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  • NJ A2182
  • "Earn Your Way Out Act" ; requires DOC to develop inmate reentry plan; establishes administrative parole release for certain inmates;requires study and report by DOC on fiscal impact.*
In Committee
Crossed OverPassedSignedDead/Failed/Vetoed
2016-2017 Regular Session
The bill, the "Earn Your Way Out Act," transfers the employees and duties of the State Parole Board's Division of Release to the Department of Corrections (DOC); requires DOC to develop a reentry plan for each inmate; establishes administrative parole release for certain inmates; provides parole compliance credits; establishes and inmate disciplinary database; and requires an impact study. Under the bill, the Commissioner of Corrections is required to establish a Division of Reentry and Rehabilitative Services to coordinate reentry and rehabilitative services within all State correctional facilities. Staff within the division is responsible for engaging with each inmate to develop and implement an individualized, comprehensive reentry plan designed to prepare each inmate for successful integration as a productive, law abiding citizen upon release from incarceration. The staff is required to coordinate with the DOC, the State Parole Board, and the community, to determine what medical, psychiatric, psychological, educational, vocational, substance abuse, and social rehabilitative services shall be incorporated into a comprehensive reentry plan. The DOC is required to establish guidelines, timelines, and procedures to govern the reentry plan process. The bill defines "administrative parole release" as the release of an adult inmate who has met the criteria set forth in the bill at the time of primary parole eligibility, and occurs after a hearing officer reviews the preparole report of an inmate and the inmate is certified for release by an assigned member of the board panel. Administrative parole release does not require a parole consideration hearing. The bill defines "reentry plan" as a plan prepared by appropriate staff within the Division of Reentry and Rehabilitative Services which is designed to prepare an inmate for successful integration as a productive, law abiding citizen upon release from incarceration. Under current law, an adult inmate is released on parole at the time of parole eligibility, unless information supplied in the preparole report or developed or produced at a parole hearing indicates that the inmate has failed to cooperate in his or her own rehabilitation or there is a reasonable expectation that the inmate will violate conditions of parole. The bill provides that an adult inmate will be administratively released on parole at the time of primary parole eligibility date if: 1) the inmate has not been convicted of a violent crime under the No Early Release Act, a sex offense under Megan's Law, or a sexually violent offense; 2) the inmate has not committed certain prohibited acts required to be reported to the county prosecutor during the current term of incarceration, has not committed any serious disciplinary infraction within the previous five years, and has not committed any infraction in the last six months; 3) the inmate has completed relevant rehabilitation programs during incarceration, or made application to participate in these programs but was unable to do so because of circumstances beyond the inmate's control; and 4) crime victims have received notification required by current law. A parole hearing would not be required under the bill if the inmate meets these criteria. During the term of parole supervision, an inmate released on parole pursuant to the bill's provisions would remain in the legal custody of the Commissioner of Corrections, be supervised by the Division of Parole of the State Parole Board, and be subject to the provisions and conditions established by the appropriate board panel. If appropriate, parole may be revoked and the inmate returned to custody and confinement until the inmate is again eligible to be considered for release pursuant to Parole Board regulations. The bill requires a study to be conducted by a criminal justice program of a four-year public institution of higher education in this State to determine the impact on the inmate population of administrative parole release as established in the bill. For inmates being considered for parole who are not eligible for administrative parole release, the bill requires the Parole Board to state on the record evidence supporting a denial of parole that is based on factors that may be deemed to be subjective, including lack of insight, lack of remorse, and minimization of offending conduct. The bill also establishes parole compliance credits that will be subtracted from the inmate's parole discharge date at a rate of five days per month. The purpose of these credits is to encourage inmates on parole to engage, participate, and comply with all conditions of their parole. The bill further directs the Commissioner of Corrections to establish and maintain a centralized database of information contained on each disciplinary report prepared by a corrections officer in response to an inmate committing a prohibited act that is subject to disciplinary action, a sanction, or both. Additionally, the bill establishes that commutation credits are to be awarded based on the custodial sentence that is imposed. Currently, commutation credits are awarded based only on the sentence served in a State correctional facility. Current law denies commutation credits to inmates who serve time in a county jail prior to serving the State sentence. Finally, the bill requires the Commissioner of Corrections to allocate a portion of any cost savings realized from the bill's enactment to the Office of Victim Services for the operating costs of the Focus on the Victim Program and other services to facilitate inmates' successful reentry.
2nd Reading in the Assembly, Law and Public Safety, Substituted by another Bill
Substituted by S895 (SCS/1R)  (on 2/15/2017)
Date Chamber Action Description
2/15/2017 A Substituted by S895 (SCS/1R)
1/30/2017 Assembly Appropriations Hearing (19:00 1/30/2017 A-4352 pending referral)
1/30/2017 A Reported out of Assembly Committee, 2nd Reading
1/30/2017 Assembly Appropriations Hearing (13:00 1/30/2017 Committee Room 11, 4th Floor)
12/5/2016 A Reported as an Assembly Committee Substitute and Referred to Assembly Appropriations Committee
12/5/2016 Assembly Law and Public Safety Hearing (14:00 12/5/2016 Committee Room 13, 4th Floor)
1/27/2016 A Introduced, Referred to Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee
Date Motion Yea Nay Other
Detail 1/30/2017 Assembly Appropriations Committee: Reported Favorably 9 2 0
Detail 12/5/2016 Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee: Reported with Substitution 7 1 1