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The Sentencing Reform Act of 1998 - Jenna's Law

The Sentencing Reform Act of 1998 - also known as Jenna's Law - was passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Governor George Pataki in August 1998.

The law establishes determinate sentences for first-time violent felony offenders and requires their incarceration for longer periods by mandating that they serve at least six-sevenths of their determinate sentences. By requiring that first-time violent felony offenders receive determinate sentences, the law eliminates discretionary release from prison. For class B, C and D violent felony offenses, the law increases the minimum sentence of imprisonment that a court can impose. To provide greater protection to the public, the law also specifies that all violent felony offenders must serve a period of post-release supervision and establishes guidelines for the administration of post-release supervision. The law also expands victim notification when persons convicted of violent felonies and other offenses are released, abscond or escape from prison, or are released to the supervision of the Division of Parole.

The law adds a new section to the Penal Law (§70.45) that establishes the terms of post-release supervision and the methods for calculating the terms of post-release supervision.

Sentencing Structure for First-time Violent Felony Offenders
Offense Grade Incarceration Period Supervision Period
Class B 5 to 25 2 1/2 to 5
Class C 3 1/2 to 15 2 1/2 to 5
Class D 2 to 7 1 1/2 to 3
Class E 1 1/2 to 4 1 1/2 to 3

The period of post-release supervision for all second-time violent felony offenders is five years.

The conditions of post-release supervision are established by the Parole Board similar to the Board's authority over parolees and offenders on conditional release.