H.R.1181 - Incarcerated Veterans Rehabilitation and Readjustment Act of 1991102nd Congress (1991-1992)
|Sponsor:||Rep. Brown, George E., Jr. [D-CA-36] (Introduced 02/28/1991)|
|Committees:||House - Judiciary; Veterans' Affairs|
|Latest Action:||House - 04/16/1991 Referred to the Subcommittee on Intellectual Property and Judicial Administration. (All Actions)|
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Text: H.R.1181 — 102nd Congress (1991-1992)All Information (Except Text)
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Introduced in House
HR 1181 IH 102d CONGRESS 1st Session H. R. 1181 To improve the availability of veterans' benefits and services to veterans incarcerated in Federal penal or correctional institutions, and for other purposes. IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES February 28, 1991 Mr. BROWN (for himself, Mr. BONIOR, Mr. EVANS, Mr. RAVENEL, Mr. ABERCROMBIE, Mr. RANGEL, Mr. SERRANO, Ms. SLAUGHTER of New York, Mr. ACKERMAN, and Mr. KOPETSKI) introduced the following bill; which was referred jointly to the Committees on Veterans' Affairs and the Judiciary A BILL To improve the availability of veterans' benefits and services to veterans incarcerated in Federal penal or correctional institutions, and for other purposes. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. This Act may be referred to as the `Incarcerated Veterans Rehabilitation and Readjustment Act of 1991'. SEC. 2. FINDINGS. The Congress finds that-- (1) there are rehabilitation needs unique to incarcerated veterans which, because of their incarceration, need to be addressed; (2) the Readjustment Counseling Program of the Department of Veterans' Affairs could be an effective part of efforts to rehabilitate incarcerated veterans; (3) veterans' benefits that incarcerated veterans are entitled to are not being provided on a consistent basis; (4) the resources provided by the Readjustment Counseling Program could be beneficial to incarcerated veterans if the Program were utilized to assist veterans released from Federal, State, and local penal institutions; and (5) incarcerated veterans treated for psychological readjustment problems can be expected to have lower recidivism rates than such veterans who do not receive such treatment. SEC. 3. PURPOSES. The purposes of this Act are to-- (1) ensure that the rehabilitation and readjustment needs of incarcerated veterans that are related to military service are addressed in a coordinated manner by the Department of Veterans' Affairs and the Federal Bureau of Prisons; (2) provide mental health care professionals employed by Federal prisons with the information necessary to diagnose and treat incarcerated veterans with mental disabilities, particularly post-traumatic-stress disorder, stemming from their military service; (3) integrate the resources available from the Readjustment Counseling Program and veterans employment programs into the parole and probation programs of incarcerated veterans who are released from Federal prisons to promote successful readjustment of such veterans into society; (4) provide incarcerated veterans with information relating to veterans' benefits and services; (5) assist incarcerated veterans after their release from Federal prisons in readjusting to society after their incarceration; (6) provide veterans incarcerated in State and local penal institutions with benefits similar to those provided in this Act by encouraging States and local governments to adopt, where applicable, the provisions of this Act; and (7) ensure that veterans incarcerated in Federal prisons receive the benefits and services from the Department of Veterans' Affairs to which they are entitled. SEC. 4. DEFINITIONS. As used in this Act-- (1) the term `Assistant Secretary' means the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Veterans' Employment and Training; (2) the term `Department' means the Department of Veterans' Affairs; (3) the term `Federal prison' means a Federal penal or correctional institution; (4) the term `incarcerated veteran' means an individual determined to be a veteran under section 101(b) who is incarcerated in a Federal prison; (5) the term `prisoner' means an individual incarcerated in a Federal prison; (6) the term `Secretary' means the Secretary of the Department; (7) the term `vet center' means a facility as defined in section 612A(i)(1) of title 38, United States Code; and (8) the term `veteran' has the same meaning such term has in paragraph (2) of section 101 of title 38, United States Code. TITLE I--INCARCERATED VETERAN ASSESSMENT AND ASSISTANCE SEC. 101. DETERMINATION OF VETERAN STATUS OF PRISONERS. (a) Duties of the Attorney General- (1) IN GENERAL- The Attorney General shall, to the extent practicable, identify those individuals who may be veterans among those-- (A) entering Federal prisons after the effective date of this Act; and (B) who are incarcerated in Federal prisons on the effective date of this Act and who are to remain incarcerated more than 30 days after that date. (2) TRANSMITTAL OF NAMES- The Attorney General shall, with the consent of the prisoner involved, transmit to the Secretary the names and locations of those prisoners identified as possible veterans pursuant to paragraph (1). (3) METHODS OF IDENTIFICATION- In attempting to identify those prisoners who may be veterans, the Attorney General shall rely only on the records in the possession of the Attorney General, interviews with prisoners, or both. (b) Duties of Secretary- (1) DETERMINATION OF VETERAN STATUS- The Secretary shall contact those prisoners whose names were transmitted pursuant to subsection (a)(2) within 30 days after the receipt of their names. The Secretary shall inform each prisoner of their ability to have their veteran status determined. Those prisoners requesting such determination shall be supplied with the material needed by the Secretary to make the determination. (2) INFORMATION RELATING TO VETERANS' BENEFITS- As soon as practicable after determining the veteran status of each prisoner requesting such determination, the Secretary shall-- (A) inform the prisoners of the determination of their veteran status; (B) inform those prisoners who determined to be veterans of their rights and responsibilities with regard to veterans' benefits and services and provide them with the information described in section 102; and (C) if the incarcerated veteran so desires, provide the information described in section 102 to those family members designated by the incarcerated veteran. SEC. 102. INFORMATION REGARDING VETERANS' BENEFITS. The information referred to in sections 101(b)(2) (B) and (C) shall include-- (1) the effect of the incarcerated status of the veteran on the receipt of veterans' benefits and services; (2) the ability of dependents of the incarcerated veteran to receive benefits available to dependents of veterans during the period of incarceration of the veteran; (3) the ability to have debt collection actions pursued by the Department against the veteran suspended during the time period provided by section 103; (4) the availability of counseling services within the Federal prison, whether provided by the Department or the Bureau of Prisons; (5) the potential effect on parole considerations of the participation by the veteran in counseling activities; (6) the reasons for any reduction in, or termination of, veterans' benefits resulting from the incarcerated status of the veteran; (7) the ability of the veteran to seek a correction of the military records or a review of the discharge or dismissal from military service of the veteran; (8) services from public and private organizations available to the veteran while incarcerated; (9) the ability of the veteran and dependents of the veteran to appeal the decisions of the Secretary affecting the provision of veterans' benefits and services; and (10) other information the Secretary considers appropriate. SEC. 103. SUSPENSION OF DEBT COLLECTION. (a) FEDERAL INMATES- Within 30 days after the Secretary confirms, pursuant to section 101(b), that a prisoner is a veteran, the Secretary shall suspend debt collection activities of the Department against the incarcerated veteran, and the obligation of the veteran to pay for debts owed to the Department, for the duration of his or her incarceration and for a period not to exceed 6 months following his or her release from a Federal prison. (b) STATE AND LOCAL INMATES- The Secretary shall suspend debt collection activities of the Department against any veteran the Secretary knows is incarcerated in a State or local penal institution, and the obligation of that veteran to pay for debts owed to the Department, for the duration of his or her incarceration and for a period not to exceed 6 months following his or her release from such an institution. TITLE II--INCARCERATED VETERAN REHABILITATION COUNSELING SEC. 201. DUTIES OF THE SECRETARY. The Secretary, in consultation with the Attorney General, shall-- (1) provide readjustment counseling services to those incarcerated veterans suffering from mental and psychological disorders stemming from their military service; (2) take measures to ensure that incarcerated veterans have the same ability of being adjudicated as having service-connected disabilities as nonincarcerated veterans; (3) designate an employee in each of the regional offices of the Department to act as a liaison between each Federal prison and the Department to coordinate the provision of veterans' services and benefits for incarcerated veterans; (4) review the physical examinations forwarded by the Attorney General pursuant to paragraph (1)(A)(ii) of section 202 to determine whether the incarcerated veteran is eligible for the benefits provided by the Veterans' Dioxin and Radiation Exposure Compensation Standards Act (38 U.S.C. 354 note) or other relevant Federal laws; and (5) ensure that the employee designated pursuant to paragraph (3) provides liaison services between families of incarcerated veterans and Federal prisons. SEC. 202. DUTIES OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL. The Attorney General shall-- (1) with the consent of the incarcerated veteran-- (A) for the purpose of determining eligibility for benefits under the Veterans' Dioxin and Radiation Exposure Compensation Standards Act (38 U.S.C. 354 note) or other relevant Federal laws-- (i) conduct physical examinations on each incarcerated veteran consistent with the protocol utilized by the Department in conducting Agent Orange registry examinations; and (ii) transmit such examinations to the Secretary; and (B) as soon as a date has been set for the release of the incarcerated veteran from a Federal prison, transmit the name and location of that veteran to the Secretary; and (2) consistent with the security requirements of each Federal prison, encourage and facilitate the organization within Federal prisons of `self-help' groups and other such programs that may contribute to the rehabilitation of incarcerated veterans. TITLE III--READJUSTMENT COUNSELING EDUCATION SEC. 301. DEVELOPMENT OF TRAINING CURRICULUM. (a) DEVELOPMENT- The Secretary shall develop a training curriculum for use in assisting medical, psychiatric, psychological, and other relevant professionals employed by the Bureau of Prisons in acquiring the expertise necessary to diagnose and treat psychiatric disabilities peculiar to veterans. (b) AVAILABILITY OF CURRICULUM- The curriculum developed pursuant to subsection (a) may be made available to individuals, organizations, governmental agencies, and health facilities interested in the diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric disabilities peculiar to veterans. TITLE IV--POST-INCARCERATION READJUSTMENT SERVICES SEC. 401. DUTIES OF THE SECRETARY. (a) DUTIES OF THE SECRETARY- Upon receipt of the names transmitted to the Secretary pursuant to paragraph (1)(A)(ii) of section 202, the Secretary shall inform those veterans of the veterans' benefits and services available to them upon release. This information shall include-- (1) the effect of the release of the incarcerated veteran on the entitlement of the veteran to veterans' benefits and services, including those terminated or reduced at the time of the incarceration of the veteran; (2) the availability of readjustment counseling services under the Readjustment Counseling Program of the Department, including the location of the vet center nearest to where the incarcerated veteran intends to reside after release; (3) the availability of additional readjustment services from State, local, and private agencies and organizations in the community in which the incarcerated veteran intends to reside; and (4) the availability of veterans programs administered by the Department of Labor and the Small Business Administration. SEC. 402. DUTY OF THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY. The Assistant Secretary shall designate a disabled veterans' outreach program specialist in each State where a Federal prison is located to serve as a liaison between each Federal prison and the disabled veterans' outreach program in that State. SEC. 403. DUTIES OF THE CHAIRMAN OF THE UNITED STATES PAROLE COMMISSION. The Chairman of the United States Parole Commission, in consultation with the Secretary, shall-- (1) integrate, to the extent practicable, the services available from the Readjustment Counseling Program of the Department into the parole programs of veterans paroled from Federal prisons; and (2) require that parole officers employed by the Commission who have responsibility for paroled veterans establish and maintain contact with appropriate vet center personnel in order to ensure that paroled veterans who are eligible to use vet centers are encouraged to do so. TITLE V--STATE AND LOCAL OUTREACH ASSISTANCE SEC. 501. EXTENSION OF BENEFITS TO VETERANS INCARCERATED IN STATE AND LOCAL PENAL INSTITUTIONS. Within 6 months after the effective date of this Act, the Secretary and the Assistant Secretary shall implement a program to extend, to the extent practicable, the benefits of this Act to State and local penal institutions with respect to veterans incarcerated in such institutions. TITLE VI--MISCELLANEOUS SEC. 601. REPORT. The Attorney General, the Secretary, the Assistant Secretary, and the Chairman of the United States Parole Commission each shall submit to the Congress an annual report relating to their activities in implementing this Act. The first report shall be due on the January 1 occurring after the effective date of this Act and each January 1 thereafter. SEC. 602. MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING. Within 3 months after the effective date of this Act, the Secretary, the Attorney General, the Assistant Secretary, and the Chairman of the United States Parole Commission shall agree to and sign a memorandum of understanding detailing how the organizations and operations controlled by each shall interact to implement this Act. The Attorney General, or his designee, shall be responsible for convening and chairing meetings and initiating communications in order to reach the memorandum of understanding. SEC. 603. EFFECTIVE DATE. This Act shall be effective 3 months after the date of enactment of the Act.