Shorter sentences for parole violators?

Parole violators who are arrested again for misdemeanors such as public drunkenness, urinating in public or prostitution would be eligible for shorter prison sentences, under new rules from the Justice Department.

The Parole Commission, a branch of the Justice Department, said Wednesday it is considering new rules that would lessen the punishment for repeat offenders who fail to comply with the conditions of their parole but do not commit more serious crimes.

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These parole violators would be eligible for a sentence of no more than eight months if they waive their right to a hearing and accept immediately responsibility for their actions, the agency said in the Federal Register.

The program, known as Short-Term Intervention for Success (SIS), aims to lower the cost of incarnation to taxpayers while helping integrate non-violent criminals back into society, the agency said.

When the program was tested in Washington, D.C., the average parole violator received a sentence of just three and a half months, which was 69 percent less time spent in prison than parole violators who were not part of the program.

The number of parole violators in D.C. prisons dropped to 416 from 700 over the course of the study, the agency said.

"When the Short-Term Intervention for Success (SIS) pilot project started in the District of Columbia, its purpose was to determine whether shorter period of confinement could achieve swifter resolution of revocation matters at reduced costs to various criminal justice agencies without jeopardizing public safety," the agency wrote.

The public has 60 days to comment on the proposed rule, which would expand the program across the country.