There are several active bills concerning criminal justice and mass incarceration. There are a couple of bills that we support and a couple of bills we oppose. There are also a handful of active bills that present the legislature with opportunity to implement reforms via amendment.
CPR supports SB 2512 and SB 2791. SB 2512 would reform the bidding process for private prisons, requiring the private corporation establish that it could operate in a manner to ensure a lower recidivism rate than the Department of Corrections. SB 2791 has the potential to extend HB 585 parole reforms to people sent to prison prior to HB 585 becoming law in July 2014.
CPR opposes HB 107 and HB 574, both of which rollback positive elements of HB 585. HB 107 would result in overly harsh punishment for technical parole violations, and HB 574 would do the same for shoplifting charges. In 2016, we know that “tough on crime” policies may sound great to some people, but they are costly, counterproductive, and needlessly destructive to individuals, families, communities and the state
CPR advocates for amendments to HB 701, HB 705, and HB 783.
HB 705 would expand the area triggering enhancements for drug crimes. Specifically, HB 705 adds rehab facilities to the list of facilities making up “drug-free zones. HB 705 should be amended to better tailor the enhancement generally by re-sizing overly expansive zones and otherwise limiting application to fit the purpose of the enhancement.
HB 701 makes various technical changes to HB 585 reforms, and it should be amended to include a technical fix on conspiracy. HB 585 made reasonable reforms reducing overly harsh punishment for minor drug offenses, but those reforms were silent on conspiracy. Presently, someone charged with actually committing these offenses is better off than someone charged with conspiracy to do so.
HB 783 would allow DAs to permit sentences below the “Little” Habitual Offender enhancement. A primary factor in over-incarceration has been the shift of discretion and power from judges to prosecutors. HB 783 should be amended to give judges the discretion to sentence below the Habitual Offender enhancement.
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