Medina County Courthouse

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Summary of New Criminal Sentencing Bill, (HB 86)

Below is a summary prepared by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction on House Bill 86, signed by the Governor this week:

Summary of Major Provisions
House Bill 86 as Passed by the Senate
June 23, 2011

Earned Credit
• Increases from 1 to 5 days per month.
• All sex offenders excluded from any earned credit eligibility.
• Language added to exclude most Felony 1 and 2 offenders from eligibility for expanded credits.
• Includes provision requiring GPS monitoring for the first 14 days following release for offenders who earn over 60 days of credits while incarcerated.
• Caps overall earned credit at 8 percent.
• Program completion credits – 5 days earned one time on second program completion only.
• Provisions of bill will be prospective (will not apply to those currently incarcerated).

Increase in theft threshold
• Increases from $500 to $1,000 the minimum threshold to determine increased penalties (generally from a misdemeanor to a felony) for theft-related offenses and certain non-theft-related offenses.
• Increases other threshold amounts by 50% that determine other increased penalties for theft and non-theft related offenses.

Non Payment of Support
• Gives preference to sentencing non support offenders to alternative community sanctions.
• Substitute bill provides courts discretion to sentence offenders to prison when: (1) it is consistent with purposes and principles of sentencing, or (2) if offender was previously convicted of felony non support after the effective date of the amendment, and when either the offender was sentenced to a prior prison term, or was sentenced to prior community sanctions and failed to meet the conditions.

Absconding Supervision
• Authorizes the Adult Parole Authority to utilize existing sanctioning authority including potential return to prison for offenders who fail to comply with their terms of supervision.
• Creates a new penalty for the offense of “escape” involving conduct by a person under supervised release, with a reduction in penalty from current law. The language ties the penalty to the underlying crime for which the offender was originally sentenced. For offenders with an underlying offense of aggravated murder, murder, life sentence, or felony 1 or 2 offense, the penalty for escape from supervision would be a felony 4. For offenders with other less serious underlying charges, the penalty for escape from supervision would be a felony 5.

DRC Petition for 80% Release
• Allows Director of DRC to petition sentencing court for judicial release of inmate who has a stated prison term longer than one year who has served at least 80% of their sentence.
• Petition can be filed with the court up to 90 days prior to an inmate’s 80% date.
• Language in substitute bill requires DRC to supervise felony 1 and 2 offenders who are released on GPS monitoring for the remainder of their sentence.
• Permanently excludes from eligibility offenders serving time for offenses involving guns or other deadly weapons, sexually oriented offenses, and Repeat Violent Offenders (RVO).

Equalization of Crack and Powder Penalties
• Eliminates the distinction between criminal penalties for drug offenses involving crack and powder cocaine.
• Utilizes a blended sentencing approach. Raises powder penalties to the level of crack for felony 1, major drug offender possession and trafficking. Raises powder penalties for F1-F4 possession offenses, and lowers crack penalties for F1-F5 possession. Raises powder for F1-F3 trafficking offenses, and lowers crack penalties for F1-F5 crack trafficking offenses.

Treatment in Lieu of Conviction
• Expands eligibility to persons charged with specified theft and other offenses. Makes low level drug traffickers and felony 4 drug possession offenses eligible for TIL.
• Authorizes TIL for offender whose mental illness or intellectual disability contributed to their offense.
• Allows repeat offenders who have not committed a prior felony offense of violence to be considered for Treatment in Lieu.

Foster Supreme Court Decision
• Revives language to make concurrent sentences the first consideration, which was part of the law long before S.B. 2.
• Instructs judges to make findings before imposing (discretionary) consecutive terms and makes the findings specific to the offender and offenses.

Mandatory Drug Provisions
• Creates new categories and potentially shorter mandatory terms for trafficking in marihuana and hashish, and possession of hashish and marihuana.
• Based on proposal by David Diroll, Executive Director, Ohio Criminal Sentencing Commission.
• Makes other changes to mandatory felony 3 drug penalties.

Council of State Governments Justice Reinvestment in Ohio
• Bill contains language for Council on State Government (CSG) “Justice Reinvestment” recommendations

Other Provisions
• Adds provisions from Senate Bill 92, limiting Parole Board members to a total of two, six year terms, staggering terms of existing Parole Board members, and exempting chair and victim’s member from term limits. Makes changes prospective.
• Adds provisions from Senate Bill 33 codifying DRC reentry planning process.
• Adds Director of Veteran’s Services to State Agency Reentry Coalition.
• Changes membership of Parole Board required for full board hearing to majority instead of 7.
• Revises procedures for notification of victim’s and other Office of Victim Services changes.
• Remove judges from membership of a correction’s commission.
• Establishes community alternative sentencing centers.
• Defines DRC reentry centers and modifies payment rules for residential facilities.
• Modifies membership of county local corrections planning boards.

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