Monday, March 15, 2010

HB No. 195--Rep. Mills

We go in as Kairos Prison Ministry and see the guys at Angola who are proven rehabilitated, yet the cards are stacked through this parole system to where those will never get out. Remember how tough it was for us to get Brother Wilbert Rideau out although he was a far different person when he was convicted at 19 years old than he was in his forties? There are many brothers who had just one nonviolent offense who have crazy sentences, are model inmates who could be productive, tax paying citizens. Besides that, here in Louisiana, a member of the parole board doesn't have to be a professional in this area either--but that's another issue. Bottom line: Support this bill!

HB No. 195--Rep. Mills

Abstract: Changes the number of votes required to grant parole to offenders convicted of certain offenses under specified conditions.

Present law provides for the Parole Board, the process for granting parole, and parole eligibility.
Present law provides that the board shall meet in a minimum of three-member panels at the adult correctional institutions on regular scheduled dates, not less than every three months.

Three votes of a three-member panel shall be required to grant parole, or, if the number exceeds a three-member panel, a unanimous vote of those present shall be required to grant parole.

Proposed law provides that the parole board may grant parole with two votes of a three member panel, or, if the number exceeds a three-member panel, a majority vote of those present if all of the following conditions are met:
  1. The offender has not been convicted of a crime of violence or a sex offense.
  2. The offender has not committed and disciplinary offense in the 12 consecutive months prior to the parole eligibility date.
  3. The offender has completed the mandatory minimum of 100 hours of pre-release programming.
  4. The offender has completed substance abuse treatment as applicable.
  5. The offender has obtained a GED, unless the offender has previously obtained a high school diploma or is deemed by a certified educator as being incapable of obtaining a GED due to a learning disability. If the offender is deemed capable pf obtaining a GED, the offender must complete at least one of the following: a literacy program, an adult basic education program, or a job skills training program.
  6. the offender has obtained a low-rosk level designation determined by a validated risk assessment instrument approved by the secretary of DPS&C.
Proposed law further provides that offenders who are participating in a work release program at the time of their parole eligibility date and who otherwise meet the board's release criteria, shall be granted parole upon successfully participating in the program for a minimum of six months.

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