ARIZONA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
First Regular Session
HB 2775: prisoners; earned release; credits
Sponsor: Representative Rodriguez, LD 27
Committee on Criminal Justice Reform
The Department is required to establish a transition program that provides eligible inmates with transition services in the community for up to ninety days (A.R.S. § 31-281).
Every prisoner who is in an earned release credit class is allowed an earned release credit. The earned release credit is three days for every seven days if the following occur: 1) the prisoner has been sentenced for possession or use of marijuana, a dangerous drug or a narcotic drug; 2) the prisoner has completed a drug treatment or self-improvement program during their imprisonment; and 3) the prisoner has not been previously convicted of a violent or aggravated felony (A.R.S. § 41.1604.07).
The Director of the Department (Director) can forfeit all of a prisoner's earned release credits if the prisoner fails to adhere to the rules of the Department or fails to demonstrate a continual willingness to volunteer for or successfully participate in a work, educational, treatment or training program (A.R.S. § 41.1604.07).
A prisoner who does not achieve an eighth-grade functioning literacy level is not allowed to start the term of community supervision until the following occurs: 1) an eighth-grade functioning literacy level is achieved; 2) the prisoner is released into and enrolls in the transition program established by the Department of Corrections (ADC) that helps the prisoner achieve functional literacy; or 3) the prisoner serves the full term of imprisonment imposed by the court; whichever occurs first (A.R.S. § 41.1604.07).
If a court or a disciplinary hearing held after a review from the Attorney General's office determines that a prisoner has brought a claim without substantial justification, the prisoner will forfeit five days of their earned release credit (A.R.S. § 41.1604.07).
The Department is required to annually report the recidivism rate of prisoners released and report information relating to prisoners at the end of each fiscal quarter (A.R.S. § 41.1604.07).
1. Repeals functional literacy requirements. (Sec. 1)
2. Outlines the following earned release credit accrual rates:
a) Eleven days for every four days if the following conditions apply to the prisoner:
i. Was sentenced for specific drug use, possession or paraphernalia offenses;
ii. Successfully completed a drug treatment program or other self-improvement programs; and
iii. Has not previously been convicted of a violent or aggravated felony;
b) One day for every six days served if the prisoner was sentenced for a dangerous crime against children specified in statute;
c) One day for every one day served if the prisoner was sentenced for specific dangerous offenses prescribed in statute; and
d) Two days for every one day serviced if the defendant was sentenced for an offense not outlined above. (Sec. 3)
3. States release credits earned through participation in a drug treatment program or other major self-improvement program does not reduce the sentence imposed by the court. (Sec. 3)
4. States the director retains the discretion to declare a portion of release credits earned by the prisoner forfeited if the prisoner fails to adhere to ADC rules or does not successfully participate in programs. (Sec. 3)
5. Requires ADC to submit an annual report to the Governor and Legislature on release credits earned and forfeited for the previous year, including why release credits were forfeited. (Sec. 3)
6. Removes the obligation of a prisoner enrolled in a drug treatment or education program to pay for the program's cost. (Sec. 3)
7. Removes restrictions for ADC to order a prisoner to apply for AHCCCS health care benefits before being released. (Sec. 3)
8. States only the court may determine if a prisoner should forfeit five days or earned release credits for bringing forward a claim without justification, submitting a claim intended solely to harass the party it was filed against, false testimony and unreasonably delaying a proceeding. (Sec. 3)
9. Requires ADC to post on its website the rules relating to the transition program's eligibility and participation requirements. (Sec. 3)
10. Removes the requirement for ADC to report annually on the program's statistics, recidivism and other outlined information. (Sec. 3)
11. Makes conforming changes. (Sec. 2, 3)
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15. HB 2775
16. Initials LC Page 0 Criminal Justice Reform
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