Legislature(2019 - 2020)SENATE FINANCE 532

05/03/2019 09:00 AM FINANCE

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled: TELECONFERENCED
+= SB 19 APPROP: CAPITAL BUDGET; SUPPLEMENTAL TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+= SB 34 PROBATION; PAROLE; SENTENCES; CREDITS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
SENATE BILL NO. 34                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     "An Act  relating to probation;  relating to  a program                                                                    
     allowing  probationers to  earn  credits for  complying                                                                    
     with  the conditions  of probation;  relating to  early                                                                    
     termination of probation;  relating to parole; relating                                                                    
     to  a program  allowing  parolees to  earn credits  for                                                                    
     complying with  the conditions  of parole;  relating to                                                                    
     early  termination of  parole; relating  to eligibility                                                                    
     for discretionary  parole; relating  to good  time; and                                                                    
     providing for an effective date."                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:50:51 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair von  Imhof stated that  the committee's  intent was                                                                    
to  hear an  overview of  the  bill. She  noted that  public                                                                    
testimony would be  taken on all crime bills at  the 1:30 pm                                                                    
meeting.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
JOHN  SKIDMORE, DIRECTOR,  CRIMINAL DIVISION,  DEPARTMENT OF                                                                    
LAW, addressed the bill. He  informed the committee that the                                                                    
bill  focused on  probation and  parole and  would highlight                                                                    
how balance was  returned to the criminal  justice system to                                                                    
ensure   that  the   sanctions   that   were  imposed   were                                                                    
appropriate. He said  that he would discuss  the ability for                                                                    
someone to  end their  probation early, as  well as  who was                                                                    
eligible  for discretionary  parole. He  relayed that  these                                                                    
issues  were important  because when  someone was  placed on                                                                    
parole the  courts had  already found  that that  person was                                                                    
guilty  of  a   crime,  these  were  the   efforts  to  keep                                                                    
individuals in compliance  with the law as  they returned to                                                                    
society. He spoke to the sections of the bill:                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Section 1 Eliminates language related to caps on                                                                         
     technical violations of probation under AS 12.55.110.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Section 2 Eliminates language related to caps on                                                                         
     technical violations of probation under AS 12.55.110.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Skidmore  stated  that  when   someone  was  placed  on                                                                    
probation the  court sets conditions on  them: dont  consume                                                                    
alcohol,  report  to  your  probation  officer,  dont   have                                                                    
contact with certain people,  maintain employment, and other                                                                    
conditions  set  in probation.  He  said  that when  someone                                                                    
violated  those   conditions,  they   needed  to   face  the                                                                    
consequences.  He   said  that   technical  caps   had  been                                                                    
implemented in order to limit  the amount of time that could                                                                    
be  imposed  as  a  penalty,  modeled  after  the  Probation                                                                    
Accountability with Certain  Enforcement (PACE) program that                                                                    
supported swift and certain sanctions.  He lamented that the                                                                    
caps  had not  worked  as hoped;  people  would be  released                                                                    
before hearings  occurred and then  go on to  commit further                                                                    
violations.  Without the  hearing, violations  that happened                                                                    
subsequent  to release  but prior  to a  hearing, would  not                                                                    
carry  proper weight  for accountability.  He lamented  that                                                                    
people were not being held accountable for their crimes.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:55:00 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Wielechowski asked  whether  the department  agreed                                                                    
that  had the  system worked  properly, it  would have  been                                                                    
retained.  He asked  whether  there  was a  way  to fix  the                                                                    
problem rather than abandon caps altogether.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Skidmore stated that the  program was resource intensive                                                                    
and  successful  only when  applied  to  a small  number  of                                                                    
people.  He  did  not  believe that  the  program  could  be                                                                    
resourced to the point where  it could work on the statewide                                                                    
level. He added that the  PACE program would still exist for                                                                    
certain offenses, selected by the courts, but would not be                                                                      
applied uniformly for all probationers across the state.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:56:38 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Skidmore addressed Section 3:                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Section  3  Makes  the recommendation  of  a  probation                                                                  
     officer for  early termination of  probation permissive                                                                    
     and at  the discretion  of the probation  officer. Also                                                                    
     eliminates the timeline for  when such a recommendation                                                                    
     must   be   made.   Maintains  requirement   that   the                                                                    
     probationer is  in compliance with their  conditions of                                                                    
     probation  and  has  completed   all  of  the  required                                                                    
     treatment programs.  Also maintains the  prohibition on                                                                    
     unclassified  felony,   sexual  felony,   and  domestic                                                                    
     violence  offenders from  being  recommended for  early                                                                    
     termination.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Skidmore claimed that recent criminal justice reform                                                                        
had taken discretion away from probation officers. He said                                                                      
that the bill would rectify the issue.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:58:11 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Skidmore spoke to Section 4 and Section 5:                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Section 4 Allows a person  to obtain a driver's license                                                                  
     if  they have  been convicted  of felony  driving while                                                                    
     under the influence and has  not also been convicted of                                                                    
     a  crime against  a  person, if  the  license has  been                                                                    
     revoked for 10 years and  in the preceding 10 years the                                                                    
     person  has not  been  convicted of  a driving  related                                                                    
     criminal offense or a felony.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                              
     Section 5 Allows a person  to obtain a driver's license                                                                  
     if  they  have  been  convicted of  felony  refusal  to                                                                    
     submit  to  a  chemical  test and  has  not  also  been                                                                    
     convicted of a  crime against a person,  if the license                                                                    
     has been revoked  for 10 years and in  the preceding 10                                                                    
     years the  person has not  been convicted of  a driving                                                                    
     related criminal offense or a felony.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Skidmore said that the sections would allow for a path                                                                      
for a person to get their driver license back. He noted                                                                         
that the administration supported the sections.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:59:20 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Skidmore discussed Sections 6 and 7:                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Section  6 Reduces  amount of  time that  a probationer                                                                  
     may  decrease  their  length   of  probation  for  good                                                                    
     behavior  to  1/3.  Also  requires  the  credit  to  be                                                                    
     awarded  up front  similar to  statutory good  time for                                                                    
     prisoners.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                              
     Section 7  Prohibits those convicted of  a sex offense,                                                                  
     unclassified  felony, felony  crime  against a  person,                                                                    
     and  domestic  violence  crime against  a  person  from                                                                    
     earning credit against their period of probation.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Skidmore  lamented that  under the  current law  the 1/1                                                                    
ratio was significant when combined  with other changes made                                                                    
to probation  by past reform efforts,  additionally, the way                                                                    
that the  earned compliance  credits were  currently written                                                                    
into  statute had  resulted in  significant litigation  that                                                                    
occurred in time accounting.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
10:01:14 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Skidmore addressed Section 8 of the bill:                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     Section  8  Amends duties  of  a  probation officer  to                                                                  
     require that a  probation officer consider recommending                                                                    
     early  termination of  probation.  Also eliminates  the                                                                    
     requirement  to  use  administrative  sanctions  before                                                                    
     filing a petition to revoke.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Skidmore said that the  section made clear under the law                                                                    
that  the  recommendation  from   a  probation  officer  was                                                                    
supported and authorized under the law.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
10:02:42 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator Wielechowski thought Section  8 seemed to be counter                                                                    
to  the   department's  philosophy.  He  thought   that  the                                                                    
elimination  of administrative  sanctions limited  responses                                                                    
to positive or negative behavior.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Skidmore   stated  that  the  issue   was  still  under                                                                    
discussion within the department.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Wielechowski  asked about the possibility  of giving                                                                    
probation  officers  the  ability to  impose  administrative                                                                    
sanctions without having to go to a judge.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Skidmore  did not think  there would be an  objection to                                                                    
give  parole and  probation officers  the ability  to impose                                                                    
administrative  sanctions. He  noted  that  the bill  simply                                                                    
removed  the requirement.  He  thought  that the  department                                                                    
could   support   probation   officers   using   their   own                                                                    
discretion.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
10:04:17 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  von  Imhof  let  the   committee  know  that  Jeff                                                                    
Edwards, Director  of the Parole  Board, would  be available                                                                    
for questions.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
10:04:30 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Skidmore discussed Sections 9 through 15:                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     Section  9 Requires  an  application for  discretionary                                                                  
     parole to  be submitted  to the  parole board  before a                                                                    
    person can be considered for discretionary parole.                                                                          
                                                                                                                              
     Section 10  Clarifies that a  person who  is ineligible                                                                  
     for a good  time deduction from their  sentence is also                                                                    
     ineligible  for discretionary  parole. Also,  prohibits                                                                    
     certain crimes from  being considered for discretionary                                                                    
     parole. These are the same  crimes that were ineligible                                                                    
    for discretionary parole prior to January 1, 2017:                                                                          
          .notdef Non-sex class A felonies (Robbery 1, Assault 1,                                                               
          Arson 1);                                                                                                             
          .notdef B felonies if the person had one or more prior                                                                
          felony convictions;                                                                                                   
          .notdef C felonies if the person had two or more prior                                                                
          felony convictions; and                                                                                               
          .notdef B and C sex felonies (Sexual Assault 2, Sexual                                                                
          Abuse of a Minor 2, Distribution of Child                                                                             
          Pornography).                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                              
     Section  11   Raises  the  amount  of   time  a  person                                                                  
     sentenced   for   an  unclassified   offense   (murder,                                                                    
     kidnapping) before they  are eligible for discretionary                                                                    
     parole from  one-third to one-half  of the  active term                                                                    
     of imprisonment  or the mandatory minimum  whichever is                                                                    
     greater. Also  requires persons  convicted of  B felony                                                                    
     level  drug  distribution  to  serve  one-half  of  the                                                                    
     active  term   of  imprisonment  before  they   can  be                                                                    
     considered for discretionary parole.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                              
     Section  12 Eliminates  a  presumption  of release  and                                                                  
     thereby  returns discretion  back to  the parole  board                                                                    
     when determining release on discretionary parole.                                                                          
                                                                                                                              
     Section 13  Allows the parole  board to make  a person,                                                                  
     who  does   not  meet  the   factors  in   section  10,                                                                    
     ineligible for  further consideration  of discretionary                                                                    
     parole  or to  have  the person  serve additional  time                                                                    
     before they  can be considered again  for discretionary                                                                    
     parole.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                              
     Section   14   Conforming    language   regarding   the                                                                  
     requirement that  a person fill out  an application for                                                                    
     discretionary parole.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                              
     Section   15    Outlines   application    process   for                                                                  
     discretionary  parole.  Ensures  that the  prisoner  is                                                                    
     furnished with a copy of the prepare report.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Skidmore   grouped  them   together  as   the  sections                                                                    
pertained to  discretionary parole. He stated  that criminal                                                                    
justice reform had affected  discretionary parole in several                                                                    
ways. First, the crimes that  were eligible to be considered                                                                    
for discretionary  parole were  expanded. When a  person was                                                                    
sentenced   by   the   courts,  there   was   mandatory   or                                                                    
discretionary   parole.   Discretionary   parole   was   not                                                                    
automatic  but at  the discretion  of the  parole board.  He                                                                    
referenced the movie "Shawshank  Redemption." He shared that                                                                    
mandatory parole  meant that a  person had been  released on                                                                    
parole because  they had behaved  while in custody.  He said                                                                    
that mandatory  parole was  used for  population management.                                                                    
He reiterated that here had  been restrictions on the people                                                                    
eligible  to  apply  for  discretionary  parole,  which  was                                                                    
expanded through criminal justice  reform. Secondly, the way                                                                    
in which the Parole  Board exercised discretion was altered;                                                                    
under criminal justice reform, when  an individual reached a                                                                    
certain  period of  incarceration,  and  application was  no                                                                    
longer    necessary,   and    parole   was    an   automatic                                                                    
consideration.  Thirdly, the  Parole Board  was directed  to                                                                    
presume  that  everyone  that  reached  a  certain  date  of                                                                    
incarceration should be released  unless there was clear and                                                                    
convincing evidence that they were a danger to society.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
10:08:01 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Skidmore  summarized that  all  these  issues would  be                                                                    
resolved by the legislation be  returning them to where they                                                                    
had been before the reform legislation.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
10:08:21 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Skidmore  noted that there  were additional  things that                                                                    
changed  in the  bill  in other  committees. He  highlighted                                                                    
Section  11,   which  discussed  discretionary   parole.  He                                                                    
pointed to  Section 7, which identified  certain crimes that                                                                    
had   different   parameters    for   discretionary   parole                                                                    
eligibility.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
10:09:21 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Stedman  had  some  concerns  with  the  issue  of                                                                    
discretionary  parole.   He  wondered   about  discretionary                                                                    
parole for people convicted of murder.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
JEFF EDWARDS,  EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR,  ALASKA BOARD  OF PAROLE,                                                                    
ANCHORAGE    (via   teleconference),    addressed   Co-Chair                                                                    
Stedman's  question. He  stated that  the change  meant that                                                                    
before  any  inmate  convicted of  a  classified  crime  was                                                                    
eligible to appear before the  board, they had to serve half                                                                    
of their prison term.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair   Stedman   asked   how   many   individuals   were                                                                    
incarcerated for the  crime of murder that  would be subject                                                                    
to  the change  proposed in  the  bill. He  asked how  often                                                                    
discretionary parole was granted to murderers.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Edwards  did not  have  the  information available.  He                                                                    
recalled  that individuals  convicted  of  murder, that  had                                                                    
been considered  for early release,  had been found  to have                                                                    
served at least half of their sentence.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
10:11:51 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stedman  maintained his  concern for  early release                                                                    
of murderers. He referenced a  notorious criminal that could                                                                    
have  been considered  a nice  guy.  He asked  how a  first-                                                                    
degree  murderer  could ever  be  qualified   good time   or                                                                    
mandatory parole.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Mr.   Edwards   thought    Mr.   Skidmore   had   accurately                                                                    
differentiate  between discretionary  and mandatory  parole.                                                                    
The average  murder in the first-degree  sentence was around                                                                    
80  years.  Under mandatory  release,  the  inmate would  be                                                                    
released  after serving  two-thirds of  the sentence;  under                                                                    
the current  law they could  be eligible after  serving only                                                                    
one-third,  the legislation  changed  that  to one-half.  He                                                                    
said  that  under  the statutory  good  time  clause,  every                                                                    
eligible inmate  shall receive good  time for  good behavior                                                                    
while in prison.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
10:13:55 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stedman  asked about  Second Degree  murder charges                                                                    
and  eligibility for  discretionary parole.  He asked  about                                                                    
the different charges for murder.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Skidmore  noted that  the  categories  for murder  were                                                                    
murder in  the first  degree, murder  in the  second degree,                                                                    
manslaughter, and criminally negligent homicide.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Stedman  asked  to concentrate  on  second  degree                                                                    
murder.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Edwards  replied that  concepts  were  the same.  Under                                                                    
Section  11  of  the  bill, the  required  time  served  was                                                                    
increased  to one-half  of time  served. He  noted that  the                                                                    
mandatory  parole  did  not  change   in  SB  34,  only  the                                                                    
eligibility to apple for discretionary  parole. He found the                                                                    
average sentence length for murder  in the second degree was                                                                    
40 years;  under current law,  the person would  be eligible                                                                    
for  mandated release  after serving  two-thirds of  the 40.                                                                    
The maximum sentence for murder  in the second degree was 99                                                                    
years.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
10:16:01 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stedman presumed that 40  years was the average for                                                                    
second  degree murder,  with  eligibility for  discretionary                                                                    
parole after 20  years, mandatory after 26  years, with good                                                                    
time.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Edwards replied in the affirmative.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Stedman thought  that releasing  a murderer  early                                                                    
for  good behavior  was  problematic,  particularly for  the                                                                    
families of  victims. He  thought that  tighter requirements                                                                    
for parole should be considered.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
10:17:37 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator Wielechowski was curious  about recidivism rates for                                                                    
those released  on parole.  He had  seen charts  that showed                                                                    
the age  at which  people committed  crimes. He  thought the                                                                    
age peaked in the 20s  and then decreased. He was interested                                                                    
in the cost of keeping elderly inmates in jail.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
10:18:57 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Micciche   asked  about  unclassified   crimes  and                                                                    
discretionary parole eligibility.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Skidmore  stated that  previous criminal  justice reform                                                                    
had expanded the categories of  those that were eligible for                                                                    
discretionary parole. He  said that the intent of  SB 34 was                                                                    
to revert to  what the law said prior to  SB 91. He stressed                                                                    
that   the  legislature   had  the   power  to   adjust  the                                                                    
eligibility crimes within the bill.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
10:20:53 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator Micciche  agreed with Co-Chair Stedman  that all the                                                                    
crimes  removed  from   discretionary  parole  were  serious                                                                    
crimes, which he thought seemed counter to logic.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
10:21:53 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator Hoffman followed up  on Co-Chair Stedman's concerns.                                                                    
He  asked where  the state  stood on  parole for  first- and                                                                    
second-degree murder.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Skidmore said he could provide the information later.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Senator Hoffman the requested the  information could help in                                                                    
comparing Alaska with other states.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair von Imhof thought it  was fair to give Mr. Skidmore                                                                    
and  the department  some time  to  gather information.  She                                                                    
wanted  to continue  moving the  bill forward.  She stressed                                                                    
that  significant  policy  change  needed  to  be  discussed                                                                    
within the next ten days.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
10:23:40 AM                                                                                                                   
Senator Wilson pondered  whether the state was  too tough on                                                                    
crime or not tough enough.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
10:23:51 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Wielechowski referenced  Section  9.  He had  heard                                                                    
that   40  percent   to  50   percent   of  prisoners   were                                                                    
beneficiaries of  the Alaska  Mental Health  Trust Authority                                                                    
(AMHTA).  He asked  whether eligible  people  could be  left                                                                    
sitting in  prison just because  they failed to fill  out an                                                                    
application.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Skidmore thought the question  was best addressed to the                                                                    
department.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Edwards  noted that  there would  be an  assigned parole                                                                    
officer   to   assist   inmates   in   the   completion   of                                                                    
applications. If  a prisoner  could not  fill out  their own                                                                    
application, their  assigned parole officer would  help them                                                                    
fill out the application.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
10:25:41 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair von Imhof understood that  parole was a contentious                                                                    
issue. She asked to return to  the topic at another time and                                                                    
continue discussion of the rest of the bill.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stedman  commented that  he would  like information                                                                    
on what  the federal penalties  were for some of  the topics                                                                    
discussed.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
10:26:55 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator Micciche considered toughness  on crime and wondered                                                                    
about what  state had the  worst results. He  referenced FBI                                                                    
data  that put  Alaska at  829 violent  crimes per  100,000,                                                                    
which was  7 times the lowest  state of Maine and  twice the                                                                    
national average.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
10:27:32 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair von  Imhof appreciated  the robust  discussion. She                                                                    
thought  Sections   9,  10,  and   11  called   for  further                                                                    
discussion in the future.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
10:27:47 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Skidmore addressed Section 16:                                                                                              
                                                                                                                              
     Section  16 Gives  a parole  officer the  discretion to                                                                  
     make  a  recommendation  to the  parole  board  that  a                                                                    
     person's  parole be  terminated. Maintains  requirement                                                                    
     that  the  probationer  is  in  compliance  with  their                                                                    
     conditions of  probation and has  completed all  of the                                                                    
     required   treatment  programs.   Also  maintains   the                                                                    
     prohibition on unclassified  felony, sexual felony, and                                                                    
     domestic violence offenders  from being recommended for                                                                    
     early termination.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Skidmore discussed Section 17:                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Section  17 Eliminates  language referencing  technical                                                                  
     violations of parole under AS 33.16.215.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Skidmore spoke to Section 18:                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Section 18 Allows  the parole board to  toll time while                                                                  
     the parolee is in violation  status. This is similar to                                                                    
     how probation works when a  probationer is in violation                                                                    
     status.  Under  this  provision, the  parolee's  parole                                                                    
     time  will  not  continue  to   run  while  the  parole                                                                    
     violation is under consideration by the parole board.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Skidmore highlighted Sections 19 and 20:                                                                                    
                                                                                                                              
     Section 19  Reduces amount of  time that a  parolee may                                                                  
     decrease their  length of parole  for good  behavior to                                                                    
     1/3. Also  requires the credit  to be awarded  up front                                                                    
     similar to statutory good time for prisoners.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Section 20 Prohibits those convicted  of a sex offense,                                                                  
     unclassified  felony, felony  crime  against a  person,                                                                    
     and  domestic  violence  crime against  a  person  from                                                                    
     earning credit against their period of parole.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
10:29:56 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Skidmore spoke to Section 21:                                                                                               
                                                                                                                              
     Section 21  Prohibits a person  from earning  good time                                                                  
     for time spent on electronic monitoring post-sentence.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
He  asserted  that  electronic monitoring  was  a  different                                                                    
scenario, and good  time was not needed in the  same way for                                                                    
people in    hard beds (in a facility) in order to                                                                              
incentivize good behavior.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Skidmore discussed Section 22:                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Section   22  Eliminates   the  requirement   that  the                                                                  
     Department  of  Corrections  submit  a  report  to  the                                                                    
     Alaska  Criminal   Justice  Commission   regarding  the                                                                    
     sanctions  imposed under  the administrative  sanctions                                                                    
     program which is repealed in this bill.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
10:31:14 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Skidmore addressed Section 23:                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Section 23 Repealer section.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
He stated that the section dealt with repealers in the                                                                          
bill. There were several repealers that dealt with                                                                              
technical caps and administrative sanctions.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Skidmore continued to Section 24:                                                                                           
                                                                                                                              
     Section 24  Requires the  Department of  Corrections to                                                                  
     develop  a  needs   assessment  of  all  rehabilitative                                                                    
     services  for  each institution,  including  education,                                                                    
     treatment,  vocational  education, secular  and  faith-                                                                    
     based,   and  pro-special   program  and   report  that                                                                    
     information to the legislature.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
He felt that rehabilitative services should be discussed in                                                                     
future policy concerning criminal reform.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
10:32:33 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator Bishop appreciated Mr. Skidmore's comments about                                                                        
Section 24. He relayed that he did not want to waste money.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
10:33:12 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Skidmore addressed Section 25 and Section 26:                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Section 25 Applicability.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                              
     Section 26  Effective date. This  bill takes  effect on                                                                  
     July 1, 2019.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
He  noted  that  any  adjustments  that  were  made  in  the                                                                    
legislation   would    not   apply   to    those   currently                                                                    
incarcerated.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
10:34:08 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Hoffman understood  the people  lost the  PFD after                                                                    
commission  of   certain  crimes.   He  wanted  a   list  of                                                                    
provisions   that  would   result   in  the   loss  of   PFD                                                                    
eligibility.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Skidmore  stated that individuals sentenced  to felonies                                                                    
lost eligibility for  the PFD. He believed that  it would be                                                                    
for every year that they were incarcerated.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Hoffman understood  that once  an individual  was a                                                                    
felon, they lost their dividend for life.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Skidmore agreed to provide the information.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
10:35:41 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Micciche  thought  that  changes  to  discretionary                                                                    
parole  would  affect  individuals  that  had  already  been                                                                    
sentenced.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Skidmore stated that in  the applicability section there                                                                    
were  five different  subsections  that  indicated that  the                                                                    
subsections  would apply  to sentences  imposed on  or after                                                                    
the effective date of the  sections. The crime itself had to                                                                    
be committed after the effective date of the bill.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
10:37:58 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair   Stedman    thought   the   bill   was    like   a                                                                    
constitutionally protected benefit  plan. He understood that                                                                    
sentences  would not  be changed  but  felt the  legislature                                                                    
would have no control  over adjusting parole classifications                                                                    
once an individual was sentenced.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Mr.   Skidmore   affirmed  that   ex   post   facto  was   a                                                                    
Constitutional provision; punishment  on an individual could                                                                    
not  be  increased. He  reiterated  that  the law  could  be                                                                    
guidance as to how discretion should be exercised.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
10:39:28 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Skidmore addressed  FN 1  from Department  of Law,  OMB                                                                    
Component 2202. The note was a zero-fiscal note.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
10:40:59 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair von Imhof noted that time was of the essence.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
10:42:15 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Wielechowski asked  about the  age distribution  of                                                                    
incarcerated  individuals  and  asked  about  recidivism  of                                                                    
those on parole.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Mr.   Edwards  thought   that   the   recidivism  rate   was                                                                    
approximately  20 percent.  He said  in 2018  there were  27                                                                    
inmates, between  61 and 80,  who were  discretionary parole                                                                    
candidates; 328 inmates were between 18 and 30.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
10:44:23 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Wielechowski asked  about  the  80 percent  success                                                                    
rate with recidivism.  He asked about the details  of the 20                                                                    
percent who recidivated.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Edwards  noted  that  most  violations  were  technical                                                                    
violations: alcohol use,  drug use, or failure  to report to                                                                    
a parole officer.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
10:45:11 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Bishop  asked  what  could   be  done  to  get  the                                                                    
recidivism rate to 10 percent.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
10:45:55 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Shower  expressed  confusion with  the  80  percent                                                                    
success  rate.  He asserted  that  the  recidivism rate  was                                                                    
higher. He was concerned that  he was not receiving accurate                                                                    
information concerning recidivism.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
10:47:50 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Edwards affirmed  that Senator  Shower  was correct  in                                                                    
that  recidivism rates  were currently  higher. He  revealed                                                                    
that he  had been  quoting for discretionary  parolees only.                                                                    
The  80 percent  was  not reflective  of  the global  inmate                                                                    
population.                                                                                                                     
Senator Shower appreciated the clarity.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
10:48:58 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator   Wielechowski  thought   this   was  an   important                                                                    
distinction, since  the bill contemplated changing  the time                                                                    
of  which a  prisoner  might be  eligible for  discretionary                                                                    
parole. He thought  that if there was an  80 percent success                                                                    
rate  under current  statute, with  20 percent  recidivating                                                                    
under  benign technical  violations, the  result was  fairly                                                                    
successful.  He  was  curious  to see  a  breakdown  of  the                                                                    
technical  violations  of  the  20  percent  recidivism  for                                                                    
discretionary  parole,  as  well   as  a  breakdown  in  the                                                                    
violations for recidivism for those under mandatory parole.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Edwards offered to find  Senator Wielechowski more data.                                                                    
He shared that the mandatory  release individuals had a much                                                                    
higher  recidivism rate.  He  reiterated  that those  people                                                                    
were  released under  mandate and  were  not interviewed  or                                                                    
vetted before being released.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
10:50:40 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator Micciche thought that  information on recidivism for                                                                    
those on discretionary parole should  be broken down by type                                                                    
of crime.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SB  34  was   HEARD  and  HELD  in   committee  for  further                                                                    
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  von  Imhof  thought   there  was  more  discussion                                                                    
needed. She reminded the committee  that amendments could be                                                                    
delivered  to   her  office.  She  reiterated   that  public                                                                    
testimony would be taken at the 1:30 pm meeting.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 19 Work Draft Version K.pdf SFIN 5/3/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 19
SB 19 SCS Bill Total Multi-Year Agency Summary - Copy.pdf SFIN 5/3/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 19
SB 19 Senate CS Sectional Analysis - K Version.docx SFIN 5/3/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 19