Pennsylvania Law Will Parole Non-Violent Offenders Early

Filed under: Criminal Law by Contributor @ August 12, 2012

Pennsylvania prison statistics:

  • Number of state prisoners: 51,757
  • Number of county jail inmates: ~36,000
  • Number of penitentiaries: 26
  • Overpopulation in state penitentiaries: 4,000+ inmates
  • Recidivism rate: 44%
  • Annual corrections budget: $1.86 billion
  • Price of new correctional complex at Graterford: $315 million

Historically, Pennsylvania has maintained a “lock them up and throw away the key” prison policy. But a new law mandated by the Criminal Justice Reform Act will have Pennsylvania going in a more progressive direction. The law is projected to decrease the prison population by as many as 4,000 over four years and save up to $350 million over five years.

Offering much needed reform, the new law will target the release of non-violent offenders who are not an immediate threat to society. The law will affect prisoners in jail for crimes including drug offenses, receiving stolen property, and theft. Alternatives to incarceration will be more prevalent, ranging from house-arrest to intensive parole supervision to rehabilitation. The goal is to keep people out of prison, where the odds of successful rehabilitation are virtually nonexistent.

This law is one that is mutually beneficial. Pennsylvania will drastically cut spending on prisons, and people who would otherwise be incarcerated now have a legitimate chance at rehabilitation. The one negative aspect of the law is that it eliminates the release of prisoners who have displayed good behavior while behind bars, but that issue could possibly be addressed in the future. Non-violent offenders can now breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that they now have better odds of rehabilitation-based sanctions rather than incarceration.

33 comments:

  1. john says:

    If you would just execute the violent offenders, in a very timely manner such as take them outside of courtroom and slit there throats upon conviction, you would save tax payers money as well as open room in the existing prisons for your low level dirt bags. I am tired of schools getting cut, after school programs getting cut, senior benefits and things of this sort. We spend too much as it is on the prison system. Make prisoners grow there own food harvest it prepare it cook it as for exercise let them jog around courtyard no weights no nothing. Give them nothing they are in there because they chose to break laws. They then want to hide behind these same laws because they have rights. They gave up there rights the day they broke the law.

  2. Hopefully this guy does not get elected Judge any time soon…

  3. Jo Ann says:

    Please share the name of the law, and where can one find additional information.

    Thanks

  4. Senate Bill 100 signed July 9, 2012.

  5. Diane says:

    Can you give any advice how to go about getting early parole. I am trying to help someone who recieved a 6 month sentence for theft, has paid all restitution, completed a 6 1/2 month in house rehabilation program, and has been clean 20 months, has a full time job on work release that he had prior to his sentence. The theft was committed in July 2011 and he was just sentenced 2 weeks. Any advice would be appreciated.

  6. We need to have a conversation about this one. Please call us at 215 997 1000 and ask to speak to any available criminal lawyer

  7. Chris says:

    John,

    Have you never chosen to break the law?

  8. pat bateman says:

    Will this new legislation affect inmates with DUIs?

  9. pat bateman says:

    Are DUIs considered non violent?

  10. DUI is considered nonviolent. The following is a list of crimes that are considered not eligible under that law:

    18 Pa.C.S. § 2502 (relating to murder)

    18 Pa.C.S. § 2503 (relating to voluntary manslaughter)

    18 Pa.C.S. § 2702 (relating to aggravated assault)

    18 Pa.C.S. § 2703 (relating to assault by prisoner)

    18 Pa.C.S. § 2704 (relating to assault by life prisoner)

    18 Pa.C.S. § 2901(a) (relating to kidnapping)

    18 Pa.C.S. § 3121 (relating to rape)

    18 Pa.C.S. § 3122.1(a)(1) (relating to statutory sexual assault)

    18 Pa.C.S. § 3123 (relating to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse)

    18 Pa.C.S. § 3124.1 (relating to sexual assault)

    18 Pa.C.S. § 3125 (relating to aggravated indecent assault)

    18 Pa.C.S. § 3126 (relating to indecent assault)

    18 Pa.C.S. § 3301 (relating to arson and related offenses)

    18 Pa.C.S. § 3502 (relating to burglary) when graded as a felony of the first degree

    18 Pa.C.S. § 3701 (relating to robbery)

    18 Pa.C.S. § 3923 (relating to theft by extortion)

    18 Pa.C.S. § 4302(a) (relating to incest)

    18 Pa.C.S. § 5121 (relating to escape)

  11. People in jail for DUI will generally be eligible for RRRI unless they have prior convictions that make them ineligible. Talk with a good lawyer about the specifics of a particular case to make certain.

  12. erin williams says:

    When does this go into affect an How is it possible for me to get more information for my Husband

  13. Unfortunately your notification email went to our spam folder. Please call us at 215 997 1000 and we will be happy to update you.

  14. Cassie says:

    Hi,
    My husband is half way through a 22 month sentence for a drug charge. He is at SCI Benner. He was eligible for RRRI and it took 6 months off his initial sentence. Is early parole something he might also be eligible for? I have been wanting to talk with lawyer about some options for quite sometime now. We are from and I live in Jackson, WY so I always feel so far away and helpless. Any advice or options would be wonderful. My husband also just recently mentioned that he heard Camp Hill and I few other prisons were at capacity and they might be releasing thousands of non violent offenders. Any truth to that? Thank you for your time.

  15. Call us as this is something that we would have to research for you. 215 997 1000

  16. joe says:

    my son is innlewisberg pa sattalite camp for gun charges ona drug raid. he served 2 years on the drug charge and is now a year into the 44 month gun charges… where do I tell him to go for rrri early release. he has never been inna violent crime charge, and one of the gun charges is a muzzle loader antique gun!!!!

  17. Depending on what charges he was convicted of he may or may not be eligible for RRRI. You should hire a lawyer to review the file and the RRRI rules to see if he qualifies and make sure that his sentence specifically references RRRI or he won’t get any benefit from the program. If he should have been RRRI but it was not written on his sentencing order that usually can be fixed after the fact.

  18. Linda says:

    Hi my son was arrested for having five hundred thousand dollars plus
    four cell phones . This is his second offense ,he received four- eight
    years. He has served two of the four years. Can he get early release? Thank you

  19. He would need to have been approved for RRRI at the time of sentencing. Was he made eligible for IP, Boot Camp or any other programs? Please call us if you want to discuss this further. 215-997-1000.

  20. Erica Kinnear says:

    My fiancé is a non violent offender and he is something like ten months over his minimum sentence and was recently denied parole because of a misconduct in a halfway house ten months ago. He was eligible for RRRI but they decided it was irrelevant because he was already over his minimum. This does not make sense to me but I do not know about all of these laws so I thought I’d seek help as his lawyer tends to be very busy and not as active as he could be in his case. Also I am curious as to whether there are any laws about keeping addicts incarcerated; especially when they have completed programs such as TC (Therapeutic Community) Thank you in advance for any input you may have on these matters.

  21. RRRI parole should not be denied just because an offender is over his minimum. However, he can be denied parole due to misconducts. Check into whether that might be the cause. There is no law that says an addict cannot be incarcerated after completing a drug program, although those programs can help with the parole process.

  22. Dawn says:

    My son was given a 1-3 year sentence for failing 2 urine tests and trying to commit suicide and being put on a psychiatric unit where his tox screen came up positive for opiates -he was in county for 6 amd now in camphill waiting for the last 3 months waiting to be classified -we found out later that his gravida score was not even high enough to be put on drug court -he says he may not even be out before December ..is there anything we can do to make the classification process go faster ? He will have to be in a 4 month drug and alcohol class when he gets to his home jail and it seems they are taking forever just to classify him and his is up in October but may not even get classified by that point anything we can do

  23. I am not aware of anything that you can do to speed up the classification process. You might try writing to the warden, but you are pretty much at their mercy.

  24. sarah etzler says:

    grandson in for vehicular homicide w dui is that considered which carries mandatory 3 to 6 judge made eligible for boot camp after 1 yr

  25. Unfortunately for your grandson homicide by vehicle is a charge that precludes imposition of a RRRI sentence.

  26. Rose says:

    my fiancé in prison for 2 aggravated assault while DUI is he eligible for early release? he wrecked and two people broke femur? also how does a manslaughter while DUI get a lesser sentence

  27. He probably won’t be eligible due to the two Aggravated Assaults. I’m not sure what you mean in your final question. You may want to call our office 215 997 1000 and speak with any available attorney.

  28. Orlando says:

    A family member was charge with a new case that he comited before he went to prision, now she is on parole and they charge her with a new charge that was from 2012, what the parole board do, if this case was before she was incarcerated?

  29. They cannot violate parole for something that happened before the person was on parole.

  30. Orlando says:

    Even if the person was charge while on parole?

  31. Orlando says:

    But the crime was comited before she was on parole…

  32. Erin Armstrong says:

    My husband is currently serving in york cpunty prison pa on a m2 falsifying documents. It was first a felony and dropped to a m2 he is serving 11 and a half to 23 months. He is in for 4 and a half right now. Is he eligible for this. His lawyer never mentioned anything so I’m unsure. He did just received a letter from probation that he is determined to be a low risk individual and cam report to probation through Web portal within 30 days but he won’t be out in 30 days. Is this maybe because he may be released ealry.

  33. I suggest that you send the link to this article to his lawyer and ask him to check on whether he might be eligible.

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