The Recidivism Risk Reduction Incentive legislation (RRRI), enacted in November 2008, enables certain non-violent criminal offenders who are sentenced to Pennsylvania Department of Corrections facilities to reduce their minimum sentence if they complete recommended programs and serve their state sentence misconduct free. The RRRI programs are designed to reduced recidivism by providing offenders with the tools to become productive members of society.
Generally, those who commit violent or more serious crimes are not eligible for RRRI unless the attorney for the state agrees to waive the eligibility requirement. Specifically, the RRRI program has the following eligibility requirements:
- The offender does not demonstrate a history of past or present violent behavior;
- The offender has not received a weapons enhancement sentence and has not been convicted of an offense involving a deadly weapon or an offense under Title 18 Chapter 61 (relating to firearms and other dangerous articles) or any equivalent offense;
- Has not been convicted or adjudicated delinquent for a personal injury crime (including any equivalent offense, attempt, or conspiracy) as defined under the Crime Victims Act of 1998; and
- Has not been convicted or adjudicated delinquent for violating any of the following:
- Open Lewdness;
- Sexual Abuse of Children;
- Unlawful Contact with Minor;
- Sexual Exploitation of Children;
- Internet Child Pornography;
- Certain drug offenses committed with firearms (PWID) resulting in mandatory 5 year sentence;
- Luring Child into Motor Vehicle;
- Institutional Sexual Assault;
- Indecent Assault;
- Promoting Prostitution;
- Certain portions of Title 18 Chapter 59 relating to obscene and other sexual materials and performances;
- Is not awaiting trial or sentencing for additional criminal charges if a conviction or sentence for the charges would render the offender ineligible; and
- Has not been convicted of certain provisions of the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act (relating to drug trafficking.
The Court will make a determination as to a defendant’s eligibility for RRRI eligibility at the sentencing phase. If the Defendant is eligible and the judge sentences an offender to an RRRI sentence, the Department of Corrections will assess his or her treatment needs and develop an individual treatment plan. If the offender completes their program and maintains a good conduct record while incarcerated they will be release earlier than their minimum sentence date.
The amount reduced from the minimum sentence is a percentage based upon the sentence length. Pursuant to the statute, “[t]he recidivism risk reduction incentive minimum shall be equal to three-fourths of the minimum sentence imposed when the minimum sentence is three years or less.” 45 Pa. Con. Stat. § 4505(c)(2). For example, if an RRRI offender receives a sentence of 2-4 years, successful completion of their RRRI program should result in the opportunity for parole after only 1.5 years. If the minimum sentence is greater than three years, the recidivism risk reduction incentive minimum shall be equal to five-sixths of the minimum sentence. 45 Pa. Con. Stat. § 4505(c)(2). For example, if an RRRI offender receives a sentence of 6-12 years, successful completion of their RRRI program should result in the opportunity for parole after 5 years.