Senate Bill 4
152nd General Assembly (Present)
Adopted in Lieu of original; takes status of original
AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 11, TITLE 13, AND TITLE 29 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM, INCLUDING PROBATION.
This Act modernizes Delaware’s criminal justice system, especially its probation system, by doing the following: (1) Ending incarceration of probationers for technical violations. (2) Enabling the customization of conditions of probation to meet individual needs. (3) Requiring the collection and publication of community corrections data. (4) Investing in community-based re-entry programs. (5) Limiting probation terms to 1 year. Specifically, the Act does all of the following: Section 1 of this Act adds a definition for “wilful”, as used throughout the Act. Section 2 of this Act does the following: (1) Requires probation and parole officers to use the least liberty-restrictive means to enhance compliance to conditions. (2) Requires the probation and parole officers not impose special conditions with which a person cannot in good faith comply. Probation and parole officers must also assess whether the person has the necessary resources to comply with the condition. (3) Changes that any proceeds gained from seizures in conducting business with federal authorities must go to contracting with community-based re-entry programs providing evidence-based services. Section 3 of this Act does the following: (1) Removes the prohibition on an incarcerated person receiving access to the Department of Correction’s (“Department”) policy & procedure manuals. (2) Removes prohibition on the disclosure of Department policies and procedures except on the written authority of the Commissioner. Section 4 of this Act does the following: (1) Requires that a condition of probation established by Department may not involve a greater deprivation of liberty than is necessary to meet the goals of deterrence, protection of the public, and rehabilitation of the person on probation. (2) Prohibits the imposition of a condition of supervision that requires paying court fines, fees, supervision-related fees, and supervision-mandated programs. (3) Authorizes the Department to use alternate methods of reporting such as audiovisual communications. (4) Requires the Department to not pursue sanctions for use of drugs or alcohol, failure to complete a program when the costs were unable to be met, failure to follow conditions when mental health conditions prevent compliance, and failure to comply with broad conditions that are impossible to follow. (5) Requires the Department to bear the cost of house arrest programs. (6) Sets criteria for the use of house arrest. Section 5 of this Act reduces the maximum length of the period of probation. Section 6 of this Act does the following: (1) Outlines the process for revoking probation, including the timing of revocation and requirements of revocation proceedings. (2) Requires that incarceration cannot be used for any technical violation and sets a limit on period of incarceration for other violations. Section 7 of this Act repeals the fee for a person applying for an interstate transfer of probation under the Interstate Compact for Adult Offender Supervision. Section 8 of this Act does the following: (1) Replaces the forfeiture of earned compliance credit with a process for withholding or revoking earned credits. (2) Repeals certain offenses being excluded from being able to gain earn compliance credit. (3) Requires the Department to provide those on probation with a supervision report with credit earned and time remaining on probation every 90 days. Section 9 through 12 of this Act requires the Statistical Analysis Center to publish data related to the probation system and racial disparities in the criminal justice system. Sections 13 through 16 of this Act removes the requirement that individuals on probation or parole must have permission before getting married. Section 17 repeals the restriction on the disclosure of public records in the Department’s possession when these records are sought by an inmate in the Department’s custody.
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Takes effect upon being signed into law