Text: H.R.1181 — 102nd Congress (1991-1992)All Information (Except Text)

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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.