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SENATE BILL NO. 20
INTRODUCED BY D. SHEA
BY REQUEST OF THE BOARD OF PARDONS AND PAROLE
AN ACT DEFINING "INITIAL APPEARANCE"; CLARIFYING WHEN A PRISONER SHALL MAKE AN INITIAL APPEARANCE BEFORE THE BOARD OF PARDONS AND PAROLE; AUTHORIZING THE BOARD TO ADOPT RULES FOR VIDEO HEARINGS, PROGRESS REVIEWS, REVOCATION PROCEEDINGS, AND CLEMENCY PROCEEDINGS; PROVIDING FOR INTERACTIVE VIDEOCONFERENCING PAROLE AND REVOCATION HEARINGS AND ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEWS BY TELEPHONE; CLARIFYING THE LAWS RELATING TO PUBLIC ACCESS TO BOARD RECORDS; AMENDING SECTIONS 46-23-103, 46-23-202, AND 46-23-218, MCA; REPEALING SECTION 46-23-108, MCA; AND PROVIDING AN IMMEDIATE EFFECTIVE DATE.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:
Section 1. Section 46-23-103, MCA, is amended to read:
"46-23-103. Definitions. Unless the context requires otherwise, in this chapter, the following definitions apply:
(1) "Board" means the board of pardons and parole provided for in 2-15-2302.
(2) "Department" means the department of corrections provided for in 2-15-2301.
(3) "Executive clemency" refers to the powers of the governor as provided by section 12 of Article VI of the constitution of Montana.
(4) "Initial appearance" means the prisoner's first appearance before the board during the prisoner's current term of incarceration.
(4)(5) "Parole" means the release to the community of a prisoner by the decision of the board prior to the expiration of
the prisoner's term, subject to conditions imposed by the board and subject to supervision of the department of corrections."
Section 2. Section 46-23-202, MCA, is amended to read:
"46-23-202. Investigation of prisoner by board. (1) Within the 2 months prior to a prisoner's official parole eligibility
, or as soon thereafter as possible, the prisoner shall make an initial appearance before the board. the The board shall
consider all pertinent information regarding the prisoner, including:
(a) the circumstances of the offense;
(b) the prisoner's previous social history and criminal record;
(c) the prisoner's conduct, employment, and attitude in prison; and
(d) the reports of any physical and mental examinations that have been made.
(2) Before ordering the parole of
any a prisoner, the board shall:
(a) conduct a hearing and interview the prisoner. At the time of the hearing, the board
shall must receive relevant
statements from interested persons and any person may be represented by counsel, provided that the board has the power to
regulate procedures at all hearings.
(b) permit a victim to present a statement concerning the effects of the crime on the victim, the circumstances surrounding the crime, the manner in which the crime was perpetrated, and the victim's opinion regarding whether the prisoner should be paroled. In the board's discretion, the victim's statement may be kept confidential. The board shall consider the victim's statement, along with the information provided under subsection (1), in determining whether to grant parole."
Section 3. Section 46-23-218, MCA, is amended to read:
"46-23-218. Authority of board to adopt rules. The board may adopt any
other rules that it considers proper or
necessary with respect to the eligibility of prisoners for parole, the conduct of parole hearings, video hearings, progress
reviews, the conduct of revocation proceedings, clemency proceedings, and conditions to be imposed upon parolees."
Section 4. Parole and revocation hearings and administrative reviews -- telephone -- videoconference. The board may, in its discretion, hold any parole hearing or revocation hearing via interactive videoconference and may hold an administrative review via telephone conference.
Section 5. Records -- dissemination. (1) The department and the board shall keep a record of the board's acts and decisions. Citizens may inspect and make copies of the public records of the board, as provided in 2-6-102 and this section.
(2) Records and materials that are constitutionally protected from disclosure are not subject to disclosure under the provisions of subsection (1). Information that is constitutionally protected from disclosure is information in which there is an individual privacy or safety interest that clearly exceeds the merits of public disclosure.
(3) Upon a request to inspect or copy records of the board's acts and decisions, the board or a board staff member shall review the file requested and determine whether any document in the file is subject to a personal privacy or safety interest that clearly exceeds the merits of public disclosure.
(4) The board may assert the privacy or safety interest and may withhold a document if the board determines that the demand for individual privacy clearly exceeds the merits of public disclosure or if the document's contents would compromise the safety, order, or security of a facility or the safety of facility personnel, a member of the public, or an inmate of the facility if disclosed.
(5) The board may not withhold from public scrutiny under subsections (2) through (4) any more information than is required to protect an individual privacy interest or a safety interest.
(6) The board may charge a reasonable fee for copying and inspecting records.
(7) The board may limit the time and place that the records may be inspected or copied.
Section 6. Repealer. Section 46-23-108, MCA, is repealed.
Section 7. Codification instruction. [Sections 4 and 5] are intended to be codified as an integral part of Title 46, chapter 23, and the provisions of Title 46, chapter 23, apply to [sections 4 and 5].
Section 8. Effective date. [This act] is effective on passage and approval.
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Latest Version of SB 20 (SB0020.ENR)
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