of Parole was founded in 1914. Maryland has had advisory sentencing guidelines since 1983. A sentence pronounced under the guidelines represents the maximum time an offender may serve and the parole commission then determines when an inmate will be considered for release.

Profiles in Parole Release and Revocation Massachusetts

February 1, 2018

Massachusetts' original sentencing commission was formed in 1994, and proposed sentencing guidelines in 1996 that were never adopted by the legislature. Massachusetts re-activated its Sentencing Commission in 2014. Its mandate is to "consult with national scholars, gather data on current sentencing practices, and research best practices across a range of sentencing options." Massachusetts has an indeterminate felony sentencing system in which courts impose both a minimum sentence (which determines parole eligibility) and a maximum sentence. The Commission accepts written comments and held a public hearing in October 2016 order to "formulate recommendations for sentencing policies and practices." Massachusetts was the first state in the country to develop a parole supervision system. The state passed a law authorizing parole in 1837. Under the original legislation, parole officers duties' "included assisting released prisoners in finding jobs and providing them with tools, clothing, and transportation at state expense." The current structure and function of the Board was enacted in 1955.

Profiles in Parole Release and Revocation New Hampshire

February 1, 2018

New Hampshire does not have a sentencing commission or sentencing guidelines. Sentences in New Hampshirehave a minimum and maximum term. By statute felony sentences also include a period of "disciplinary time," amandatory additional 150 day term of incarceration for each year of the minimum sentence that can be diminishedthrough good conduct. In 2010, New Hampshire passed a Justice Reinvestment Act, which made several reforms to their parole system.For a brief time period, the legislation created mandatory parole release at nine months prior to the expirationof sentence and limited the length of parole revocation for technical violations to 90 days. Legislation passedin 2011 then eliminated mandatory parole release and allowed longer terms of incarceration for technical violationsin certain cases. However, certain features of the original Justice Reinvestment Act are still in place, includingan intermediate sanctions program for minor parole violations. The original act would have decreased the growth of the prison population significantly; under the 2011 revisions to the act, New Hampshire's correctional population is growing at a modestly higher rate.

Profiles in Parole Release and Revocation Missouri

February 1, 2018

In Missouri, sentences imposed are for a definite term of years, and parole eligibility begins after a percentage of the term has been served. Sentencing judges use the Missouri Advisory Recommended Sentences, which the Missouri Sentencing Advisory Commission promulgated in 2004, as advisory guidelines. The state's parole board worked with the Commission to produce parole guidelines in March 2006. Missouri's Commission currently studies and reports on sentencing in the state, but no longer has authority to write specific sentencing recommendations.The Commission publishes a User Guide related to the Recommended Sentences each year that contains any legislative updates and includes information about sentencing and parole.

Profiles in Parole Release and Revocation Rhode Island

January 22, 2018

Rhode Island does not have a sentencing commission or statutory sentencing guidelines. The Rhode Island Superior Court, which has jurisdiction over felony crimes and sentences, uses sentencing benchmarks as well as general, statutory authority to sentence offenders to a specific term of imprisonment. Rhode Island has had conditional release since 1896, and the Parole Board has existed in some form since 1915. In 1993, the legislature passed an act that increased the number of board members from 6 to 7 and added a fulltime chairperson.

Closing the "Gap" Between Competency and Commitment in Minnesota: Ideas from National Standards and Practices in Other States

January 9, 2018

In Minnesota, a "gap" exists in the justice system for defendants with mental illness. Defendants in criminal cases are found incompetent to stand trial, yet do not meet the higher standard for civil commitment. Commitment is the only way to receive competency restoration treatment, so individuals who do not meet the standard are unable to resolve their criminal cases or to receive treatment. The Robina Institute conducted research see how other states address incompetency.

Profiles in Parole Release and Revocation Alaska

January 8, 2018

Alaska has had statutory sentencing guidelines in place since 1980, which have since been supplemented by appellate court decisions. Alaska briefly created a sentencing commission in 1990; it produced a final report in 1992 before its legislative mandate expired in 1993. Alaska felony defendants are sentenced to definite terms of imprisonment.Alaska's Constitution provides for a parole board; the statute that the current Board operates under was originallyenacted in 1985. Alaska law provides both discretionary parole for some inmates and mandatory parole for mostinmates serving a sentence of more than two years.

Profiles in Parole Release and Revocation: Examining the Legal Framework in the United States, Arkansas

January 1, 2018

The Parole Release and Revocation initiative researches the components and framework of parole release and revocation decision-making across the United States. Publications resulting from the initiative focus on the legal framework of parole release and revocation at the individual state and federal level. 

Profiles in Parole Release and Revocation New Jersey

January 1, 2018

New Jersey does not have a sentencing commission or sentencing guidelines. There are four broad categories of felony crimes in the state, and judges have a great deal of discretion to select a sentence from within the range of years associated with each category. The New Jersey State Parole Board, in its current form, was authorized by the Parole Act of 1979, which repealed and replaced the Parole Act of 1948. Until that time, there were four separate paroling authorities that each had jurisdiction over different segments of the offender population.