Last week the Rhode Island Supreme Court ruled against a prisoner seeking credit for time served on Home Confinement after his release from the ACI. While the decision is not unsuprising, it does further limit the rights of inmates after they have been convicted.
In the case before the Court, the prisoner had been sentenced to time to serve at the ACI. Due to so-called "good time", he was released on parole. A condition of his parole was to be monitored by Home Confinement with an ankle bracelet. This is a typical scenario. While on Home Confinement, the prisoner violated the terms of the parole and was sent back to the ACI. The issue before the Court decided was whether the prisoner should be given "credit" for the amount of time that he served on Home Confinement.
The Rhode Island Department of Attorney General argued that he should not be given credit based on the language of the Statute. The Court agreed, basing their decision on the language of the Statute and the purpose behind Parole. If you have any questions about your or a family member's situation regarding Parole, Home Confinement, or Probation call Attorney Matthew Marin at 401-228-8271 for a free, confidential consultation.Read the Full Story as reported by the Providence Journal on June 4, 2010 below:
R.I. high court clarifies ‘time served'
01:00 AM EDT on Saturday, June 5, 2010
PROVIDENCE — The state Supreme Court ruled Friday that electronic monitoring in the community does not constitute confinement in terms of computing time served for parolees who later get sent back to prison for violating the terms of their release.
The court's 4-0 decision (the newest justice, Gilbert V. Indeglia, did not participate) overturned a lower court judgment made by Superior Court Judge Netti C. Vogel, who sided with the prisoner, Harold E. Curtis, 38, whose last known address was 208 Prairie Ave., Providence.
Curtis pleaded no-contest on July 30, 2003, in Kent County Superior Court to breaking into and entering an East Greenwich dwelling with intent to commit a felony. Vogel sentenced him to 10 years, with 5 years to serve in the Adult Correctional Institutions and 5 years suspended. He was also placed on five years' probation. Curtis' sentence was made retroactive to Dec. 10, 2002, when he was originally imprisoned for the offense.
Curtis was paroled on March 22, 2006, but was ordered placed on home confinement with electronic monitoring for 90 days. He was sent back to the ACI as a parole violator on June 1, 2007 — the court decision does not reflect the circumstances. The Department of Corrections determined that, with credit Curtis had earned for good behavior while behind bars, his release date would be July 14, 2008.
But Curtis disagreed with that computation and representing himself, filed a petition with Vogel, contending he should be given credit for the three months he served on home confinement.
Vogel agreed with Curtis' interpretation and, in June 2008, ordered his immediate release. The Department of Corrections and the attorney general's office filed an appeal, Vogel's decision was stayed, and Friday the high court vacated the Superior Court judgment. Curtis, who was represented on appeal by a court-appointed attorney, ultimately completed his sentence at the ACI without credit for time served on confinement.
In Friday's decision, written by Chief Justice Paul Suttell, the high court rejected Vogel's interpretation of relevant state statutes. It noted that Rhode Island General Law states that “the time between the release of the prisoner under the [parole] permit and the prisoner's return to the [ACI] ... under order of the board shall not be considered as any part of the prisoner's original sentence.”
It also noted that, prior to being released on parole, Curtis signed an agreement that specified the terms and conditions of his parole and that “that agreement specifically excluded time spent on parole from being credited toward his full sentence.”
Prosecutors argued that time spent in the ACI and time spent in the community with electronic monitoring are qualitatively different.
“A correctional institution like the ACI is much more restrictive in terms of the rules imposed, the amount of surveillance, the lack of privacy and the curtailment of individual freedom and movement,” prosecutor Lauren S. Zurier argued in a brief submitted to the high court.
Prisoners do get credit for time served in the ACI while awaiting trial, but not while awaiting trial on home confinement.
However, community confinement with electronic monitoring can be meted out as an actual sentence in lieu of imprisonment.