It didn’t take long for the recommendations of Gov. Dennis Dauggard’s Criminal Justice Initiative to show up in a courtroom.
It took less than 24 hours , to be more exact.
Tom Deadrick, the lawyer for Taylor Cournoyer and soon-to-be prosecutor, asked during his client’s sentence hearing today in Charles Mix County that his client be placed on a form of supervised release that would shave 15 days off his supervision period for every 30 days he stayed sober and complied with his parole officer’s instructions.
“I’d like to take credit for the idea, but it came from the Governor’s criminal justice panel,” he said.
The CJI is recommending a parole change that goes even further, with parolees cutting 30 days off their supervision time for every 30 days
Neither of those things happened for Deadrick’s client, but it was an interesting request.
Deadrick said after the hearing that he was intrigued by the concept of motivating parolees to follow the rules with incentives, calling it a “common sense idea.”
The concept actually mirrors something that already happens inside the prison, where inmates get an automatic release date within their first three months that they can earn by complying with the terms of what’s known as an “Individual Program Directive.”
That’s one of dozens of proposed changes in the CJI report.
The group, which was called together at the governor’s request, met all summer to discuss ways of dealing with the state’s ballooning prison population. Their report’s findings call for some massive changes to the way the state deals with nonviolent offenders.
The day-for-day proposal for parole one of the least serious changes in the report, which also suggests lowering penalties for controlled substances, expanding drug and DUI courts across the state, and creating a rebuttable presumption of probation – as opposed to prison time – for low-level felonies.
Here’s the whole report.