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Introduced Version House Bill 3142 History

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H. B. 3142

 

         (By Delegate Gearheart)

         [Introduced March 25, 2013; referred to the

         Committee on the Judiciary then Finance.]

 

 

 

 

A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated §62-12-12b; and to amend and reenact §62-12-13, all relating to eligibility for release on parole of inmates in regional jails that have been committed to prison; establishing a program to expedite the provision of all services, treatment, evaluations, assessments and programs, including a written parole release plan, to be eligible for parole; providing various methods to provide components of the program at regional jails; providing payment of costs for the program; and revising eligibility requirements for parole.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:

    That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §62-12-12b; and that §62-12-13 of said code be amended and reenacted, all to read as follows:

ARTICLE 12. PROBATION AND PAROLE.

§62-12-12b. Parole eligibility programs and services for inmates detained in a regional jail that have been committed to prison.

    The Division of Corrections shall develop and implement a comprehensive plan to provide and develop all services, treatment, evaluations, assessments and programs, including a written parole release plan, necessary to address the needs of inmates detained in a regional jail, but committed to the custody of the Commissioner of Corrections, to be eligible for parole. The program shall be developed in consultation with the Regional Jail Authority, and all or any component of the services or program may be offered by video teleconference or webinar technology or may be provided at the regional jail. The division may enter into agreements or make other arrangements with the Regional Jail Authority for providing any component of the program by resources available to, or which can be provided by, the authority. The costs of the program shall be paid out of funds appropriated to the Division of Corrections.

§62-12-13. Powers and duties of board; eligibility for parole; procedure for granting parole.

    (a) The board of parole Parole Board, whenever it is of the opinion that the best interests of the state and of the inmate will be served, and subject to the limitations hereinafter provided in this section, shall release any inmate on parole for terms and upon conditions as are provided by this article.

    (b) Any inmate of a state correctional center institution is eligible for parole if he or she:

    (1)(A) Has served the minimum term of his or her indeterminate sentence or has served one fourth of his or her definite term sentence, as the case may be; or

    (B) He or she:

    (i) Has applied for and been accepted by the Commissioner of Corrections into an accelerated parole program;

    (ii) Does not have a prior criminal conviction for a felony crime of violence against the person, a felony offense involving the use of a firearm or a felony offense where the victim was a minor child. As used in this subsection, a “felony crime of violence against the person” and a “felony crime where the victim was a minor child” have the same meaning set forth in section thirteen, article twelve, chapter sixty-two of this section;

    (iii) Has no record of institutional disciplinary rule violations for a period of one hundred twenty days prior to parole consideration unless the requirement is waived by the commissioner;

    (iv) (iii) Is not serving a sentence for a crime of violence against the person, or more than one felony for a controlled substance offense for which the inmate is serving a consecutive sentence, a felony offense involving the use of a firearm or a felony offence offense where the victim was a minor child; and

    (v) (iv) Has successfully completed a rehabilitation treatment program created with the assistance of a standardized risk and needs assessment.

    (I) As used in this section “felony crime of violence against the person” means felony offenses set forth in articles two, three-e, eight-b or eight-d of chapter sixty-one of this code; and

    (II) As used in this section “felony offense where the victim was a minor child” means any felony crime of violence against the person and any felony violation set forth in article eight, eight-a, eight-c or eight-d of chapter sixty-one of this code.

    (C) Notwithstanding any provision of this code to the contrary, any person inmate who committed, or attempted to commit, a felony with the use, presentment or brandishing of a firearm, is not eligible for parole prior to serving a minimum of three years of his or her sentence or the maximum sentence imposed by the court, whichever is less: Provided, That any person inmate who committed, or attempted to commit, any violation of section twelve, article two, chapter sixty-one of this code, with the use, presentment or brandishing of a firearm, is not eligible for parole prior to serving a minimum of five years of his or her sentence or one third of his or her definite term sentence, whichever is greater. Nothing in this paragraph applies to an accessory before the fact or a principal in the second degree who has been convicted as if he or she were a principal in the first degree if, in the commission of or in the attempted commission of the felony, only the principal in the first degree used, presented or brandished a firearm. A person An inmate is not ineligible for parole under the provisions of this paragraph because of the commission or attempted commission of a felony with the use, presentment or brandishing of a firearm unless that fact is clearly stated and included in the indictment or presentment by which the person was charged and was either: (i) Found guilty by the court at the time of trial upon a plea of guilty or nolo contendere; (ii) found guilty by the jury, upon submitting to the jury a special interrogatory for such purpose if the matter was tried before a jury; or (iii) found guilty by the court, if the matter was tried by the court without a jury.

    For the purpose of this section, the term "firearm" means any instrument which will, or is designed to, or may readily be converted to, expel a projectile by the action of an explosive, gunpowder or any other similar means.

    (D) The amendments to this subsection adopted in the year 1981:

    (i) Apply to all applicable offenses occurring on or after August 1 of that year;

    (ii) Apply with respect to the contents of any indictment or presentment returned on or after August 1 of that year irrespective of when the offense occurred;

    (iii) Apply with respect to the submission of a special interrogatory to the jury and the finding to be made thereon in any case submitted to the jury on or after August 1 of that year or to the requisite findings of the court upon a plea of guilty or in any case tried without a jury: Provided, That the state gives notice in writing of its intent to seek such finding by the jury or court, as the case may be. which The notice shall state with particularity the grounds upon which the finding will be sought as fully as such the grounds are otherwise required to be stated in an indictment, unless the grounds therefor upon which the finding will be sought are alleged in the indictment or presentment upon which the matter is being tried; and

    (iv) Does not apply with respect to cases not affected by the amendments and in such those cases the prior provisions of this section apply and are construed without reference to the amendments.

    (1) (v) Insofar as the amendments relate to mandatory sentences restricting the eligibility for parole, all matters requiring a mandatory sentence shall be proved beyond a reasonable doubt in all cases tried by the jury or the court;

    (2) Is not in punitive segregation or administrative segregation as a result of disciplinary action;

    (3) Has maintained a record of good conduct in prison for a period of at least three months immediately preceding the date of his or her release on parole;

    (4) Has prepared and submitted to the Parole Board a written parole release plan setting forth proposed plans for his or her place of residence, employment and, if appropriate, his or her plans regarding education and post-release counseling and treatment: Provided, That an inmate’s application for parole may be considered by the Parole Board without the prior submission of a home plan, but the inmate shall have a home plan approved by the Parole Board prior to his or her release on parole. The Commissioner of Corrections or his or her designee shall review and investigate the plan to be reviewed and investigated and provide recommendations to the Parole Board as to the suitability of the plan: Provided, That in cases in which there is a mandatory thirty-day notification period required prior to the release of the inmate, pursuant to section twenty-three of this article, the Parole Board may conduct an initial interview and deny parole without requiring the development of a plan. In the event the Parole Board does not believe parole should be denied believes parole should be granted, it may defer a final decision pending completion of an investigation and receipt of recommendations. Upon receipt of the plan together with the investigation and recommendation, the Parole Board, through a panel, shall make a final decision regarding the granting or denial of parole; and

    (5) Has satisfied the Parole Board that if released on parole he or she will not constitute a danger to the community.

    (c) Except in the case of a person an inmate serving a life sentence, no a person who has been previously twice convicted of a felony may not be released on parole until he or she has served the minimum term provided by law for the crime for which he or she was convicted. A person An inmate sentenced for life may not be paroled until he or she has served ten years, and a person an inmate sentenced for life who has been previously twice convicted of a felony may not be paroled until he or she has served fifteen years: Provided, That a person an inmate convicted of first degree murder for an offense committed on or after June 10, 1994, is not eligible for parole until he or she has served fifteen years.

    (d) In the case of a person an inmate sentenced to any state correctional center, it is the duty of the board institution, the Parole Board, as soon as a person that inmate becomes eligible, to shall consider the advisability of his or her release on parole.

    (e) If, upon consideration, parole is denied, the Parole Board shall promptly notify the inmate of the denial. The Parole Board shall, at the time of denial, notify the inmate of the month and year he or she may apply for reconsideration and review. The Parole Board shall at least once a year reconsider and review the case of every inmate who was denied parole and who is still eligible: Provided, That the Parole Board may reconsider and review parole eligibility anytime within three years following the denial of parole of an inmate serving a life sentence with the possibility of parole.

    (f) Any person inmate serving a sentence on a felony conviction who becomes eligible for parole consideration prior to being transferred to a state correctional center institution may make written application for parole. The terms and conditions for parole consideration established by this article apply to such inmates that inmate.

    (g) The Parole Board shall, with the approval of the Governor, adopt rules governing the procedure in the granting of parole. No provision of this article and none of the rules adopted hereunder under this article are intended or may be construed to contravene, limit or otherwise interfere with or affect the authority of the Governor to grant pardons and reprieves, commute sentences, remit fines or otherwise exercise his or her Constitutional powers of executive clemency.

    (h) (1) The Division of Corrections shall promulgate policies and procedures for developing a rehabilitation treatment plan created with the assistance of a standardized risk and needs assessment. The policies and procedures shall include, but not be limited to, policy and procedures for provide for, at a minimum, screening and selecting inmates for rehabilitation treatment and development, and use of using standardized risk and needs assessment and substance abuse assessment tools, and prioritizing the use of residential substance abuse treatment resources based on the results of the standardized risk and needs assessment and a substance abuse assessment.

    (2) An inmate shall not be paroled under paragraph (B), subdivision (1), subsection (b) of this section solely due to having successfully completed a rehabilitation treatment plan, but completion of all the requirements of a rehabilitation parole treatment plan along with compliance with the requirements of subsection (b) of this section shall creates a rebuttable presumption that parole is appropriate. The presumption created by this subsection subdivision may be rebutted by a Parole Board finding that, according to the standardized risk and needs assessment, at the time parole release is sought the inmate still constitutes a reasonable risk to the safety or property of other persons if released. Nothing in subsection (b) of this section or in this subsection may be construed to create a right to parole.

    (i) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (b) of this section, the Parole Board may, in its discretion, grant or deny parole to an inmate against whom a detainer is lodged by a jurisdiction other than West Virginia for service of a sentence of incarceration, upon a written request for parole from the inmate. A denial of parole under this subsection shall preclude precludes consideration for parole for a period of one year or until the provisions of subsection (b) of this section are applicable.

    (j) Where If an inmate is otherwise eligible for parole pursuant to subsection (b) of this section and has completed the rehabilitation treatment program required under subsection (h) of this section, but the Parole Board determines that may not require the inmate should to participate in an additional program, or but may determine that the inmate must complete an assigned task or tasks prior to actual release on parole. The board may grant parole contingently, effective upon successful completion of the program or assigned task or tasks, without the need for a further hearing. The Commissioner of Corrections shall provide notice to the Parole Board of the imminent release of a contingently paroled inmate to effectuate appropriate supervision.

    (k) The Division of Corrections is charged with the duty of supervising shall supervise all probationers and parolees whose supervision may have been undertaken by this state by reason of any interstate compact entered into pursuant to the Uniform Act For Out-of-State Parolee Supervision.

    (l)(1) When considering an inmate of a state correctional center for release on parole, the Parole Board panel considering the parole is to shall have before it an authentic copy of or report on the inmate's current criminal record as provided through the West Virginia State Police, the United States Department of Justice or any other reliable criminal information sources and written reports of the warden or superintendent of the state correctional center institution to which the inmate is sentenced:

    (A) On the inmate's conduct record while in custody, including a detailed statement showing any and all infractions of disciplinary rules by the inmate and the nature and extent of discipline administered therefor for the infractions;

    (B) On improvement or other changes noted in the inmate's mental and moral condition while in custody, including a statement expressive of the inmate's current attitude toward society in general, toward the judge who sentenced him or her, toward the prosecuting attorney who prosecuted him or her, toward the policeman or other officer who arrested the inmate and toward the crime for which he or she is under sentence and his or her previous criminal record;

    (C) On the inmate's industrial record while in custody which shall include: The nature of his or her work, occupation or education, the average number of hours per day he or she has been employed or in class while in custody and a recommendation as to the nature and kinds of employment which he or she is best fitted to perform and in which the inmate is most likely to succeed when he or she leaves prison the state correctional institution; and

    (D) On any physical, mental, and psychological or psychiatric examinations of the inmate. conducted, insofar as practicable, within the two months next preceding parole consideration by the board.

    (2) The Parole Board panel considering the parole may waive the requirement of any report when not available or not applicable as to any inmate considered for parole but, in every such case, shall enter in the its record thereof its reason for the waiver: Provided, That in the case of an inmate who is incarcerated because the inmate has been found guilty of, or has pleaded guilty to, a felony under the provisions of section twelve, article eight, chapter sixty-one of this code or under the provisions of article eight-b or eight-c of said chapter, the Parole Board panel may not waive the report required by this subsection. and The report is to shall include a study and diagnosis of the inmate, including an on-going treatment plan requiring active participation in sexual abuse counseling at an approved mental health facility or through some other approved program: Provided, however, That nothing disclosed by the person inmate during the study or diagnosis may be made available to any law-enforcement agency, or other party without that person's inmate’s consent, or admissible in any court of this state, unless the information disclosed indicates the intention or plans of the parolee to do harm to any person, animal, institution or to property. Progress reports of outpatient treatment are to be made at least every six months to the parole officer supervising the person parolee. In addition, in such cases, the Parole Board shall inform the prosecuting attorney of the county in which the person was convicted of the parole hearing and shall request that the prosecuting attorney inform the Parole Board of the circumstances surrounding a conviction or plea of guilty, plea bargaining and other background information that might be useful in its deliberations.

    (m) Before releasing any inmate on parole, the board of parole Parole Board shall arrange for the inmate to appear in person before a Parole Board panel and the panel may examine and interrogate him or her on any matters pertaining to his or her parole, including reports before the Parole Board made pursuant to the provisions hereof of this section: Provided, That an inmate may appear by video teleconference if the members of the Parole Board panel conducting the examination are able to contemporaneously see the inmate and hear all of his or her remarks and if the inmate is able to contemporaneously see each of the members of the panel conducting the examination and hear all of the members' remarks. The panel shall reach its own written conclusions as to the desirability of releasing the inmate on parole and the majority of the panel considering the release shall must concur in the decision. The warden or superintendent shall furnish all necessary assistance and cooperate to the fullest extent with the Parole Board. All information, records and reports received by the Parole Board are to shall be kept on permanent file.

    (n) The Parole Board and its designated agents are at all times to have access to inmates imprisoned in any state correctional center institution or in any jail in this state and may obtain any information or aid necessary to the performance of its duties from other departments and agencies of the state or from any political subdivision thereof of the state.

    (o) The Parole board shall, if so requested by the Governor, investigate and consider all applications for pardon, reprieve or commutation and shall make recommendation thereon on the applications to the Governor.

    (p) Prior to making a recommendation for pardon, reprieve or commutation and prior to releasing any inmate on parole, the Parole Board shall notify the sentencing judge and prosecuting attorney at least ten days before the recommendation or parole.

    (q) Any person released on parole A parolee shall participate as a condition of parole in the litter control program of the county to which he or she is released to the extent directed by the Parole Board, unless the board specifically finds that this alternative service would be inappropriate.

    (r) Except for the amendments to this section contained in subdivision (4), subsection (b) and subsection (i) of this section the amendments to this section enacted during the 2010 regular session of the Legislature shall become effective on January 1, 2011.

    NOTE: The purpose of this bill is provide an expedited procedure for inmates to meet eligibility requirements for release on parole of inmates, including inmates in regional jails that have been committed to prison; establishes a program to expedite the provision of all services, treatment, evaluations, assessments and programs, including a written parole release plan, to be eligible for parole; The bill also provides various methods to provide components of the program at regional jails;. The Division of Corrections is responsible for payment of costs for the program. The bill also revises eligibility requirements for parole generally.



    Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.


    §62-12-12b is new; therefore, it has been completely underscored.

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