Section 12-25-33

Powers and duties of commission.

To achieve the goals recognized by the Legislature in Chapter 25 and Section 12-25-31, the commission shall:

(1) Develop, maintain, and modify as necessary a system of statewide voluntary sentencing standards for use in felony cases which shall take into account historical sentencing data, concerning time actually served for various felony offenses, sentences imposed for various felony offenses, and such other factors as appear historically relevant to determining both the duration and disposition of sentences in felony cases. The standards shall recognize a continuum of punishments in recommending the disposition of sentences.

(2) Educate judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, victim’s service officers, community corrections officials, probation officers, and other personnel, where appropriate, in the use of the voluntary sentencing standards and worksheets.

(3) Develop, distribute, and periodically update sentencing worksheets for the use of courts in determining both the duration and disposition of sentences in felony cases.

(4) Prepare, distribute, and periodically update a form for sentencing courts to record the sentence of the offender and the reason or reasons for any departure from the voluntary sentencing standards.

(5) Develop and distribute voluntary standards for sentencing courts that include recommended intermediate punishment options.

(6) Evaluate validated risk and needs assessment instruments used by the Board of Pardons and Paroles, the Department of Corrections, and other agencies and entities and assist in developing an offender risk and needs assessment instrument for use in felony cases, based on a study of Alabama felons, that is intended to be predictive of the relative risk that a felon will become a threat to public safety.

(7) Collect, analyze, and maintain data regarding sentencing practices in felony cases, including the use of the voluntary sentencing standards, and recommend changes or modifications of the standards and worksheets as the commission deems appropriate.

(8) Collect and analyze information including sentencing data, crime trends, and existing correctional resources to enable the commission to make recommendations regarding projected correctional resource needs and to make recommendations to the Governor, the Legislature, the Chief Justice, and the Attorney General in the annual report of the commission. This annual report should also include data showing the impact of the initial voluntary standards and the truth-in-sentencing standards by race, gender, and location of the offender.

(9) Study felony statutes in the context of sentencing patterns as they evolve and make recommendations for the revision of criminal offense statutes to provide more specific offense definitions and more narrowly prescribed ranges of punishment.

(10) Study bills introduced in the Legislature affecting criminal laws and procedure and prepare impact statements of proposed legislation on Alabama's criminal justice system, including the prison population.

(11) Report upon its work and recommendations annually to the Governor, the Legislature, the Chief Justice, and the Attorney General, to include the number of incarcerated inmates that are currently only serving a sentence for a nonviolent offense and who also have a violent offense in their criminal history. The Department of Corrections shall provide to the commission any information necessary to complete such report.

(12) Conduct the research necessary to determine the appropriate point values for offenses classified as Class D felonies for purposes of the sentencing guidelines and establish such point values within the sentencing range set forth in Section 13A-5-6.

(13) Perform such other functions as may be required by law or necessary to carry out the duties of the commission prescribed in this chapter and this article.

(Act 2003-354, p. 948, §4; Act 2015-185, §1.)