On March 31, 2015, Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert signed House Bill 348S01 "Criminal Justice Programs and Amendments" into law.
The Utah Board of Pardons and Parole, with the Utah Department of Corrections, has prepared the following information to help the public understand the changes the bill makes in sentencing, credit for time served, parole violations and credit for program completion.
The changes affecting individuals under the jurisdiction of the Board do not go into effect until October 1, 2015.
The bill reduces penalties for certain drug crimes. The reduced sentences will shorten the expiration date (or maximum potential time in prison). In addition, the changes will shorten the Sentencing Guideline. The changes are not retroactive, so they will only apply to new sentences entered after the effective date.
CREDIT FOR TIME SERVED
The bill expands the definition of jail time that can be credited as time served against a prison sentence. Jail time served as a condition of probation or for a violation of probation may be counted as time served. This change is not retroactive and applies to new prison sentences after the effective date. (Note: The Board does not grant credit for time in jail served for other convictions or for probation violations not related to the offense that resulted in the prison commitment or when time is tolled.)
SENTENCING GUIDELINES AND PAROLE VIOLATIONS
The Sentencing Commission will update the Sentencing Guidelines and establish guidelines for parole violations. The guidelines will suggest how long an individual should serve in prison for the original offense and subsequent parole violations. The Board may use aggravating or mitigating factors to deviate from the guidelines.
CREDIT FOR PROGRAM COMPLETION
The bill establishes a reduction of incarceration time (time cut) of at least four months for successfully completing the top Case Action Plan priority. An additional four-month time cut will be granted for completing a second Case Action Plan priority. Currently the Board may grant a time cut for program completion; however, the new cuts related to the Case Action Plan will be effective on October 1, 2015.
The Board and Department of Corrections will establish an earned-time credit program for individuals on parole. Each month of successful parole will reduce the maximum term of parole for eligible parolees.
Between now and October, the Board will work with the Department of Corrections and the Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice to create the rules and procedures implementing the legislative changes.
The Board will provide more information to case managers, inmates and parolees as the October date draws near. Please check the Board's website at http://bop.utah.gov/new/index.php/for-offenders-families/house-bill-348 or the Department's website at corrections.utah.gov for periodic updates. The earned-time credit program for probationers and parolees will be effective on October 1, 2015.