(1) Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, a special needs offender, as defined in section 17-1-102(7.5)(a) , may be eligible for parole prior to or after the offender's parole eligibility date pursuant to this section if:
(a) The state board of parole determines, based on the special needs offender's condition and a medical evaluation, that he or she does not constitute a threat to public safety and is not likely to commit an offense; and
(b) The state board of parole approves a special needs parole plan that ensures appropriate supervision of and continuity of medical care for the special needs offender.
(2) This section shall apply to any inmate applying for parole on or after July 1, 2001, regardless of when the inmate was sentenced. The provisions of this section shall not affect the length of the parole period to which a special needs offender would otherwise be subject.
(3)(a) The department is responsible for identifying inmates who meet the eligibility criteria for special needs parole and shall submit a referral to the state board of parole for all eligible inmates.
(b) The referral shall include:
(I) A summary of the inmate's medical or physical condition and the risk of reoffense that the inmate poses to society. In rendering an opinion regarding the inmate's level of risk of reoffense, the department may consider such factors as the inmate's medical or physical condition, the severity of any disability or incapacitation, risk assessment scores, the nature and severity of the offense for which the inmate is currently incarcerated, the inmate's criminal history, institutional conduct, and other relevant factors.
(II) The details of a special needs parole plan recommended by the department;
(III) A recommendation to the parole board that an offender be released or not be released as a special needs offender pursuant to the provisions of subsection (1) of this section. Prior to making any recommendation pursuant to this subparagraph (III), the department shall establish objective criteria on which to base a recommendation for parole pursuant to the provisions of this section; and
(IV) A victim impact statement or response from the district attorney that prosecuted the offender, if received pursuant to paragraph (c) of this subsection (3).
(c)(I) The department shall provide notification to any victim, as required under section 24-4.1-302.5, C.R.S . A victim shall have thirty days after receiving notification to submit a victim impact statement to the department. The department shall include any victim impact statement in the referral to the state board of parole.
(II) At the same time that the department completes the notification required by subparagraph (I) of this paragraph (c), the department shall notify the district attorney that prosecuted the offender if the offender is serving a sentence for a conviction of a crime of violence as described in section 18-1.3-406, C.R.S ., or a sex offense as listed in section 16-22-102(9)(j) , (9)(k) , (9)(l) , (9)(n) , (9)(o) , (9)(p) , (9)(q) , (9)(r) , or (9)(s), C.R.S . A district attorney shall have thirty days after receiving notification to submit a response to the department. The department shall include any district attorney response in the referral to the state board of parole.
(4)(a) The state board of parole shall consider an inmate for special needs parole upon referral by the department.
(b) The state board of parole shall make a determination of the risk of reoffense that the inmate poses after considering such factors as the inmate's medical or physical condition, the severity of any disability or incapacitation, the inmate's risk assessment scores, the nature and severity of the offense for which the inmate is currently incarcerated, the inmate's criminal history, the inmate's institutional conduct, and other relevant factors.
(c) The state board of parole may schedule a hearing on the application for special needs parole with the inmate present, or the board may review the application and issue a decision without a hearing, pursuant to section 17-2-201(4)(f) .
(d) The state board of parole shall make a determination of whether to grant special needs parole within thirty days after receiving the referral from the department. The board may delay the decision in order to request that the department modify the special needs parole plan. If, prior to or during any parole hearing, the board or any member of the board has a substantial and good-faith reason to believe that the offender is incompetent to proceed, as defined in section 16-8.5-101(11) , the board shall suspend all proceedings and notify the trial court that imposed any active sentence, and the court shall determine the competency or incompetency of the defendant pursuant to section 16-8.5-103 . The court shall appoint counsel to represent the offender with respect to the determination of competency of the offender, but the presence of the offender is not required for any court proceedings unless good cause is shown.
(e) A denial of special needs parole by the state board of parole shall not affect an inmate's eligibility for any other form of parole or release under applicable law.
(4.5) If an offender is determined to be incompetent to proceed pursuant to subsection (4) of this section, the court may order the department to provide or arrange for the delivery of appropriate restoration services in any setting authorized by law, by an order of the court, or by any other action as provided by law. Nothing in this section requires the department of human services to take custody of an offender for restoration services. The department of human services is not responsible for conducting the competency evaluation. If the court determines that there is not a substantial probability of the offender being restored to competency, the department may refer the inmate for special needs parole with a special needs parole plan pursuant to the provisions of this section.
(5) The board may consider the application for special needs parole pursuant to the proceedings set forth in section 17-2-201(4)(f) or 17-2-201(9)(a) . If the department recommends to the state board of parole that an offender be released to parole as a special needs offender pursuant to the provisions of subsection (1) of this section, the board may deny parole only by a majority vote of the board and only if the board makes a finding that granting parole would create a threat to public safety and that the offender is likely to commit an offense.
(6) The department shall not have any responsibility for the payment of medical care for any offender upon his or her release.
(7) For any offender who is granted special needs parole pursuant to this section, the state board of parole shall set the length of the parole for an appropriate time period of at least six months but not exceeding thirty-six months. At any time during the offender's parole, the state board of parole may revise the duration of the parole. However, in no case may such an offender be required to serve a period of parole in excess of the period of parole to which he or she would otherwise be sentenced pursuant to section 18-1.3-401(1)(a)(V)(A) , or thirty-six months, whichever is less.
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