To be considered for entry into ISP, an inmate must have been convicted of a non-violent offense and be sentenced to a state prison term. Those who have been convicted of a 1st degree crime, bribery, corrupt influence, murder, robbery, or any sexual offense are automatically denied from participating in ISP. Those who are not committed to a state prison, have pending charges, or have a mandatory parole ineligibility are also denied from participating in ISP. Those applicants with an aggravated assault conviction are not automatically denied. Each case is closely reviewed by the Regional Office and/or the Screening Board to determine the eligibility of the applicant. Most second degree offenses are eligible; however, the Prosecutor's Office is solicited for their opinion of the applicant. If the Prosecutor's Office objects to the applicant being released into ISP, a "window date" is set. A "window date" is a calculation in which the applicant must serve a minimum of six months and be within nine months of parole before they are released into ISP.
After receiving an application, there are four steps that must be completed before the applicant can be released into ISP.
The first step is completing an application consisting of personal and criminal history identification information. The application is kept simple so it can easily be understood by inmates with any educational level. At this stage, an inmate must identify a Community Sponsor and Network Team to act as his or her support system in the community.
NOTE: An applicant must serve a minimum of 60 days incarceration, before being seen by the Resentencing Panel.
Based on the potential living arrangement indicated on the application, the applicant is assigned to a region. Upon receipt of the application, the Regional Office will obtain a copy of the Judgment of Conviction and Pre Sentence Report. After a review, the Regional Office may send the application to the development stage or refer the case to the Screening Board for further review. The Screening Board may deny the case at this stage or recommend the case proceed to the development stage.
Once the case goes into the development stage, it is assigned to a regional investigator. The investigator interviews the applicant in prison or by video conferencing. During this interview, biographical data, information on the applicant's version of the current offense, his or her reasoning for wanting ISP, future plans/goals, and any potential problems is collected. The investigator also collects information on the applicant's planned living arrangements, community sponsors and /or network team members. All information gathered by the investigator is compiled into an Assessment Report.
Throughout the investigative process, input from the sentencing judge(s), prosecutor(s), victim(s), pre-sentencing report writer(s), previous probation/parole officer(s), and the Chief of Police of the applicant's potential town of residence are solicited. The Assessment Report and the responses received from those solicited are forwarded to the Screening Board.
The Screening Board, which is composed of an administrator from the Department of Corrections, an administrator from ISP and one community member, reviews the Assessment Report and any input from those involved with the offense. If deemed eligible, the applicant is interviewed by the Screening Board. During this interview, the applicant's sincerity and motivation is assessed. The Screening Board can either deny the applicant at this stage or recommend the applicant goes before the Re-sentencing Panel.
The Re-sentencing Panel, which consists of three judges, makes the final decision after taking everything into consideration. The applicant is either released for a 90-day trial period in the program or denied and sent back to prison.