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Published on Friday, April 12, 2013

Proposal to house offenders in local jails instead of state correctional facilities

SB 5892 seeks to curb costs for offenders serving prison sentences. The current sentencing model is based on seriousness levels and prior offenses. The intent of the model is to ensure that offenders who commit similar crimes and have similar criminal histories receive equivalent sentences and penalties. A drug offense that qualifies as Seriousness Level 1 carries a sentence between 6-18 months. If an offender is sentenced to more than one year, they become the responsibility of the Department of Corrections and not the municipality or county from where they were originally charged.

This bill makes many changes outlined below:

  • Modifies the Drug Sentencing Grid for offenders who commit a Seriousness Level 1 Drug offense and states those offenders will serve their sentences in jails, not state prisons.
  • Reduces the standard sentence of 6-18 months to 6-12 months.
  • If money is appropriated to DOC, it must contract with local jails to house offenders who would otherwise be sent to a state prison. This would only happen if the offender has less than 120 days to serve at the time they would otherwise be transferred to a DOC correctional facility.
  • We are concerned about the portion that would further reduce sentencing time based on good behavior, completion of a program or activity provided by DOC, and other criteria.
  • AWC supports the section outlining that a hospital must contract with a correctional facility for medical services. The correctional facility would then only be responsible for the Medicaid reimbursement rate of these services. It also allows the state DOC to contract with local corrections facilities to use the Provider One system to determine the Medicaid rates.
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