Assemblyman GARY S. SCHAER
District 36 (Bergen, Essex and Passaic)
Assemblyman GORDON M. JOHNSON
District 37 (Bergen)
Provides parole board with discretion to reconsider parole eligibility for certain crimes after a certain period of time.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
An Act concerning parole release and amending P.L.1979, c.441
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. Section 12 of P.L.1979, c.441 (C.30:4-123.56) is amended to read as follows:
12. a. The board shall develop a schedule of future parole eligibility dates for adult inmates denied release at their eligibility date. In developing such schedule, particular emphasis shall be placed on the severity of the offense for which he was denied parole and on the characteristics of the offender, such as, but not limited to, the prior criminal record of the inmate and the need for continued incapacitation of the inmate, however, in no case, except those enumerated in subsection d. of this section, shall [any] a parole eligibility date scheduled pursuant to this subsection be more than three years following the date on which an inmate was denied release.
b. If the release on the eligibility date is denied, the board panel which conducted the hearing shall refer to the schedule published pursuant to subsection a., and include in its statement denying parole notice of the date of future parole consideration. If such date differs from the date otherwise established by the schedule, the board panel shall include particular reasons therefor, however, in no case, except those enumerated in subsection d. of this section, shall such date be more than three years following the date on which the inmate was denied release. The future parole eligibility date shall not be altered to take into account remissions of sentence for good behavior and diligent application to work and other assignments; provided however, the future parole eligibility date may be altered pursuant to section 8 of P.L.1979, c. 441 (C.30:4-123.52).
c. An inmate shall be released on parole on the new parole eligibility date unless information filed pursuant to a procedure identical to that set forth in section 10 of P.L.1979, c.441 (C.30:4-123.54) indicates by a preponderance of the evidence that the inmate has failed to cooperate in his or her own rehabilitation or that there is a reasonable expectation that the inmate will violate conditions of parole imposed pursuant to section 15 of P.L.1979, c.441 (C.30:4-123.59) if released on parole at that time. The determination of whether the inmate shall be released on the new parole eligibility date shall be made pursuant to the procedure set forth in section 11 of P.L.1979, c.441 (C.30:4-123.55) and this section.
For the purposes of this subsection, "failed to cooperate in his or her own rehabilitation" shall include, in the case of an inmate who suffers from mental illness as defined in section 2 of P.L.1987, c.116 (C.30:4-27.2) that does not require institutionalization, that the inmate failed to fully participate in or cooperate with all prescribed treatment offered during incarceration.
d. The board shall have discretion to schedule an inmate’s next parole eligibility date pursuant to subsections a. and b. of this section up to 10 years from the date the inmate was denied release, if the inmate is serving a sentence for a crime of the first degree.
(cf: P.L.2009, c.330, s.6)
2. This act shall take effect immediately.
Under current law, the State Parole Board is required to develop a schedule of future parole eligibility dates for all adult inmates denied release at their eligibility date. Section 6 of P.L.2009, c.330 specifies that the parole eligibility date must be no more than three years from the date on which the inmate was denied release. If the inmate is denied release on this date, the inmate’s subsequent parole eligibility date would also have to be no more than three years following the date on which the inmate was denied release.
Under this bill, the State Parole Board would be permitted to set a future eligibility date within ten years for persons convicting of first degree crimes.