Senate Bill 123
150th General Assembly (2019 - 2020)
House Public Safety & Homeland Security 6/13/19 (Tabled in Committee)
The General Assembly has ended, the current status is the final status.
AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 11 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO FINES, COSTS, PENALTIES, AND FORFEITURES.
It is an unfortunate reality that many offenders have difficulty re-entering society. Without the ability to provide for themselves and their families through gainful employment, 67.8% of released prisoners are rearrested within three years of release nationally. One of the reasons that offenders have difficulty is because they often face the unrealistic requirement to pay off large fees and fines, which grow with interest if not paid, at the same time as they have to pay for housing, food, care for children, or other necessities of life. Failure to pay can result in the offender found to be in violation while on probation or being denied a pardon. Furthermore, most offenders tend to be non-affluent, and the state spends resources chasing fines and fees it will not recover. Unlike motor vehicle fines under Title 21, which generate large sums of revenue, fees and fines under Title 11 and 16 are modest and collection costs are high. The social costs in terms of impacting rehabilitation and successful re-entry are even higher. To address this problem and to give the Department of Correction a positive incentive to reward participation in work programs in its facilities or in the community, this Act authorizes the Department of Correction to give minimum wage to inmates to pay off fees or fines by participating in an earned credit program established by the Department of Correction. The court would establish how many hours need to be worked in order to discharge this financial obligation by computing the hours based on the then prevailing state minimum wage hourly rate. The Department of Correction will establish an earned credit program and certify to the court when the individual has completed the required number of hours. The earned credit program cannot be used to discharge other financial obligations owed, such as restitution, child support obligations, or bail.
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Takes effect upon being signed into law