Florida Senate - 2021 CS for SB 1908 By the Committee on Criminal Justice; and Senator Pizzo 591-02934-21 20211908c1 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to gain-time for certain women 3 prisoners; creating s. 944.243, F.S.; defining the 4 term “violent felony”; specifying that a pregnant 5 prisoner or a prisoner who is the mother of a child of 6 a certain age sentenced to a state correctional 7 institution is eligible under certain circumstances to 8 earn or receive gain-time in an amount that would 9 cause her sentence to expire, end, or terminate after 10 serving 65 percent of the sentence imposed; providing 11 that a pregnant prisoner or a prisoner who is the 12 mother of a child of a certain age is ineligible under 13 certain circumstances to earn or receive gain-time in 14 an amount that would cause her sentence to expire, 15 end, or terminate after serving 65 percent of the 16 sentence imposed; amending ss. 921.002 and 944.275, 17 F.S.; conforming provisions to changes made by the 18 act; providing an effective date. 19 20 WHEREAS, the absence of the mother of a young child on a 21 daily basis may lead to problems and disorders connected to such 22 absence for the child, and 23 WHEREAS, a mother’s presence soothes a child’s stress and 24 helps to regulate a child’s emotions, and 25 WHEREAS, a mother’s extended absence can cause a child to 26 experience higher levels of stress and anxiety, and 27 WHEREAS, the more emotionally and physically present a 28 mother can be for her child, the better the chance that child 29 will be emotionally healthy and mentally well, NOW, THEREFORE, 30 31 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 32 33 Section 1. Section 944.243, Florida Statutes, is created to 34 read: 35 944.243 Gain-time for pregnant prisoners or prisoners who 36 are mothers of young children.— 37 (1) As used in this section, the term “violent felony” 38 means the commission of, an attempt to commit, or a conspiracy 39 to commit any offense enumerated in s. 775.084(1)(c)1., s. 40 827.03, s. 827.071, or s. 827.10. 41 (2) A prisoner sentenced to a state correctional 42 institution who is a pregnant prisoner as defined in s. 944.241 43 or who is the mother of a child 3 years of age or younger at the 44 time the offense or offenses were committed is eligible to earn 45 or receive gain-time under s. 944.275 in an amount that would 46 cause the sentence to expire, end, or terminate, or that would 47 result in the prisoner’s release, after serving 65 percent of 48 the sentence imposed if: 49 (a) No offense for which the prisoner was convicted is a 50 violent felony; 51 (b) The prisoner has demonstrated good behavior while 52 incarcerated; and 53 (c) The prisoner has completed at least one educational or 54 rehabilitative program while incarcerated, if such education or 55 rehabilitative program was available. However, if the prisoner’s 56 participation in an educational or rehabilitative program is 57 terminated due to a reason other than the prisoner’s voluntary 58 termination or expulsion from the program for cause, the 59 prisoner’s participation in the program shall be considered as 60 completion of the program for purposes of this paragraph. 61 (3) A pregnant prisoner or a prisoner who is the mother of 62 a child 3 years of age or younger at the time the offense or 63 offenses were committed becomes ineligible for release under 64 this section if the qualifying pregnancy is subsequently 65 terminated prior to the birth of an infant, or the woman is no 66 longer the legal parent of a qualifying child due to an adoption 67 under chapter 63 or termination of parental rights under chapter 68 39, or similar proceedings in another jurisdiction. 69 Section 2. Paragraph (e) of subsection (1) of section 70 921.002, Florida Statutes, is amended to read: 71 921.002 The Criminal Punishment Code.—The Criminal 72 Punishment Code shall apply to all felony offenses, except 73 capital felonies, committed on or after October 1, 1998. 74 (1) The provision of criminal penalties and of limitations 75 upon the application of such penalties is a matter of 76 predominantly substantive law and, as such, is a matter properly 77 addressed by the Legislature. The Legislature, in the exercise 78 of its authority and responsibility to establish sentencing 79 criteria, to provide for the imposition of criminal penalties, 80 and to make the best use of state prisons so that violent 81 criminal offenders are appropriately incarcerated, has 82 determined that it is in the best interest of the state to 83 develop, implement, and revise a sentencing policy. The Criminal 84 Punishment Code embodies the principles that: 85 (e) The sentence imposed by the sentencing judge reflects 86 the length of actual time to be served, shortened only by the 87 application of incentive and meritorious gain-time as provided 88 by law, and may not be shortened if the defendant would 89 consequently serve less than the specified percentage
85 percent90 of his or her term of imprisonment as provided in s. 944.275(4). 91 The provisions of chapter 947, relating to parole, do shallnot 92 apply to persons sentenced under the Criminal Punishment Code. 93 Section 3. Subsection (4) of section 944.275, Florida 94 Statutes, is amended to read: 95 944.275 Gain-time.— 96 (4)(a) As a means of encouraging satisfactory behavior, the 97 department shall grant basic gain-time at the rate of 10 days 98 for each month of each sentence imposed on a prisoner, subject 99 to the following: 100 1. Portions of any sentences to be served concurrently 101 shall be treated as a single sentence when determining basic 102 gain-time. 103 2. Basic gain-time for a partial month shall be prorated on 104 the basis of a 30-day month. 105 3. When a prisoner receives a new maximum sentence 106 expiration date because of additional sentences imposed, basic 107 gain-time shall be granted for the amount of time the maximum 108 sentence expiration date was extended. 109 (b) For each month in which an inmate works diligently, 110 participates in training, uses time constructively, or otherwise 111 engages in positive activities, the department may grant 112 incentive gain-time in accordance with this paragraph. The rate 113 of incentive gain-time in effect on the date the inmate 114 committed the offense which resulted in his or her incarceration 115 shall be the inmate’s rate of eligibility to earn incentive 116 gain-time throughout the period of incarceration and may shall117 not be altered by a subsequent change in the severity level of 118 the offense for which the inmate was sentenced. 119 1. For sentences imposed for offenses committed prior to 120 January 1, 1994, up to 20 days of incentive gain-time may be 121 granted. If granted, such gain-time shall be credited and 122 applied monthly. 123 2. For sentences imposed for offenses committed on or after 124 January 1, 1994, and before October 1, 1995: 125 a. For offenses ranked in offense severity levels 1 through 126 7, under former s. 921.0012 or former s. 921.0013, up to 25 days 127 of incentive gain-time may be granted. If granted, such gain 128 time shall be credited and applied monthly. 129 b. For offenses ranked in offense severity levels 8, 9, and 130 10, under former s. 921.0012 or former s. 921.0013, up to 20 131 days of incentive gain-time may be granted. If granted, such 132 gain-time shall be credited and applied monthly. 133 3. For sentences imposed for offenses committed on or after 134 October 1, 1995, the department may grant up to 10 days per 135 month of incentive gain-time. 136 (c) An inmate who performs some outstanding deed, such as 137 saving a life or assisting in recapturing an escaped inmate, or 138 who in some manner performs an outstanding service that would 139 merit the granting of additional deductions from the term of his 140 or her sentence may be granted meritorious gain-time of from 1 141 to 60 days. 142 (d) Notwithstanding the monthly maximum awards of incentive 143 gain-time under subparagraphs (b)1., 2., and 3., the education 144 program manager shall recommend, and the Department of 145 Corrections may grant, a one-time award of 60 additional days of 146 incentive gain-time to an inmate who is otherwise eligible and 147 who successfully completes requirements for and is, or has been 148 during the current commitment, awarded a high school equivalency 149 diploma or vocational certificate. Under no circumstances may an 150 inmate receive more than 60 days for educational attainment 151 pursuant to this section. 152 (e) Notwithstanding subparagraph (b)3., for sentences 153 imposed for offenses committed on or after October 1, 2014, the 154 department may not grant incentive gain-time if the offense is a 155 violation of s. 782.04(1)(a)2.c.; s. 787.01(3)(a)2. or 3.; s. 156 787.02(3)(a)2. or 3.; s. 794.011, excluding s. 794.011(10); s. 157 800.04; s. 825.1025; or s. 847.0135(5). 158 (f) Except as provided in s. 944.243, an inmate who is 159 subject to subparagraph (b)3. is not eligible to earn or receive 160 gain-time under paragraph (a), paragraph (b), paragraph (c), or 161 paragraph (d) or any other type of gain-time in an amount that 162 would cause a sentence to expire, end, or terminate, or that 163 would result in a prisoner’s release, prior to serving a minimum 164 of 85 percent of the sentence imposed. For purposes of this 165 paragraph, credits awarded by the court for time physically 166 incarcerated shall be credited toward satisfaction of 85 percent 167 of the sentence imposed. Except as provided by this section, a 168 prisoner may not accumulate further gain-time awards at any 169 point when the tentative release date is the same as that date 170 at which the prisoner will have served 85 percent of the 171 sentence imposed. State prisoners sentenced to life imprisonment 172 shall be incarcerated for the rest of their natural lives, 173 unless granted pardon or clemency. 174 Section 4. This act shall take effect July 1, 2021.