E-Bulletin: Sentencing and Corrections Policy Updates Newsletter

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The E-Bulletin is an NCSL electronic newsletter for state legislators, legislative staff, and others interested in state sentencing corrections policy. This newsletter provides periodic updates on state sentencing and corrections legislation and budgets, highlights innovative policies and programs, and connects you with reports and news of upcoming NCSL events.

Highlights from this issue include:

  • 2012 Enactments: Significant new legislation reported in NCSL database
  • State in Focus: Georgia public safety reform
  • Time Served: Rethinking long sentences for non-violent offenders

The E-Bulletin is prepared under a partnership project of NCSL's Criminal Justice Program and the Public Safety Performance Project of the Pew Center on the States.  The NCSL project is designed to help states find the best research and information availale when considering sentencing and corrections policy options and reforms.

This article appeared in the E-Bulletin, November 2012 issue.  Full newsletter in pdf.

Front Page: 2012 Enactments Focus on Supervision, Penalties

Significant new sentencing and corrections legislation reported in NCSL database

State legislatures continue to have sentencing and corrections laws high on their agenda.  As of Sep. 2012, there have been 164 significant enactments from 41 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico dealing with issues related to sentencing, alternatives to incarceration, probation and parole supervision, prison policy and programming, reentry programming, release and discharge procedure, and oversight of criminal justice agencies.

There have been 50 laws enacted this year related to community supervision. Many of these laws created or expanded the use of risk assessments and other evidence-based practices for supervision of probation and parole offenders. Eight states adopted progressive sanctions for probationers or parolees who violate supervision rules.

Of note, the number of sentencing and criminal penalties bills (33) more than doubled this year, up from 15 in 2011 and nine in 2010. These laws amended penalties and quantity thresholds for drug crimes; relaxed mandatory prison sentences; and created degrees of penalties for monetary crimes such as theft and burglary, with penalties increasing as the value increases.

Correctional facility administration also was a popular topic.  Laws included inmate medical cost-saving measures, restricting the use of restraints on pregnant inmates and evidence-based inmate programs.

At least six states—DelawareGeorgiaHawaiiMissouriOklahoma and Pennsylvania—adopted significant sentencing and corrections reforms.  Continue reading the full newsletter to learn more about the notable work done in Georgia.