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Currently, the law authorizes the Secretary of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to offer a program under which certain incarcerated persons who are committed to state prison may be allowed to participate in a voluntary alternative custody program in lieu of confinement in state prison.
Existing law defines an alternative custody sentence to include confinement to a residential home, a residential drug or treatment program, or a transitional care facility that offers appropriate services.
Among the states, Mississippi experienced the largest decline, with 3,200 fewer persons in prison in 2014, a decrease of 15 percent.
In Texas, the state with nation’s largest prison population, there was a modest decline of 1 percent, or 2,200 prisoners, from 2013 to 2014.
SB 261 expands that policy to persons who were 18-22 at the time of their crimes, and applies to persons sentenced to life prison terms or lengthy determinate sentences.
The policy also requires that the Board consult with persons eligible for a Youth Offender Parole hearing six years prior to their parole eligibility date to discuss what will be needed to be parole ready.
During 2015, lawmakers in at least 30 states adopted changes in policy and practice that may contribute to further declines in incarcerated populations and address the collateral impacts of justice involvement.
The policy reforms outlined in this document highlight changes in sentencing, community supervision, collateral consequences, and juvenile justice policies.
Addressed ability of persons with felony convictions to rent private housing. During 2015, officials in at least 12 states addressed sentencing policies and practices to address the number of persons in prison and improve fairness in the criminal justice system.These policy changes may help to scale back the harsh punishments as a contributing driver of mass incarceration.Lawmakers and stakeholders interested in policy solutions to reduce state prison populations should consider laws that trigger admissions to prison and length of confinement.Previously, persons convicted of felony possession in restricted zones were sentenced to mandatory two-year prison terms running consecutively to the prison term imposed for the underlying possession crime, although a judge could depart from the mandatory under certain circumstances.