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Parole is available after two years


This proceeding originated from an appeal filed by a man. A man, who is an inmate at one of the correctional facility, is challenging an officer’s failure to enroll him in the treatment program despite the alleged order of the man’s sentencing court.

The man was sentenced as a second felony offender, to a determinate term of imprisonment of five years upon his conviction of the crime of criminal possession of a controlled drug substance in the third degree. On that same day, the court issued an order directing to enroll the man in a treatment program, provided that the man will satisfy the legal eligibility criteria for participation in such program.

Sources revealed that the treatment program was designed to prepare chemically dependant inmates for a return to the community, to reduce recidivism, by providing them education and counseling focused on continuing abstinence from all mood altering substances, and to encourage participation in self-help groups. There was no arrest for the crime of arson.

Based on records, when the court imposes a sentence of imprisonment which requires a commitment to the correctional facility upon a person who stands convicted of a controlled substance, like marijuana, the court may, upon motion of the offender in its discretion, issue an order directing the correctional facility to enroll the offender to a treatment program in an alcohol and substance abuse, provided that the offender will satisfy the legal eligibility criteria for participation in such program.

In the case, the man’s temporary release program application was denied based upon the nature of the crime underlying the man’s imprisonment as well as his violent criminal history.

Records shows that the court’s review of the legal language leads it to conclude that the sentencing court’s has authority to direct the facility to enroll the man in the treatment program limited to phase I of such program. With that, the court stated that the relevant language of the law merely indicates that the sentencing court has authority to direct the facility to enroll the man in the comprehensive treatment program.

The officer, on his part, didn’t argue the man’s legal eligibility for enrollment in Phase I of the treatment program. Rather, he asserts that in spite of a law orders that the facility still maintains discretion as to the timing of an inmate’s enrollment, even after legal eligibility has been established.

For the man, who does not appear to have been sentenced as a second felony drug offender, the only legal eligibility requirements is that he be eligible for parole or conditional release within two years and six months.

Consequently, the court founds that neither logic nor the conditions of the law dictate that an inmate armed with a sentencing court with the treatment enrollment program order is entitled to leapfrog to the head of a program waiting list upon attaining legal eligibility for enrollment in the program. In short, the court founds no basis to distinguish between court ordered treatment program inmates and inmates who have been administratively approved for enrollment. In the case at bar, however, the man has been legally eligible without being enrolled in Phase I of the treatment program or, apparently, placed on a waiting list. It would be clearly prejudicial to the man to simply direct his placement on the waiting list at the late instance.

As a result, the decision of the court and it is hereby considered, that the petition of the man is granted, without cost or disbursements, but only to the extent that the officer is directed to immediately enroll the man in Phase I of the treatment program in accordance with the terms of the decision and judgment.

When you need legal assistance to appeal a court decision, you can seek help from the Suffolk County Criminal Lawyer. If you are trying to battle a drug related case in the courtroom, you can avail of the services of the Suffolk County Drug Possession Attorney. Simply drop by or call Stephen Bilkis and Associates office.

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