House Bill No. 405

Introduced By _______________________________________________________________________________

A Bill for an Act entitled: "An Act creating a community supervised release program to divert nonviolent offenders from prison; and providing an effective date."

Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Montana:

NEW SECTION. Section 1.  Community supervised release program for nonviolent offenders pilot program -- purpose. (1) There is a pilot program called the "Community Supervised Release Program for Nonviolent Offenders". A total of 100 offenders may be served in the pilot program, and there may be pilot projects in two locations across the state.

(2) The purpose of the program is to provide a less costly and restrictive alternative to incarceration for offenders who have not committed violent felony offenses that holds an offender accountable, provides for community safety, and addresses the deficiencies and needs of the offenders in order to give the offender the opportunity to obtain treatment, to gain and maintain stable employment, and to meet the responsibilities of being a member of society.

NEW SECTION. Section 2.  Definitions. As used in [sections 1 through 8], the following definitions apply:

(1) "Department" means the department of corrections as provided in 2-15-2301.

(2) "Educational entity" means a public or private institution of higher education that has graduate programs in corrections and human services-related disciplines.

(3) "Immediate family" means a person who lives with the offender and is related by blood, marriage, or adoption. If an offender has no relatives by blood, marriage, adoption, or law the offender may name a person with whom the offender lives to be considered as a member of immediate family for the purposes of [sections 1 through 8], if the person agrees to abide by the requirements imposed on members of an immediate family.

(4) "Mental health professional" means any social worker, clinical social worker, professional counselor, clinical professional counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist, occupational therapist, or other professional who is licensed or certified to provide mental health services in this state pursuant to Title 37.

(5) "Offender" means an offender who has not committed a violent felony offense, as defined in 46-18-1001.

NEW SECTION. Section 3.   Qualifications to be selected as pilot project. (1) A judicial district may apply to the department to be selected as a site of a pilot project.

(2) For a judicial district to qualify for the project, the jurisdiction must have an intensive supervision program and electronic monitoring.

(3) For the purposes of application, the judicial district shall organize a community supervised release program team composed of:

(a) a representative of an educational entity;

(b) a probation and parole officer;

(c) an intensive supervision officer, if necessary;

(d) a certified chemical dependency counselor; and

(e) a mental health professional.

(4) The members of a team shall enter into a written agreement that outlines each member's and each member's agency's responsibilities and that contains a provision for compliance with the requirements of the agreement.

(5) The program may pursue Job Training Partnership Act funding; any other federal, state, or local government funding; and any private funding to develop programs for the offenders sentenced to this program.

NEW SECTION. Section 4.  Application -- eligibility criteria. (1) Upon conviction for an offense other than a violent felony offense, as defined in 46-18-1001, and after a presentence investigation report, as provided in 46-18-111, that recommends a sentence of imprisonment, a probation and parole officer or the offender's counsel may make application to the court for participation in the community supervised release program.

(2) The community supervised release program team members shall review the application and make a determination on eligibility. Eligibility requirements for application into the program are:

(a) an offender must be convicted of an offense other than a violent felony offense, as defined in 46-18-1001;

(b) the presentence investigation report prepared by the probation and parole officer must indicate that a prison sentence is recommended for this offender;

(c) an offender shall agree to submit to electronic monitoring and related requirements;

(d) an offender shall agree to submit to chemical dependency and mental health evaluation;

(e) an offender shall indicate an amenability to treatment and aftercare for chemical dependency or mental health, as may be determined through evaluation;

(f) the members of an offender's immediate family shall agree to participate in counseling and treatment activities that are considered necessary for the success of the offender in the program;

(g) the offender shall agree to participate in education, job readiness, or job placement activities as developed for the offender;

(h) the offender shall agree to participate in victim-offender mediation, if the victim desires mediation;

(i) the offender shall agree to participate in other programming as considered necessary by the team; and

(j) the offender shall agree to pay part or all of the costs of treatment, supervision, or other activities required by the program, based on the current and future ability to pay in a reasonable payment schedule over the duration of the sentence.

NEW SECTION. Section 5.  Acceptance to program -- program responsibilities. (1) Upon acceptance into the program, the team shall meet as soon as possible and organize the initial intake and screening procedures.

(2) Intake and screening procedures include:

(a) contact with the victim to determine whether the victim is amenable to victim-offender mediation and, if the victim is amenable, organizing an initial meeting before sentencing;

(b) contact with the members of the offender's immediate family to determine their concerns, needs, and responsibilities;

(c) a chemical dependency and mental health evaluation;

(d) an educational and job assessment to determine what educational needs or job placement needs an offender may have. If an offender is currently enrolled in an educational program or is currently employed, the evaluation must include an assessment of the program or job and any needs to stabilize or assist the success of that program.

(e) a general assessment of other programming needs, such as anger management, financial management, and life skills; and

(f) a general assessment of residential and housing needs. This component may include use of a community corrections facility or program, as defined in 46-18-104, or use of a residential aftercare setting, an offender's own home, or other community resources that contribute to the success of the program and that can operate in conjunction with the requirements for electronic monitoring.

(3) The members of the team and each member's responsibilities are as follows:

(a) A person who is the representative of an educational entity is the team leader. The team leader is responsible for developing the overall program. The team leader shall develop a program using students of a graduate program in a discipline related to human services, such as social work, criminal justice, sociology, or psychology, who assist the offender in the development of a program and who organize the contacts for the electronic monitoring, chemical dependency and mental health evaluation, chemical dependency and mental health treatment, and other programming as needed.

(b) The team member responsible for setting up the electronic monitoring element of the program is the intensive supervision officer or the probation and parole officer. The probation and parole officer shall participate in the capacity of coordinating with the other team members for the purpose of conducting the presentence investigation, as provided in 46-18-111, and development of the plan to present to the sentencing judge.

(c) A certified chemical dependency counselor is responsible for conducting the initial chemical dependency evaluation and for setting up a treatment and aftercare plan that the offender shall follow to successfully complete the program.

(d) A mental health professional is responsible for conducting the initial mental health evaluation and for setting up a treatment and aftercare plan as needed, in conjunction with the chemical dependency counselor, that the offender shall follow to successfully complete the program.

(4) The team shall recommend imposition of the following conditions:

(a) 24-hour-a-day electronic monitoring for the first 3 months of the sentence, unless the offender resides at a community corrections facility;

(b) financial responsibility for dependents; and

(c) payment of costs of restitution and treatment in a reasonable schedule of payment over the duration of the sentence. The payments may be deferred for an initial period of time to allow the offender to receive treatment, job training, and job placement assistance.

(5) The team may recommend the imposition of any combination of the following conditions, as determined by the needs of the community, the victim, and the offender:

(a) an extension of the 24-hour-a-day electronic monitoring beyond the initial 3 months;

(b) chemical dependency education and counseling;

(c) chemical dependency treatment and aftercare if determined necessary by a certified chemical dependency counselor;

(d) mental health treatment and aftercare if determined necessary by a mental health professional;

(e) specialized treatment and education, such as programs for check-writing offenders and domestic violence offenders;

(f) family counseling;

(g) parenting classes;

(h) education;

(i) vocational training;

(j) job training and placement programs or full-time employment;

(k) financial management and budgeting training, using the offender's restitution and other payments; or

(l) life skills such as health and nutrition, anger management, and crisis management.

NEW SECTION. Section 6.  Recommendations for sentence and conditions. (1) Upon completion of the initial intake and evaluation, the team shall meet to develop a substitute recommendation to the sentencing judge on the type of sentence that is appropriate, a recommendation for the length of time that the offender needs to successfully complete the treatment and programming necessary, and the conditions that the offender must meet to be considered successful in the completion of the program.

(2) The probation and parole officer who performed the presentence investigation shall include the substitute recommendations for sentencing with the officer's presentence investigation report to the court.

(3) The sentencing judge may suspend or defer an offender's sentence as provided in 46-18-201 and place the offender, under the commitment to the department, in a community supervised release program and impose any combination of the conditions listed in [section 5] as recommended by the team and any additional conditions the judge believes to be necessary.

(4) The offender is subject to the provisions of 46-18-203 upon failure to successfully complete the program. Upon a minor violation of the conditions of the sentence, sanctions may be applied in an effort to maintain an offender in the program prior to revocation proceedings.

NEW SECTION. Section 7.  Department responsibilities. (1) The department shall provide electronic monitoring devices and equipment and may assess a fee on the offender for the actual cost of supplying the devices and equipment.

(2) The department is responsible for the payment of treatment and programming. The department may assess a reasonable fee on the offender, based on the offender's ability to pay throughout the duration of the sentence, for the use of electronic monitoring devices and equipment and treatment and supervision costs. These costs may not exceed those charged for other offenders in other department programs.

(3) If an offender is unable to pay for services, the department shall coordinate with other state and local agencies to obtain any services for which the offender is eligible.

(4) The department or judicial district may pursue federal or private grant funds to assist the program in the provision of services for the offender.

(5) The department shall negotiate a fee to be paid to the educational entity for the costs associated with supervising students and coordinating the community supervised release program.

NEW SECTION. Section 8.  Juvenile nonviolent offender program. (1) Subject to the provisions in Title 41, chapter 5, a youth who has been adjudicated as a delinquent and who qualifies for placement at a state youth correctional facility, as defined in 41-5-103, may be placed in the court-supervised release program for nonviolent offenders. This program may be used as a disposition under 41-5-523 as a commitment to the department.

(2) The youth placement committee, as provided in 41-5-525, shall perform the responsibilities of the community supervised release program team in determining the conditions of the youth's disposition. The representative of the educational entity shall coordinate with the youth placement committee to organize any contacts necessary for the programming for the youth.

NEW SECTION. Section 9.  Codification instruction. [Sections 1 through 8] are intended to be codified as an integral part of Title 46, chapter 18, and the provisions of Title 46, chapter 18, apply to [sections 1 through 8].

NEW SECTION. Section 10.  Effective date. [This act] is effective July 1, 1997.