PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Lori Sitler
Pager: (302) 247-1132
Date: April 17, 2003
ATTORNEY GENERAL'S PROBATION REFORM BILL APPROVED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
(Wilmington, DE): Early this evening, the House of Representatives passed the Attorney General's probation reform bill, Senate Bill 50, by a vote of 37 to 0 with 4 absent. The Senate acted on the bill on April 9th, passing it unanimously. The bill is part of the Attorney General's 2003 Legislative Agenda.
Attorney General Jane Brady commented, "The administration of our probation system has become extremely costly. Over 50% of those incarcerated are in prison for violating probation. This bill is a component of an effort to restore probation to its original purposes of monitoring compliance and assuring public safety."
This Act ends the practice of using lengthy periods of probation as punishment. Except where necessary to ensure public safety or the completion of a substance abuse treatment program, probation sentences will be strictly limited to 2 years for any violent felony conviction, 18 months for any drug offense and 1 year for all other crimes. The bill also gives the Department of Correction authority to re-classify offenders between levels of probation supervision and to administratively sanction offenders for technical violations of probation. Restitution collection will also be enhanced as restitution orders will be enforceable by victims as civil judgments and a new level of probation will be created to ensure that payments to victims are completed.
"The significance of the restitution component of this bill cannot be overstated. For too long, victims have not recovered for the financial impact of crimes committed against them. This allows the victim to take the initiative to recover restitution without having to rely on the bureaucracy of the Courts," said Brady.