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A07546 Summary:

COSPNSRSepulveda, Taylor, Gottfried, Epstein
Amd 259-i, Exec L
Requires the state board of parole to find that an inmate presents an unreasonable current public safety risk to deny discretionary release to parole and provides that if parole is denied that release shall be presumed at subsequent hearings absent a preponderance of evidence that an inmate presents an unreasonable public safety risk.
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A07546 Actions:

05/01/2017referred to correction
06/06/2017reported referred to codes
01/03/2018referred to codes
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A07546 Memo:

submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
  TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the executive law, in relation to findings of the state board of parole necessary for discretionary release of inmates on parole   PURPOSE: Provides that the Board of Parole shall release inmates upon completion of their minimum terms of incarceration unless doing so presents an unreasonable public safety risk or the inmate is unlikely to live with- out violating the law.   SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1 amends Executive Law § 259-i (2)(c)(A). Section 2 provides an effective date.   JUSTIFICATION: When making a decision about whether to release an inmate to community supervision, the Board of Parole is currently required to take into account the inmate's likelihood of committing future crimes upon release and to determine whether or not an inmate's release will deprecate the seriousness of the crime. In practice, the Board does not often release an inmate on his or her first appearance if the underlying crime was violent, even it if it took place more than 25 years prior to the board appearance and the inmate has a low risk of reoffending. Current law also makes the board susceptible to political pressure to deny parole to inmates with high profile crimes even if they are thoroughly rehabili- tated with excellent prison records because such a release could be considered by advocacy groups to "deprecate the seriousness of his crime." In 2015, only 17% of inmates were released upon their first board appearances, and only 20% on subsequent appearances. The Board's failure to grant parole to low risk inmates results in expensive, prolonged, unnecessary incarceration of middle aged and older inmates who have a very low probability of recidivism and who are very expensive to incarcerate because of high medical costs. This bill would require the board to release people to community super- vision when their minimum period of incarceration has been served unless there is a clearly articulated current public safety reason to keep them in prison. On subsequent board appearances, there would be a presumption of release unless the board determines by a preponderance of evidence that an inmate is unlikely to live without violating the law and that his or her release poses an unreasonable public safety risk.   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: This bill will save the state approximately $60,000 per year for every inmate who is released upon the completion of his or her minimum sentence but who would have been kept in prison under current law. It has no costs associated with it.   LOCAL FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.   EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately.
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A07546 Text:

                STATE OF NEW YORK
                               2017-2018 Regular Sessions
                   IN ASSEMBLY
                                       May 1, 2017
        Introduced by M. of A. WEPRIN -- read once and referred to the Committee
          on Correction
        AN  ACT to amend the executive law, in relation to findings of the state
          board of parole necessary for  discretionary  release  of  inmates  on
          The  People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
     1    Section 1. Subparagraph (A) of  paragraph  (c)  of  subdivision  2  of
     2  section  259-i  of  the  executive law, as amended by chapter 130 of the
     3  laws of 2016, is amended to read as follows:
     4    (A) Discretionary release on parole shall [not] be granted [merely  as
     5  a  reward  for  good  conduct  or  efficient performance of duties while
     6  confined but after considering if] upon completion of the  minimum  term
     7  of  incarceration  imposed  by  the  sentencing court if the board finds
     8  there is a reasonable probability that, if such inmate is  released,  he
     9  or  she  will  live and remain at liberty without violating the law, and
    10  that his or her release [is not incompatible with the welfare of society
    11  and will not so deprecate the seriousness of his crime as  to  undermine
    12  respect  for law] does not present an unreasonable current public safety
    13  risk. If discretionary release to parole is not granted at the  inmate's
    14  initial parole board appearance, there shall be a presumption of release
    15  at  any  subsequent  board appearance absent a preponderance of evidence
    16  that the inmate is unlikely to live without violating the law  and  that
    17  his  or her release presents an unreasonable current public safety risk.
    18  In making the parole release decision, the procedures  adopted  pursuant
    19  to  subdivision four of section two hundred fifty-nine-c of this article
    20  shall require that the following be considered:  (i)  the  institutional
    21  record  including  program  goals and accomplishments, academic achieve-
    22  ments, vocational education, training or work assignments,  therapy  and
    23  interactions  with  staff  and  inmates;  (ii) performance, if any, as a
    24  participant in a temporary release program; (iii) release plans  includ-
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.

        A. 7546                             2
     1  ing  community resources, employment, education and training and support
     2  services available to the inmate; (iv) any deportation order  issued  by
     3  the  federal  government  against the inmate while in the custody of the
     4  department  and  any  recommendation  regarding  deportation made by the
     5  commissioner of the department pursuant to section  one  hundred  forty-
     6  seven  of the correction law; (v) any current or prior statement made to
     7  the board by the crime victim or the victim's representative, where  the
     8  crime  victim  is  deceased  or is mentally or physically incapacitated;
     9  (vi) the length of the determinate sentence to which the inmate would be
    10  subject had he or she received a sentence pursuant to section  70.70  or
    11  section  70.71  of  the  penal  law  for a felony defined in article two
    12  hundred twenty or article two hundred twenty-one of the penal law; (vii)
    13  the seriousness of the offense with due consideration  to  the  type  of
    14  sentence,  length  of  sentence  and  recommendations  of the sentencing
    15  court, the district attorney, the attorney for the inmate, the  pre-sen-
    16  tence  probation  report  as well as consideration of any mitigating and
    17  aggravating factors, and activities following arrest prior  to  confine-
    18  ment;  [and]  (viii)  prior  criminal  record,  including the nature and
    19  pattern of offenses, adjustment to  any  previous  probation  or  parole
    20  supervision  and  institutional  confinement;  and  (ix) all evidence of
    21  rehabilitation and reform. The board shall provide toll  free  telephone
    22  access  for  crime  victims.  In  the  case of an oral statement made in
    23  accordance with subdivision one of section 440.50 of the criminal proce-
    24  dure law, the parole board member shall present a written report of  the
    25  statement  to  the  parole  board. A crime victim's representative shall
    26  mean the crime victim's closest surviving  relative,  the  committee  or
    27  guardian of such person, or the legal representative of any such person.
    28  Such  statement  submitted  by the victim or victim's representative may
    29  include  information  concerning  threatening  or  intimidating  conduct
    30  toward  the victim, the victim's representative, or the victim's family,
    31  made by the person sentenced and occurring after  the  sentencing.  Such
    32  information  may include, but need not be limited to, the threatening or
    33  intimidating conduct of any other person who or which is directed by the
    34  person sentenced. Any statement by a victim or  the  victim's  represen-
    35  tative  made  to  the board shall be maintained by the department in the
    36  file provided to the board when interviewing the inmate in consideration
    37  of release. A victim or victim's  representative  who  has  submitted  a
    38  written  request  to the department for the transcript of such interview
    39  shall be provided such transcript as soon as it becomes available.
    40    § 2. This act shall take effect immediately.
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