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Georgia: Rebound Act Draft Legislation

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Senate or House Bill No. XXX

An act to amend Georgia Code, Title 17 – Criminal Procedure, Chapter 10  – Sentence and Punishment, Article 1 –  Procedure for Sentencing and Imposition of Punishment, Section 17-10-1; and to add to Georgia Code, Title 42 – Penal Institutions, Chapter 8 – Probation, Article 9 – Probation Management, commencing with a new Section 42-8-150, relating to parole and probation. 

SB/HB XXX, “The Rebound Act,” an Act to reduce Criminal Recidivism.


This bill cap probation terms for all crimes at no more than five years. I would also would authorize the state to allocate money annually to be used for specified purposes relating to improving community supervision practices and capacities via evidence-based rehabilitative programs, as specified.


This bill would require the state to calculate the amount of money to be appropriated from the general fund by the Office of the State Treasurer with oversight provided by the XXX.

This bill would specify that the calculation would be based on costs avoided by the Department of Community Supervision because of a reduction in the percentage of adult probationers and parolees who are returned to a period of incarceration in either jail or prison, as specified.


This bill would require evidence-based community supervision programs to be developed, implemented or expanded by the Department of Community Supervision. This bill would also require data collection to track specific outcome-based measures, as specified, by the Department of Community Supervision on the effectiveness of those programs. 


The people of the State of Georgia do enact as follows:

SECTION 1. This act shall be known and may be cited as the Rebound Act of 2020.

SECTION 2. The following is added to the end of Section 17-10-1(a)(1)(A) of Title 17, Chapter 10, Article 1 of the Georgia Code: “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no sentence of probation imposed pursuant to this Title, or Article 6 of Chapter 3 of Title 42 of the Georgia Code, shall exceed 5 years as measured from the date of sentencing or release.”


SECTION 3. Section 42-8-150 is added to Title 42, Chapter 8, Article 9 of the Georgia Code, to read:

42-8-150. Probation and Parole Performance Incentives 

(a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:

         1) According to reporting from the Georgia Department of Community Supervision (“GDCS”), in fiscal year 2019, there were a total of 265,816 individuals supervised by GDCS on probation or parole. In addition, approximately 165,000 Georgians are on misdemeanor probation. All told, one in every 18 adult Georgians is on probation or parole, a rate more than four times the national average and the highest rate in the country.

         2) In 2017, according to the Council of State Governments, 35 percent of those entering Georgia prisons were people returning to prison for violating community supervision requirements, at a cost of more than $194 million annually.

         3) Community supervision costs the Georgia Department of Corrections far less per offender than incarceration, and the number of people under community supervision has grown faster than related state spending.

         4) Providing sustainable funding for improved, evidence-based probation and parole supervision practices and capacities will improve public safety outcomes. Improving performance, measured by a reduction in individuals returning to jail or prison because they were revoked on probation or parole, or if they were convicted of another crime while on probation or parole, will reduce the number of new admissions to state prison, saving taxpayer.          dollars and allowing a portion of those state savings to be redirected to be invested in specific programs.


(b) As used in this chapter, the following definitions apply:

         1) “Probation and parole programming” describes a program established pursuant to this act consisting of a system of probation and parole supervision services dedicated to all of the following goals:

                       i. Enhancing public safety through the management and reduction of offender risk while under supervision and upon reentry from prison into the community.

                       ii. Providing a range of supervision tools, sanctions, and services applied to probationers and parolees based on a risk/needs assessment for the purpose of reducing criminal conduct and promoting individualized behavioral change that results in reducing recidivism and promoting successful reintegration into the community.

                       iii. Maximizing offender restitution, reconciliation, and restorative services to victims of crime, when applicable.

                       iv. Holding probationers and parolees accountable for successful compliance with applicable court orders and conditions of supervision.

                       v. Improving public safety outcomes for persons placed on probation or parole after an offense, as measured by their successful completion of supervision and commensurate reduction in the rate of probationers or parolees returning to jail or prison as a result of a revocation or conviction of a new crime.

         2) “Evidence-based practices” refers to supervision policies, procedures, programs, and practices demonstrated by scientific research to reduce recidivism among individuals under probation, parole, or post-release supervision.


(c) Allocation of Funds 

         1) All amounts allocated for purposes of implementing this chapter will be provided to the Department of Community Supervision to administer for implementation of programs, as specified. 

                       i. Funds will be moved from the General Fund to the Department of Community Supervision, which after making appropriate calculations under section h(4) will disburse funding to eligible field offices for their use according to the provisions herein. 

                       ii. Funds may also be used by field offices for the hiring of additional personnel and performance bonuses for probation and parole officers, as specified.

                                  1. HOLD: percentages for bonuses, new hires, etc. 

         2) In any fiscal year in which a district receives money to be expended for the implementation of this chapter, the funds, including any interest, shall be made available to the Department of Community Supervision, within 30 days of the deposit of those moneys, for the implementation of program authorized by this chapter.

                        i. XXX will provide oversight periodically regarding the monetary allocation to the specific field offices tasked with administering the monies to ensure that disbursed funds are being appropriately used as specified in this section.

                       ii. Funds allocated pursuant to this act shall be used to provide supervision and rehabilitative services for probationers and parolees, and shall be spent on evidence-based practices and programs, as defined in Section (b) which may include, but are not limited to, the following:

                                  1. Implementing and expanding evidence-based risk and needs assessments for individualized programming;

                                  2. Implementing and expanding intermediate sanctions that include, but are not limited to, mandatory community service, home detention, day reporting, restorative justice programs, work furlough programs, and incarceration in county jail for up to 90 days;

                                  3. Expanding the availability of evidence-based rehabilitation programs including, but not limited to, drug and alcohol treatment, mental health treatment, anger management, cognitive behavior programs, and job training and employment services;

                                  4. Hiring additional officers, associates, or other personnel to supervise and help oversee and implement evidence-based rehabilitative programming or awarding performance bonuses to existing officers;

                                  5. Evaluating the effectiveness of rehabilitation and supervision programs and ensuring program fidelity.

                        iii. The Department of Community Supervision shall have discretion to spend funds on any of the above practices and programs consistent with this act but, at a minimum, shall devote at least 5 percent of all funding received to evaluate the effectiveness of those programs and practices implemented with the funds provided pursuant to this chapter.

                        iv. The Department of Community Supervision shall maintain a complete and accurate accounting of any and all funds received pursuant to this chapter.


(d) The Department of Community Supervision shall define and track specific outcome based measures.

         1) The outcome-based measures shall include, but not be limited to, all of the following: 

                       i. The percentage of persons on probation and parole who are being supervised in accordance with evidence-based practices.

                       ii. The percentage of state moneys expended for programs that are evidence-based, and a descriptive list of all programs that are evidence-based.

                       iii. Specification of supervision policies, procedures, programs, and practices that were eliminated.

                       iv. The percentage of persons on probation and parole who successfully complete the period of supervision.

                       v. Funds received by the Department of Community Supervision shall be accounted for in an annual written report to the XXX and will evaluate the effectiveness of the community corrections program.

(e) Reporting

         1) Commencing no later than 18 months following the initial receipt of funding from the General Fund and pursuant to this Act and annually thereafter, the Department of Community Supervision shall submit to the Governor and the Legislature a comprehensive report on the implementation of this act. The report shall include, but not be limited to, all of the following information: 

                       i. The effectiveness of programs based on the reports of performance-based outcome measures required in Section (d).

                       ii. The percentage of adult probationers and parolees whose supervision was revoked for the year on which the report is being made.

                       iii. The percentage of probationers and parolees who were convicted of crimes during their term of supervision for the year on which the report is being made.

                       iv. The impact of the moneys appropriated pursuant to this act to enhance public safety by reducing the percentage and number of probationers and parolees whose supervision was revoked for the year being reported on for violations or new convictions, and to reduce the number of probationers and parolees who return to jail or prison for the year on which the report is being made.

                       v. Any recommendations regarding resource allocations or additional collaboration with other state, regional, federal, or local entities for improvements to this act.

                      vi. The number of probationers and parolees whose supervision was revoked solely for a violation of the terms of probation or parole, and the number of probationers and parolees whose supervision was revoked because of the commission of a new crime.

(f) Data Collection Requirements

         1) After the conclusion of each calendar year following the enactment of this section, the Department of Community Supervision shall gather the data and calculate the following for that calendar year:

                       i. Probation Failure Rate per Field Office

                                  1. The Department of Community Supervision shall calculate for each field office a baseline probation failure rate that equals the average number of adult probationers returning to state prison during calendar years 2017 to 2019, inclusive, as a percentage of the average adult probation population during the same period.

                                  2. For purposes of calculating the baseline probation failure rate, the number of adult probationers returning to jail or prison shall include those probationers returning to state prison for a revocation of probation, as well as probationers returning to state prison for a conviction of a new offense. The calculation shall also include probationers returning to jail or prison for conviction of a new crime who simultaneously have their probation term terminated.

                       ii. Parole Failure Rate per Field Office

                                  1. The Department of Community Supervision shall calculate for each field office a baseline parole failure rate that equals the average number of adult parolees returning to state prison during calendar years 2017 to 2019, inclusive, as a percentage of the average adult parolee population during the same period.

                                  2. For purposes of calculating the baseline parole failure rate, the number of adult parolees returning to jail or prison shall include those parolees returning to state prison for a revocation of parole, as well as parolees returning to state prison for a conviction of a new offense. The calculation shall also include parolees returning to jail or prison for conviction of a new crime who simultaneously have their parole term terminated.

                        iii. In calculating probation and parole failure rates for the state and individual field offices, the number of adult probationers and parolees returned to jail or prison shall include those adult probationers and parolees who have their supervision revoked, as well as adult probationers and parolees returning for a conviction of a new offense. The calculation shall also include adult probationers and parolees who return to jail or prison for conviction of a new crime and who simultaneously have their probation and parole terms terminated.

                        iv. Comparative Performance Data

                                  1. An estimate of the number of adult probationers and parolees each field office successfully prevented from returning to jail or prison shall be calculated.

                                  2. For each field office, this estimate shall be calculated based on the reduction in the field office’s probation and parole failure rates as calculated annually pursuant to the field office’s baseline parole failure rate as calculated pursuant to sections f(1) and f(2).

                                  3. In making this estimate, the Office of State Treasurer, in consultation with the Department of Community Supervision, shall adjust the calculations to account for changes in each field office’s adult probation and parole caseload in the most recent completed calendar year as compared to the field office’s adult probation and parole population during the period 2017 to 2019, inclusive.

                       v. An accounting of the current total population of probationers and parolees per field office as of the date of the required report.

                      vi. An accounting of the historical failure rate for last three years per field office.

                      vii. If the calculations described in this section cannot reasonably be made for each field office, the same calculation shall instead be made for each supervision district as identified by GDCS.

(g) Marginal Cost of Incarceration

         1) After the conclusion of each calendar year following the enactment of this section, the Department of Community Supervision shall calculate the marginal cost of incarceration for both jail and for prison for that calendar year.

                       i. This calculation shall take into consideration factors, including, but not limited to, the average length of stay in either jail or prison for probationers and parolees returning to prison, and the average length of stay in jail for probationers and parolees returning to jail.

(h) Annually, the Office of State Treasurer, in consultation with the Department of Community Supervision, shall calculate a probation and parole failure reduction incentive payment for each field office for the most recently completed calendar year, as follows:

         1) For each field office, its probation and parole failure reduction incentive payment shall equal the estimated number of probationers and parolees successfully prevented from returning to prison, multiplied by 45 percent of the costs to the state to incarcerate in prison a parolee who was returned to prison.

         2) The incentive funding for both probation and parole will be calculated for each field office, then combined.

                       i. Incentive funding = [(total number averted) x (historical proportion who went to jail) x (marginal cost of jail) x 0.45] + [(total number averted) x (historical proportion who went to prison) x (marginal cost of prison) x. 0.45]

         3) The total incentive funding amount will be held in the General Fund then allocated to the Department of Community Supervision’s budget.

         4) The Department of Community Supervision will then proportionately disburse the incentive funds to each field office based on the specific calculation in the same formula as above.

         5) If the calculation described in section (f) above is made on a per-district basis as described in section (f)(1)(vii), then the disbursement shall be made proportionately to each district.

(i) If data of sufficient quality and of the types required for the implementation of this act are not available then the Department of Community Supervision shall use the best available data to estimate supervision failure reduction rates utilizing a methodology that is as consistent with that described in this act as is reasonably possible.

(j) The Office of the State Treasurer shall include an estimate of the total funds to be held and administered in the coming fiscal year as part of the Governor’s proposed budget released no later than January 10 of each year.

(k) The moneys appropriated pursuant to this chapter shall be used to supplement, not supplant, any other state or district appropriation for the supervisory probation or parole officer or any district or field office.

(l) Unless this legislative body acts to extend the provisions encompassed by this text, then the provisions will sunset ten years after the date the bill becomes effective.

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