Legislature(2005 - 2006)BUTROVICH 205

03/14/2006 08:30 AM JUDICIARY

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08:40:35 AM Start
08:41:46 AM Presentation: Therapeutic Courts
10:23:05 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Joint w/(H) Judiciary
+ Presentation on Therapeutic Courts TELECONFERENCED
Scheduled But Not Heard
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
                         JOINT MEETING                                                                                        
              SENATE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
               HOUSE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         March 14, 2006                                                                                         
                           8:40 a.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
SENATE JUDICIARY                                                                                                                
 Senator Ralph Seekins, Chair                                                                                                   
 Senator Charlie Huggins, Vice Chair                                                                                            
 Senator Gene Therriault                                                                                                        
 Senator Hollis French                                                                                                          
 Senator Gretchen Guess                                                                                                         
HOUSE JUDICIARY                                                                                                                 
 Representative John Coghill                                                                                                    
 Representative Peggy Wilson                                                                                                    
 Representative Les Gara                                                                                                        
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
SENATE JUDICIARY                                                                                                                
 All members present                                                                                                            
HOUSE JUDICIARY                                                                                                                 
 Representative Lesil McGuire, Chair                                                                                            
 Representative Tom Anderson                                                                                                    
 Representative Pete Kott                                                                                                       
 Representative Max Gruenberg                                                                                                   
OTHER LEGISLATORS PRESENT                                                                                                     
 Representative Norman Rokeberg                                                                                                 
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
Presentation:  Therapeutic Courts                                                                                               
SENATE BILL NO. 222                                                                                                             
"An  Act  relating to  breaches  of  security involving  personal                                                               
information,  consumer report  security freezes,  consumer credit                                                               
monitoring,  credit  accuracy,   protection  of  social  security                                                               
numbers, disposal  of records, factual declarations  of innocence                                                               
after identity  theft, filing  police reports  regarding identity                                                               
theft,  and furnishing  consumer credit  header information;  and                                                               
amending Rule 60, Alaska Rules of Civil Procedure."                                                                             
     SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                                                                    
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
None to report                                                                                                                  
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
Janet McCabe, Chair                                                                                                             
Partners for Progress                                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT:  Made the introductions to the committee                                                                  
Helen Harberts, Special Assistant District Attorney                                                                             
Butte County, California                                                                                                        
POSITION STATEMENT:   Presented an overview  regarding success of                                                             
therapeutic courts                                                                                                              
Carson Fox, Prosecuting Attorney                                                                                                
South Carolina                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:   Presented an overview  regarding success of                                                             
therapeutic courts                                                                                                              
Robyn Johnson                                                                                                                   
Therapeutic Courts                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT:  Added comments to the overview                                                                           
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
CHAIR RALPH  SEEKINS called the  joint meeting of the  Senate and                                                             
House  Judiciary  Standing Committees  to  order  at 8:40:35  AM.                                                             
Present were  Senators Hollis French,  Charlie Huggins,  and Gene                                                               
Therriault. Also  present were Representatives Peggy  Wilson, Les                                                               
Gara, and Co-Chair John Coghill.                                                                                                
^Presentation: Therapeutic Courts                                                                                               
                Presentation: Therapeutic Courts                                                                            
8:41:46 AM                                                                                                                    
JANET MCCABE,  Chair of Partners for  Progress introduced herself                                                               
and advised the  committee that the two guests came  to Juneau to                                                               
provide    training   for    the   Juneau    Therapeutic   Court.                                                               
Representative  Rokeburg   recently  introduced  HB   441,  which                                                               
establishes   a  comprehensive   and  consistent   structure  for                                                               
Alaska's therapeutic  courts to deal with  repeat substance abuse                                                               
offenders. Alaska  has twice  the number of  DUI deaths  than any                                                               
other  state, she  contended. She  introduced Helen  Harberts and                                                               
Carson Fox.                                                                                                                     
8:44:30 AM                                                                                                                    
Rep David Guttenberg joined the meeting.                                                                                        
HELEN  HARBERTS,  Special   Assistant  District  Attorney,  Butte                                                               
County, California  introduced herself.  She said  she is  from a                                                               
conservative  no-nonsense law  enforcement-based culture.  In her                                                               
community the  predominant drug of choice  is methamphetamine and                                                               
also  houses   the  California  State  University   at  Chico,  a                                                               
nationally  recognized  "party  school."   Out  of  that  dubious                                                               
distinction,  the  county  has   an  enormous  alcohol  and  drug                                                               
8:46:44 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. HARBERTS  recognized that Alaska has  done extraordinary work                                                               
in the DUI  court field. The therapeutic program  in Butte County                                                               
was the first  to successfully treat high-end  DUI offenders with                                                               
Nalprexone and Alaska is now doing  the same. She said she refers                                                               
to Alaska  as a model community  that has figured out  what works                                                               
and has incorporated that treatment.                                                                                            
8:48:04 AM                                                                                                                    
Nationally drug courts have been  studied inside and out. Studies                                                               
prove  that  the  therapeutic  court   model  works  and  reduces                                                               
recidivism  rates.  There  are  two  kinds  of  people  that  the                                                               
criminal  justice  system  deals with;  addicts  whose  addiction                                                               
drives them  to criminal behavior,  and criminals who may  or may                                                               
not use drugs. The criminals  have to be watched differently than                                                               
the addicts.  People who are  addicted go through the  drug court                                                               
model and usually come out  tax-paying citizens and usually don't                                                               
come back.  Drug courts stop  the recidivism  rate and that  is a                                                               
nationally recognized trend.                                                                                                    
8:50:24 AM                                                                                                                    
Drug  courts are  smart on  crime, extremely  effective with  the                                                               
addicted  population,  amazingly  cost-effective, and  they  save                                                               
prison space  for those who  really need  to spend their  life in                                                               
prison. Alaska  is starting  to see the  "dreaded drug"  known as                                                               
methamphetamine.  Among meth  addicts,  the only  thing known  to                                                               
work is the drug court model. Nothing else has worked.                                                                          
8:52:23 AM                                                                                                                    
The drug court model is  perfect for Alaska DUI courts. High-end,                                                               
repeat  felony  offenders,  left  untreated come  back  time  and                                                               
again.  Meantime they  kill  people on  the  highways and  create                                                               
havoc in the communities. A  therapeutic court saves money, time,                                                               
and lives.  It reduces recidivism rates,  fetal alcohol syndrome,                                                               
drug-involved children, and reduces impact on dependency courts.                                                                
8:54:10 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  HARBERTS  said the  program  is  "the greatest  thing  since                                                               
sliced bread and  mashed potatoes." Her primary  mission has been                                                               
to pursue public safety by the  most effective means and that now                                                               
means using therapeutic courts because  they work. Her county has                                                               
seen a  drop from a  70 percent recidivism  rate to less  than 20                                                               
percent since incorporation of the model.                                                                                       
8:55:34 AM                                                                                                                    
Senator Gretchen Guess joined the meeting.                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  LES GARA  asked Ms.  Harberts whether  Nalprexone                                                               
worked on meth addicts.                                                                                                         
MS.  HARBERTS responded  no.  She said  Nalprexone  is an  opiate                                                               
antagonist.  It  works  extremely  well  with  alcohol  and  with                                                               
opiates.  It  works  well with  Vicodin,  OxyContin,  and  heroin                                                               
addicts. At this point there  is nothing known that helps relieve                                                               
meth addiction.                                                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE GARA  said he  received a call  from a  person who                                                               
could  not  get  into  an alcohol  treatment  program.  He  asked                                                               
whether Naltrexone could be used without the treatment program.                                                                 
MS. HARBERTS  said Naltrexone helps  people with cravings  and it                                                               
allows them  to focus on  treatment. The  goal of the  drug court                                                               
and  Naltrexone is  to allow  people  to get  into treatment  and                                                               
stick with it. The real work  that is done is done with cognitive                                                               
behavioral therapies inside treatment  and treatment must be done                                                               
for the duration of one year.                                                                                                   
8:57:44 AM                                                                                                                    
Representative Norman Rokeburg joined the committee.                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE JOHN COGHILL commented  that since Alaska is still                                                               
in the pilot  program phase they struggle with  choosing who gets                                                               
to try  the drug court. He  asked Ms. Harberts how  she has dealt                                                               
with  the  issue  of  deciding  whether to  go  full  scale  with                                                               
therapeutic courts.                                                                                                             
MS. HARBERTS said she did two  things. She wrote the protocol and                                                               
then  became  the chief  probation  officer  and implemented  the                                                               
entire problem-solving  court system. She  also kept her  feet in                                                               
the general fund because grants  and pilot funding does not last.                                                               
She worked  very hard to develop  a core budget based  in general                                                               
fund. She is  an absolute advocate for  mainstreaming and general                                                               
fund basing of  this type of program because she  ran the numbers                                                               
every year  and found that  her recidivism rate was  14.9 percent                                                               
down  from  70  percent.  She  said she  realized  if  she  could                                                               
incorporate the program entirely  the department's caseload would                                                               
drop by half  in five years. Drug court was  the salvation of her                                                               
department, she stated.                                                                                                         
9:01:36 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE PEGGY  WILSON asked  Ms. Harberts whether  she had                                                               
to hire  new people  or whether she  simply trained  her existing                                                               
staff to work differently.                                                                                                      
MS.  HARBERTS  said  both.  The  drug  court  model  is  counter-                                                               
intuitive  and makes  no sense.  Everything is  backwards and  it                                                               
takes a  lot of training,  for instance, prosecutors do  not talk                                                               
much in court. The outcome is  that it works. As the program grew                                                               
she hired new people but to  begin with she chose people who were                                                               
the most capable of learning something that was counter-                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  asked Ms. Harberts whether  she thought it                                                               
was possible  to ramp up  the courts without an  initial monetary                                                               
MS. HARBERTS said the cost  would be in supervision resources and                                                               
treatment resources  with some account for  court time. Otherwise                                                               
it is a  front-loaded program but the offset on  the other end is                                                               
huge and keeps people out of jail.                                                                                              
9:06:02 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL  said  he  watched  a  therapeutic  court                                                               
graduation  and  it was  an  intensive  personal interaction.  He                                                               
asked her to give an example  of how they determine that a person                                                               
is  not  a  criminal  but   an  addict  that  possesses  criminal                                                               
MS.   HARBERTS  informed   the   committee   of  the   assessment                                                               
instruments  such  as  the  "LSIR."   It  is  an  objective-based                                                               
assessment  that  allows  the  department  to  identify  who  the                                                               
criminals  are. A  district attorney  can also  pull out  the rap                                                               
sheet and  look to  see where  the predominant  criminal activity                                                               
has been. It is easy to  identify the addict when the predominant                                                               
criminal  activity  is  basic  theft,  basic  driving  and  basic                                                               
possession  types of  crime. Rap  sheets that  are littered  with                                                               
crimes against people  and property denote a criminal  that has a                                                               
drug problem. There  are, of course, other  technologies that one                                                               
can use to determine whether or not a person is a psychopath.                                                                   
9:09:37 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR FRENCH asked the reason  her county has more people under                                                               
felony supervision and not in the "wellness court."                                                                             
MS.  HARBERTS said  two  things.  One of  them  is that  wellness                                                               
courts  go against  the existing  criminal justice  paradigm. The                                                               
other is  that Butte County  has prepared filings  for bankruptcy                                                               
on three  occasions and she  is constantly fighting  for funding.                                                               
On the  other hand, she  said, there are  850 people that  she is                                                               
supervising in her courts now, so changes have been made.                                                                       
9:11:54 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR FRENCH  asked the  number of years  that her  program has                                                               
been in effect.                                                                                                                 
MS. HARBERTS responded she started the first program in 1995.                                                                   
SENATOR  FRENCH  said with  a  decade  of experience,  she  could                                                               
probably demonstrate  the enormous savings  to the county  in way                                                               
of prison beds and corrections officers.                                                                                        
MS. HARBERTS  agreed and  advised that people  thank her  for her                                                               
contributions but do little else.                                                                                               
9:13:37 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON  asked  Ms.   Harberts  whether  there  is                                                               
anything that works with meth.                                                                                                  
MS. HARBERTS said  she has never seen anything  that works except                                                               
the drug  court model because  it harms  the brain in  a distinct                                                               
way.  Meth  addicts  are  arrested  more  frequently  than  other                                                               
addicts and  treatment takes longer  than other  addictions. Meth                                                               
addicts experience  short-term memory deficits and  experience up                                                               
to a year of active auditory and visual hallucinations.                                                                         
9:16:26 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL  asked  what  changes  she  has  seen  in                                                               
treatment models.                                                                                                               
MS. HARBERTS  said one of the  best things she has  seen come out                                                               
of  the  drug court  model  is  an insistence  on  research-based                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL  asked  about  including  judges  in  the                                                               
vision process.                                                                                                                 
MS.  HARBERTS  responded,  "Traditionally the  judiciary  is  the                                                               
slowest moving and most conservative  branch of government and is                                                               
the bellwether  against widening swings." Our  form of government                                                               
works  very well  but  doesn't  work in  drug  courts, she  said.                                                               
People have to  keep talking to the judges and  give them a break                                                               
because  some  judges  are  rated  on  how  fast  they  can  move                                                               
caseloads and drug courts are not churning out numbers.                                                                         
9:21:53 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBURG asked  Ms. Harberts  for recommendations                                                               
in dealing with cultural conflicts.                                                                                             
MS.  HARBERTS said  be nice.  It  is still  the same  fundamental                                                               
business but  prosecutors and  corrections now  have jurisdiction                                                               
to "pay attention to monsters."                                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBURG  asked the  technology used to  deal with                                                               
the criminals and addicts.                                                                                                      
MS. HARBERTS  said they  use the  "SCRAM" in  DUI courts  but GPS                                                               
technologies do not  work in her county. There  is new technology                                                               
that measures metabolites  in urine and detects  alcohol use back                                                               
three days but it is not currently affordable to her budget.                                                                    
9:27:13 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS thanked Ms. Harberts for her time.                                                                                
9:29:51 AM                                                                                                                    
CARSON FOX,  South Carolina Attorney, advised  the committee that                                                               
he comes today  to testify on drug courts because  they work. His                                                               
area had  a big problem with  crack cocaine. They found  the drug                                                               
court model and he was tasked with putting it together.                                                                         
The first program  started in 1989 in Miami,  Florida because the                                                               
problem with cocaine was so significant  that they gave a judge a                                                               
sabbatical to  research how to  better deal with the  problem. He                                                               
found that  monitoring people closely  and giving  them intensive                                                               
treatment.  Today there  are almost  2,000 courts  and they  also                                                               
have them in South America.                                                                                                     
9:32:23 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  COX  said when  he  started  working  with drug  courts  the                                                               
recidivism rate  for multiple offenders  was over 50  percent and                                                               
is now below 20 percent. The  numbers are so well proven that the                                                               
New York system now requires every  district to have at least one                                                               
drug  court  and  they  save  over $1  billion  dollars  a  year.                                                               
Multnomah County  in Portland, Oregon  determined that  for every                                                               
dollar they spend on drug court programs they save $10 dollars.                                                                 
9:36:45 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  COX advised  the committee  that he  and Ms.  Harberts spent                                                               
time  training people  in the  local wellness  court in  behavior                                                               
modification and ethics. He offered to answer questions.                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL asked  Mr. Cox  the number  of times  the                                                               
state has to come down on the people who fail the drug court.                                                                   
MR. FOX said  it depends on the individual. A  recent study shows                                                               
that intervention  by the  judge works  because it  gets people's                                                               
attention. Using intervention as quickly  as possible is a way to                                                               
make the model work better.                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL asked him to  talk about the tipping point                                                               
before they have to send people to jail.                                                                                        
9:40:12 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  FOX indicated  it was  an individualistic  meter. There  are                                                               
some programs that will designate  certain things that get people                                                               
kicked  out instantly.  Nationally 70  percent of  people succeed                                                               
through the courts.                                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL asked  Mr. Cox  to address  the issue  of                                                               
people who have mental health issues and use drugs.                                                                             
MR.  FOX advised  that  judges  refer those  people  over to  the                                                               
Mental Health Board.                                                                                                            
9:44:53 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked  Mr. Fox his opinion  of granting a                                                               
limited driver's license  in certain circumstances as  a means of                                                               
positive reinforcement.                                                                                                         
MR.  FOX said  due  to Alaska's  large area  with  no or  limited                                                               
public transportation;  it could  become a  jurisdictional issue.                                                               
He agreed  that at times it  is necessary in order  to keep rural                                                               
people in the program.                                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG  asked  how other  jurisdictions  handle                                                               
multiple offender  clients in terms  of coordination  between the                                                               
MR.  FOX advised  it  depends on  the  jurisdiction. Some  states                                                               
probation falls  under the  judiciary and  other states  it falls                                                               
under  the  executive  branch  so  it  takes  a  coordination  of                                                               
services. The  key components are  training and  coordination. He                                                               
has  seen  judges cooperate  between  courts  and coordinate  the                                                               
transfer of the person.                                                                                                         
9:49:49 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG asked  Mr. Fox  the distinction  between                                                               
the  DUI court  and  the drug  court in  the  types of  treatment                                                               
MR.  FOX advised  it is  a  different population.  Alcohol is  an                                                               
insidious  drug  but treatment  is  different.  For example,  the                                                               
testing  for alcohol  is very  different than  testing for  other                                                               
drugs.  From a  prosecutor's point  of view,  drugs like  meth do                                                               
damage to  the brain in  six months what alcohol  generally takes                                                               
20 years to do.                                                                                                                 
9:53:49 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGGINS  noted that the  veteran's court in  Anchorage is                                                               
based on  the drug court  model. He  asked whether there  are any                                                               
indicating  demographics  or  traits  established  in  the  court                                                               
MR.  FOX responded  drug  courts  started out  as  a grass  roots                                                               
program and  the local population  will differ  from jurisdiction                                                               
to jurisdiction.                                                                                                                
SENATOR HUGGINS  asked him  to describe  the role  that marijuana                                                               
plays in the drug courts.                                                                                                       
MR. FOX stated  that marijuana is far more potent  than it was in                                                               
the  past  and   is  virtually  a  different   drug.  People  are                                                               
overdosing and becoming addicted.                                                                                               
10:00:56 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR  HUGGINS asked  Mr. Fox  his thoughts  on the  difference                                                               
between addicts and criminals.                                                                                                  
MR. FOX replied the issue  was individualistic and one difference                                                               
is  that addicts  become  criminals to  support  their habit  and                                                               
without   the  addiction   wouldn't  normally   display  criminal                                                               
10:03:42 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR HUGGINS asked him to comment on early intervention.                                                                     
MR.  FOX responded  addiction doesn't  know an  age. When  people                                                               
start  using   drugs  the   brain  stops   developing.  Treatment                                                               
professionals  work  with  people who  are  developmentally  much                                                               
younger than their  age. The approach is  to apply accountability                                                               
no matter what the age is.                                                                                                      
10:07:15 AM                                                                                                                   
MS. HARBERTS added juveniles are  not little adults and the brain                                                               
development  is  unique. Adolescent  criminals  do  not have  the                                                               
capability of handling compound, complex tasks.                                                                                 
10:10:38 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR HUGGINS  asked her to  comment on Fetal  Alcohol Syndrome                                                               
MS. HARBERTS  said there  is a huge  correlation between  FAS and                                                               
alcohol and drug addictions. The  same is true with children born                                                               
inside  homes  where adults  use  meth.  There are  developmental                                                               
issues  and  some  are  treatable and  some  are  not.  Addiction                                                               
treatment experts  will advise  that early  intervention prevents                                                               
10:13:33 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR SEEKINS  said 85 percent  of Alaska prisoners  are indigent                                                               
drunks and many people don't want to change.                                                                                    
MS.  HARBERTS  said  the  higher end  people  would  decline  the                                                               
invitation  to treatment.  It  is a  myth that  a  person has  to                                                               
bottom out before they would accept help.                                                                                       
MR. FOX added that a 33-year  study concluded the longer a person                                                               
is  in treatment,  the  better  they do.  There  generally is  no                                                               
impact when treatment lasts less than 90 days.                                                                                  
10:18:28 AM                                                                                                                   
ROBYN   JOHNSON,   Therapeutic    Courts   Program   Coordinator,                                                               
introduced herself and offered to answer questions.                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked Ms. Johnson  for an overview of the                                                               
Alaska Therapeutic Court system.                                                                                                
MS.  JOHNSON informed  the committee  there  are three  different                                                               
courts. The mental health court in  Anchorage is one of the first                                                               
in the country and is going very  well and a second one was added                                                               
in Palmer last  year. The first two addiction  courts were opened                                                               
as a result  of HB 179 and  were a felony DUI  court in Anchorage                                                               
and  Bethel.  A misdemeanor  wellness  court  was established  in                                                               
Anchorage and has expanded to incorporate state offenders.                                                                      
In the past two years they  have received funding from the Alaska                                                               
Office  of Highway  Safety and  the Department  of Transportation                                                               
10:21:12 AM                                                                                                                   
MS. JOHNSON added  they are adding a wellness  court in Fairbanks                                                               
and that Anchorage also has  a non-criminal family care court for                                                               
those at risk  of losing parental rights. In  Anchorage they have                                                               
a felony drug court and a felony DUI court as well.                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG  noted that  he has  preliminary approval                                                               
for $900,000 from the DOT as a result of the "seatbelt bill."                                                                   
10:22:37 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR SEEKINS thanked everyone for the presentation.                                                                            
There being  no further  business to  come before  the committee,                                                               
Chair Seekins adjourned the meeting at 10:23:05 AM.                                                                           

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