The Early-Release Renaissance: Updated Chart

As I indicated in an earlier post, I’ve been collecting information on new legislation around the country that expands early-release opportunities for prison inmates.  By my count, we are now up to at least 36 states with such legislation in the past decade.  My table, now updated to include 2010 legislation, appears after the jump.

Alabama 2008: established new program permitting early release of certain older inmates with serious medical conditions[1]
Arkansas 2003: authorized early release of nonviolent offenders to reduce prison overcrowding[2]

2005: authorized transfer of inmates to community-based transitional housing up to one year before parole eligibility[3]

California 2009: expanded earned-time opportunities; permitted parole to be granted without a hearing in some cases[4]

2010: authorized medical parole for inmates who are permanently incapacitated[5]

Colorado 2009: expanded number of good-time credits that can be earned per month; authorized Department of Corrections to deduct additional sixty days from sentence of nonviolent inmates for good behavior[6]

2010: expanded eligibility for earned time[7]

Connecticut 2005: expanded parole eligibility; authorized transfer of inmates to community-based residences within final eighteen months before release date; established compassionate release program for inmates who are elderly or ill[8]
Delaware 2008: authorized earned-time credit for participation in prison programs[9]

2010: expanded eligibility for good-time credits[10]

Georgia 2009: expanded eligibility for work release and transitional centers for violent offenders during final year of incarceration[11]
Illinois 2007: authorized earned-time credits for inmates who earn GED[12]
Indiana 2010: authorized rehabilitation-based discharge for certain long-serving inmates[13]
Kansas 2007: authorized earned-time credits for completion of certain programs by low-level offenders[14]

2010: authorized medical parole for terminally ill inmates[15]

Kentucky 2008: permitted shift to home confinement for nonviolent offenders within 180 days of release date; authorized earned-release credits for completion of drug treatment and education programs[16]

2009: expanded parole eligibility for inmates convicted of certain low-level felonies[17]

2010: authorized certain inmates to be release to home confinement when they have 180 days left in their terms[18]

Louisiana 2001: reestablished parole eligibility for certain nonviolent offenders[19]

2008: increased earned-time available for inmates serving consecutive sentences[20]

2009: authorized parole for inmates serving life sentences for heroin offenses[21]; authorized earned-time credits for participation in approved treatment programs[22]

2010: made good-time credits retroactive to 1992 for some inmates; eliminated requirement that parole board be unanimous in support of release[23]

Maine 2007: permitted inmate work hours to be applied toward good time[24]

2009: expanded eligibility for release for terminally ill inmates[25]

Maryland 2004: authorized early release of certain offenders for drug treatment in the community[26]

2007: established parole eligibility for certain offenders sentenced to a mandatory minimum[27]

2009: expanded conditional release eligibility for nonviolent offenders[28]

Massachusetts 2010: authorized early release for some inmates serving mandatory terms for nonviolent drug offenses[29]
Michigan 2002: established parole eligibility for certain drug offenders[30]
Minnesota 2005: authorized early release of certain nonviolent drug offenders[31]
Mississippi 2001: reduced amount of time that first-time, nonviolent offenders must serve before becoming eligible for parole; created programs permitting certain inmates to obtain earned-time credits[32]

2004: authorized transfer of terminally ill inmates to community supervision; increased sentence reduction based on participation in trusty programs[33]

2005: expanded parole eligibility for certain drug offenders[34]

2008: restored parole eligibility for nonviolent offenders; authorized release of terminally ill inmates regardless of time served[35]

2009: expanded early-release credits for participation in education programs[36]

Nebraska 2010: increased amount of good-time credit that could be earned by jail inmates[37]
Nevada 2007: increased maximum number of possible good-time credits[38]

2009: permitted parole violators to earn good-time credits; authorized parole without a hearing for some offenders; expanded eligibility for residential confinement[39]

New Hampshire 2010: established presumptive parole for certain inmates[40]
New Jersey 2010: authorized courts to waive or reduce parole ineligibility for certain drug offenses[41]
New York 2004: authorized certain drug offenders to petition for resentencing; increased merit-time credits[42]

2005: expanded resentencing possibilities to new class of drug offenders[43]

2009: expanded eligibility for early release through Shock Incarceration Program; authorized medical parole for inmates suffering permanent disabilities; increased merit-time credits[44]

2010: expanded earned-time program[45]

North Carolina 2001: expanded programs through which earned-time credit might be obtained[46]

2008: established procedures for medical parole[47]

Ohio 2008: streamlined procedures for medical and other early-release programs[48]
Oregon 2009: expanded earned-time credit opportunities[49]

2010: expanded eligibility for education-based credit towards early release[50]

Pennsylvania 2008: adopted risk-reduction sentences to give inmates early-release opportunity based on participation in programs designed to reduce recidivism[51]

2010: authorized parole release for some inmates who have not completed prescribed programming[52]

South Carolina 2010: required that certain inmates be released to mandatory supervision 180 days before their prison release dates; expanded parole eligibility[53]
Tennessee 2007: authorized earned-time credits for inmates who complete certain programs[54]
Texas 2009: eliminated life without parole for juveniles[55]; authorized Department of Criminal Justice to restore lost good-time credits[56]
Vermont 2010: expanded furlough program[57]
Virginia 2001: expanded eligibility for geriatric release[58]
Washington 2003: increased amount of potential good-time credit from thirty-three to fifty percent of total sentence[59]

2007: authorized earned-time credits for participation in programming[60]

2009: expanded eligibility for early release for medical reasons[61]

2010: authorized release of certain inmates to partial confinement during final twelve months of sentence in order to complete parenting progam[62]

West Virginia 2010: instituted accelerated parole for inmates who complete rehabilitative program[63]
Wisconsin 2009: adopted risk-reduction sentences to give inmates early-release opportunity based on participation in programs designed to reduce recidivism; established “positive adjustment” time; expanded eligibility for medical parole[64]
Wyoming 2008: authorized earned time and medical parole[65]

[1] Tina Chiu, Vera Institute for Justice, It’s About Time: Aging Prisoners, Increasing Costs, and Geriatric Release 10 (2010).

[2] Ryan S. King, The Sentencing Project, The State of Sentencing 2007, at 13 (2008) [hereinafter King, 2007].

[3] Ryan S. King, The Sentencing Project, Changing Direction? State Sentencing Reforms, 2004-2006, at 13 (2009) [hereinafter King, Changing Direction].

[4] National Conference of State Legislatures, Significant State Sentencing and Corrections Legislation in 2009 (2010), at http://www.ncsl.org/default.aspx?tabid=19122 [hereinafter National Conference of State Legislatures, 2009].

[5] Nicole D. Porter, The Sentencing Project, The State of Sentencing 2010, at 3 (2011) [hereinafter Porter, 2010].

[6] Alison Lawrence, National Conference of State Legislatures, Cutting Corrections Costs: Earned Time Policies for State Prisoners 4 (2009).

[7] National Conference of State Legislatures, State Sentencing and Corrections Legislation in 2010, at http://www.ncsl.org/?TabId=20763 [hereinafter National Conference of State Legislatures, 2010].

[8] King, Changing Direction, supra note ­3, at 12.

[9] National Conference of State Legislatures, Significant State Sentencing and Corrections Legislation in 2007 and 2008 (2010), at http://www.ncsl.org/default.aspx?tabid=12682 [hereinafter National Conference, 2007-2008].

[10] National Conference of State Legislatures, 2010, supra note 7.

[11] National Conference of State Legislatures, 2009, supra note 4.

[12] National Conference, 2007-2008, supra note 9.

[13] Porter, 2010, supra note 5, at 9.

[14] Lawrence, supra note 6, at 6.

[15] Porter, 2010, supra note 5, at 3.

[16] Ryan S. King, The Sentencing Project, The State of Sentencing 2008, at 4 (2009) [hereinafter King, 2008].

[17] Nicole D. Porter, The Sentencing Project, The State of Sentencing 2009, at 3 (2010) [hereinafter Porter, 2009].

[18] Vera Institute of Justice, The Continuing Fiscal Crisis in Corrections 18 (2010).

[19] Ryan S. King & Marc Mauer, The Sentencing Project, State Sentencing and Corrections Policy in an Era of Fiscal Restraint 5 (2002).

[20] National Conference, 2007-2008, supra note 9.

[21] Porter, 2009, supra note 17, at 7.

[22] Id. at 13.

[23] Vera Institute of Justice, supra note 18, at 18, 19.

[24] National Conference, 2007-2008, supra note 9.

[25] National Conference of State Legislatures, 2009, supra note 4.

[26] King, Changing Direction, supra note 3, at 6.

[27] King, 2007, supra note 2, at 10.

[28] National Conference of State Legislatures, 2009, supra note 4.

[29] Porter, 2010, supra note 5, at 9.

[30] Judith Greene & Marc Mauer, The Sentencing Project, Downscaling Prisons: Lessons from Four States 28 (2010).

[31] King, Changing Direction, supra note 3, at 14.

[32] King & Mauer, supra note 19, at 5, 9.

[33] King, Changing Direction, supra note 3, at 14.

[34] Id.

[35] King, 2008, supra note 16, at 4-5.

[36] Porter, 2009, supra note 17, at 3.

[37] National Conference of State Legislatures, 2010, supra note 7.

[38] King, 2007, supra note 2, at 14.

[39] National Conference of State Legislatures, 2009, supra note 4.

[40] Porter, 2010, supra note 5, at 9-10.

[41] Id. at 3.

[42] King, Changing Direction, supra note 3, at 15-16.

[43] Id. at 16.

[44] Greene & Mauer, supra note 30, at 25.

[45] National Conference of State Legislatures, 2010, supra note 7.

[46] King & Mauer, supra note 19, at 10.

[47] National Conference, 2007-2008, supra note 9.

[48] Id.

[49] Id.

[50] Vera Institute of Justice, supra note 18, at 17-18.

[51] Christine S. Scott-Hayward, Vera Institute of Justice, The Fiscal Crisis in Corrections: Rethinking Policies and Practices 11 (2009).

[52] National Conference of State Legislatures, 2010, supra note 7.

[53] Vera Institute of Justice, supra note 18, at 18-19.

[54] National Conference, 2007-2008, supra note 9.

[55] Porter, 2009, supra note 17, at 3.

[56] Id. at 14.

[57] Vera Institute of Justice, supra note 18, at 19.

[58] Chiu, supra note 1, at 9.

[59] Lawrence, supra note 6, at 3.

[60] National Conference, 2007-2008, supra note 9.

[61] Chiu, supra note 1, at 9.

[62] National Conference of State Legislatures, 2010, supra note 7.

[63] Vera Institute of Justice, supra note 18, at 19.

[64] National Conference of State Legislatures, 2009, supra note 4.

[65] National Conference, 2007-2008, supra note 9.

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