Greenleaf's Bills Signed into Law on Criminal Justice Reform,
Auto Theft Prevention, and Juvenile Justice
Today at a bill
signing ceremony in Harrisburg, Governor Tom Corbett signed into law three of
Senator Stewart J. Greenleaf's bills.
SB 100 is aimed at reforming sentencing
practices for non-violent offenders,
SB 86 will assist law enforcement in
prosecuting auto theft, and
SB 850 enacts juvenile justice reforms.
The Criminal Justice
Reform Act, SB 100, is aimed at enhancing Pennsylvania's Corrections system to
better treat non-violent offenders and reduce recidivism. The law enacts a
variety of evidence based practices that have been highly successful in other
states to improve public safety and save taxpayer money spent on prisons. The
Criminal Justice Reform Act is estimated to save $253 million over the first
said, "Pennsylvania's inmate population dramatically increased over the past few
decades as many non-violent offenders were sent to state prisons. We need hold
offenders accountable, but also ensure that former offenders have a chance for a
crime-free life. Rehabilitated non-violent offenders mean great costs savings
The law reforms the
state's probation and parole system to reduce recidivism and expand the use of
alternative sentencing for non-violent offenders. Among its many reforms, the
new law calls for a comprehensive community re-entry program that helps former
inmates make the best use of their skills in seeking employment. It also
authorizes county courts to create a program to enforce probation violations by
imposing "swift, predictable, immediate and measured sanctions." Low-level
offenders will be held accountable at the county level, reducing the state
"Because of high
costs, Corrections spending threatens many other areas of government and cannot
simply be cut, but requires policy changes to save money," said the Senator.
Today's signing of SB
100 was ceremonial in order to highlight the legislation as part of a package
that includes recently passed HB 135 which will reinvest savings from SB 100
into other criminal justice programs to reduce recidivism and assist local
police. HB 135 was essential to maximizing the cost savings potential of SB
SB 86 expands the
current Motor Vehicle Chop Shop Act to assist law enforcement to prosecute the
ever evolving crime of auto theft.
"The crime of auto
theft has become increasingly complex, and auto thieves have become more
organized," said Senator Greenleaf. "Pennsylvania's existing laws need to be
amended to help prosecutors charge someone with auto theft."
SB 86 expands the
Motor Vehicle Chop Shop Act to include "trailers" and "semitrailers" to help law
enforcement charging thieves who steal trailers.
Law enforcement has
found that the current law is vague when attempting to charge someone with the
crimes of profiting from stolen vehicle activity. SB 86 clarifies the offense of
dealing in proceeds of unlawful activity to specifically include stolen or
illicitly obtained property.
The current law fails
to establish any limits on time for police inspections of suspected "chop
shops". The bill allows for inspections during a shop's normal business hours or
any other time in which work is being done and also allows for the search of any
vehicles or parts that are subject to the record keeping requirements of the
The law will go into
effect in 60 days.
SB 850 makes important
reforms to Pennsylvania's juvenile justice system to help ensure that juvenile
offenders are treated fairly and that appropriate punishments are focused on
said, "SB 850 is the Legislature's final response to the Luzerne County 'Kids
for Cash' scandal. Particularly, ensuring the use of least restrictive
punishments for juveniles will help prevent judicial abuse in the future."
The bill specifies
that the least restrictive punishments should always be used in the sentencing
of juveniles. The law also ensures that juveniles charged with a summary
offense being tried before a magisterial district judge would receive the same
protections they would in juvenile court. The process of expunging juvenile
records will be streamlined.
The legislation was
amended in the House to comply with the recent U.S. Supreme Court Ruling that
mandatory sentencing of juveniles to life without parole is unconstitutional.