Legislature(2011 - 2012)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

02/09/2011 01:30 PM JUDICIARY


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01:34:28 PM Start
01:35:38 PM SB62
01:38:23 PM Mental Health Trust Authority
01:41:51 PM Court System Prisoner Reentry Programs
02:02:01 PM Department of Corrections Reentry Programs
02:39:13 PM Bridge Home Project
03:01:06 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Reducing the Cost of Crime: TELECONFERENCED
Therapeutic Courts, Doug Wooliver, Court System
Prisoner Reentry Programs
Carmen Gutierrez, Department of Corrections
Bridge Home Program
Jeff Jessee, Mental Health Trust Authority
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
= SB 62 CIVIL LEGAL SERVICES FUND
Moved SB 62 Out of Committee
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              SENATE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                        February 9, 2011                                                                                        
                           1:34 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Hollis French, Chair                                                                                                    
Senator Bill Wielechowski, Vice Chair                                                                                           
Senator Joe Paskvan                                                                                                             
Senator Lesil McGuire                                                                                                           
Senator John Coghill                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 62                                                                                                              
"An Act allowing appropriations to the civil legal services fund                                                                
from court filing fees."                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED SB 62 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COURT SYSTEM PRISONER REENTRY PROGRAM                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRIDGE HOME PROGRAM                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MENTAL HEALTH TRUST AUTHORITY                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB  62                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: CIVIL LEGAL SERVICES FUND                                                                                          
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) MCGUIRE                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
01/24/11       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/24/11       (S)       JUD, FIN                                                                                               
02/07/11       (S)       JUD AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
02/07/11       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/07/11       (S)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
02/09/11       (S)       JUD AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
JEFF JESSEE, Chief Executive Officer                                                                                            
Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority                                                                                            
Department of Revenue                                                                                                           
Anchorage, AK                                                                                                                   
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Discussed rehabilitation  and  recidivism                                                             
from  the   perspective  of  the   Alaska  Mental   Health  Trust                                                               
Authority.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
DOUG WOOLIVER, Administrative Attorney                                                                                          
Alaska Court System                                                                                                             
Anchorage, AK                                                                                                                   
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Delivered an  overview of  the therapeutic                                                             
courts in Alaska.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CARMEN GUTIERREZ, Deputy Commissioner                                                                                           
Department of Corrections                                                                                                       
Anchorage, AK                                                                                                                   
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Presented   information  on  reentry  and                                                             
reducing recidivism.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
STACY TONER, Deputy Director                                                                                                    
Division of Behavioral Health                                                                                                   
Department of Health and Social Services                                                                                        
Juneau, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:   Delivered  an overview  of the  Bridge Home                                                             
Project.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:34:28 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  HOLLIS   FRENCH  called  the  Senate   Judiciary  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting  to order at 1:34  p.m. Present at the  call to                                                               
order were  Senators McGuire, Paskvan, Wielechowski,  Coghill and                                                               
French.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
                SB  62-CIVIL LEGAL SERVICES FUND                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
1:35:38 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR FRENCH announced  the consideration of SB 62.  It was heard                                                               
previously.  He noted  that  there was  some  concern about  this                                                               
being a dedicated  fund, but it clearly is  not dedicated. Recent                                                               
letters  of   support  were  from   the  Governor's   Council  on                                                               
Disabilities and  Special Education and the  Alaska Mental Health                                                               
Board Advisory Board  on Alcoholism and Drug  Abuse. He solicited                                                               
a motion.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:36:16 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  MCGUIRE  moved  to  report SB  62  from  committee  with                                                               
individual recommendations and attached fiscal note(s).                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  COGHILL objected  to  state that  while  he agrees  that                                                               
there's a  compelling reason  to fund  Alaska Legal  Services, he                                                               
isn't sure  it's sufficiently  compelling to  put in  statute. "I                                                               
wanted to put  it on the record that I  feel that there's further                                                               
conversation  on   this,"  he  stated,   and  then   removed  his                                                               
objection.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  FRENCH announced  that without  further  objection, SB  62                                                               
moved from the Senate Judiciary Standing Committee.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
At ease from 1:37 p.m. to 1:38 p.m.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
                 ^Mental Health Trust Authority                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:38:23 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR   FRENCH   announced   the  committee   would   next   hear                                                               
presentations on  the general  theme of  rehabilitation programs,                                                               
starting with opening remarks from Jeff Jessee.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:38:53 PM                                                                                                                    
JEFF JESSEE, Chief Executive Officer,  Alaska Mental Health Trust                                                               
Authority (AMHT), informed the committee  that for many years the                                                               
Alaska prison population  consistently tracked prison populations                                                               
in other states. However, by 2009  many states had taken steps to                                                               
stem the  unsustainable growth in  their prison  populations, and                                                               
for the first  time in 38 years the overall  prison population in                                                               
the U. S.  declined. Alaska was not among these  states. While 26                                                               
states  saw a  decline,  Alaska  was one  of  8  states with  the                                                               
highest continued increase in its prison population.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR.  JESSEE  said  he  applauds   the  committee's  foresight  in                                                               
arranging  this  hearing  because   the  states  that  have  been                                                               
successful in containing their prison  populations did so through                                                               
a multi-agency approach.  To that end, the  committee today would                                                               
hear  from  the Court  System  about  its successful  therapeutic                                                               
court programs;  the Department of Corrections  regarding reentry                                                               
programs;  and  the  Division   of  Behavioral  Health  regarding                                                               
supportive programs and housing  projects that help people coming                                                               
from corrections to successfully reenter the community.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
He noted  that both the state  of Washington and Texas  have used                                                               
these   strategies   to   successfully   control   their   prison                                                               
populations.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
            ^Court System Prisoner Reentry Programs                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:41:51 PM                                                                                                                    
DOUG  WOOLIVER,  Administrative  Attorney, Alaska  Court  System,                                                               
said he  would provide an  overview of the therapeutic  courts in                                                               
Alaska. He  explained that  these were  initially started  by two                                                               
district  court  judges  in  Anchorage.  Judge  Stephanie  Rhodes                                                               
started a  mental health court  in 1998 and Judge  Jim Wannamaker                                                               
started  a wellness  court focused  on alcohol  abusers in  1999.                                                               
Judge  Rhodes   repeatedly  saw  the  same   defendants  who  had                                                               
significant   mental  health   problems  come   before  her   for                                                               
relatively minor offenses,  and Judge Wannamaker saw  some of the                                                               
same alcohol abusing defendants come  before him again and again.                                                               
These judges  started therapeutic  courts because they  could see                                                               
the obvious  connection between the  underlying problem  that the                                                               
defendants had and the crimes in which they engaged.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Therapeutic courts are now located  in Anchorage, Barrow, Bethel,                                                               
Fairbanks,  Juneau, Ketchikan,  and Palmer.  The court  system is                                                               
looking to  set up additional  courts in Kenai, Tok,  and Kodiak.                                                               
In addition Anchorage  has a veteran's court,  which takes people                                                               
who  would probably  qualify for  one  of the  other courts,  but                                                               
because they're  veterans they're  entitled to benefits  with the                                                               
Veterans' Administration.  The veteran's  court gets  the veteran                                                               
reconnected or  connected for the  first time with  the Veterans'                                                               
Administration.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
While  there  are  different  types  of  therapeutic  courts  for                                                               
defendants with different problems, what  they all have in common                                                               
is reducing  the recidivism rate. All  therapeutic courts provide                                                               
assistance,  close supervision,  regular  court appearances,  and                                                               
swift  sanctions for  violations.  Therapeutic  courts provide  a                                                               
multi-agency approach.  In a  typical criminal  case, there  is a                                                               
judge, a  prosecutor, and a  defense counsel. In  the therapeutic                                                               
courts the prosecutor and the defense  attorney work as part of a                                                               
team. The  Alcohol Safety  Action Program  (ASAP) works  with the                                                               
therapeutic  courts  as does  the  Department  of Corrections  to                                                               
provide case coordination services  for the mental health courts.                                                               
ASAP also provides case management  supervision for other courts.                                                               
The  Division of  Juvenile  Justice (DJJ)  is  involved with  the                                                               
Fairbanks  therapeutic court,  which deals  with minors  who have                                                               
mental health problems; the  Veterans' Administration is involved                                                               
with the veteran's  court; and the Mental Health  Trust helps the                                                               
entire system with funding and grants.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:46:56 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  WOOLIVER   further  stated   that  therapeutic   courts  are                                                               
effective  and save  money, sometimes  a considerable  amount. In                                                               
2005  and  2007  the  Alaska  Judicial  Council  (AJC)  conducted                                                               
studies of the  Alaska therapeutic courts. A summary  of the 2005                                                               
study states that  defendants who graduated from  the programs or                                                               
were  active in  them spent  fewer days  incarcerated, had  fewer                                                               
remands to custody,  and had fewer convictions  compared to those                                                               
who were not  in the program. Defendants in  the comparison group                                                               
for  each program  had significantly  more days  of incarceration                                                               
during  the   two  year  period  after   their  convictions.  The                                                               
participants   had   drug-free   babies,  better   jobs,   better                                                               
education,  and reduced  domestic  violence.  These are  directly                                                               
tied  to lower  costs. Mr.  Wooliver noted  a participant  in the                                                               
Anchorage felony drug  court had been a user and  abuser for many                                                               
years, but she was clean  and sober throughout her pregnancy when                                                               
she was in  that court and delivered a healthy  baby. We know the                                                               
cost of a drug-addicted baby at  birth. It never ends; it goes on                                                               
for  the  rest  of  that   child's  life.  AJC  also  found  that                                                               
therapeutic  courts  serve  a  variety   of  defendants  and  the                                                               
benefits  were  not  limited  to   a  narrow  group  of  selected                                                               
participants.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
In the  2007 study AJC  found that  13 percent of  graduates were                                                               
rearrested  within one  year  as  opposed to  32  percent in  the                                                               
comparison group. In  2008 the Urban Institute  completed a long-                                                               
term  study  of  the  Anchorage  Wellness  Court  and  found  the                                                               
following:                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     We find  that the opt-in group  had significantly lower                                                                    
     likelihood   of   any    rearrest   and   reconviction,                                                                    
     significantly   fewer   opt-in   group   members   were                                                                    
     rearrested  and reconvicted,  and those  in the  opt-in                                                                    
     group  had  large  and   significant  benefits  to  the                                                                    
     criminal  justice system  and crime  victims, returning                                                                    
     over $3 in benefit to every $1 the program cost.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Also  in  2008 the  Mental  Health  Trust Authority  commissioned                                                               
studies  of the  mental health  courts in  Anchorage and  Palmer.                                                               
These  also  showed  reduced  recidivism  rates  and  significant                                                               
savings. The  Anchorage program realized  a net  one-year savings                                                               
to  the state  of over  $400,000.  The Palmer  court showed  over                                                               
$200,000 in  savings. The average  cost for a participant  in the                                                               
Anchorage Mental  Health Court is  just less  than $20 a  day. In                                                               
the Palmer  court it's  just less  than $17 a  day. At  that time                                                               
this compared  to over  $120 a  day for  jail. These  findings of                                                               
reduced recidivism  and cost-savings are consistent  with studies                                                               
nationwide.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:50:32 PM                                                                                                                  
The  National Association  of Drug  Court Professionals  recently                                                               
published  a research  update  that stated,  "We  know that  drug                                                               
courts significantly  reduce drug  use and crime  and do  so with                                                               
substantial   savings."   These   programs  work;   they   reduce                                                               
recidivism, which  reduces the likelihood  of crime so  there are                                                               
fewer crime  victims. While  you can't  measure a  negative, what                                                               
can  be   measured  shows  very   good  results.  Even   so,  the                                                               
therapeutic court  movement is in  its infancy. Last year  in any                                                               
given month there  were only 400 participants in  all the various                                                               
crime-related  therapeutic courts  in  Alaska.  This compares  to                                                               
about 6,000  felony filings and  over 32,000  misdemeanor filings                                                               
in the state last year.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:51:46 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  FRENCH asked  if there  are 400  participants in  wellness                                                               
courts statewide.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. WOOLIVER said  that wellness court is one  particular type of                                                               
therapeutic  court, and  there are  400 participants  in all  the                                                               
therapeutic courts in the state.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR FRENCH  asked if that  figure includes the  alcohol courts,                                                               
the veteran's courts, and the mental health courts.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. WOOLIVER answered yes.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:52:15 PM                                                                                                                  
SENATOR MCGUIRE  asked if  there is a  provision to  put pregnant                                                               
women at the head of the list.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. WOOLIVER said he isn't sure but he would find out.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  FRENCH  questioned  why there  aren't  more  participants,                                                               
given  that two  studies have  demonstrated a  fairly significant                                                               
reduction in recidivism with these programs.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. WOOLIVER  replied there's a lack  of treatment infrastructure                                                               
and there's a  lack of available attorneys.  Each defendant takes                                                               
more time  in a  wellness court,  so therapeutic  court attorneys                                                               
and prosecutors  have fewer  cases. Even  though there  are long-                                                               
term  benefits, there  is a  lot of  up-front work  to get  these                                                               
started.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:55:24 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  FRENCH  asked about  the  cost  of $20  a  day  to keep  a                                                               
participant in the  therapeutic court program, versus  $120 a day                                                               
for  jail.  He  asked  if  that $20  a  day  includes  the  extra                                                               
attorneys.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. WOOLIVER said he would have to look into that.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR FRENCH said he would like to know the answer.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:56:24 PM                                                                                                                  
SENATOR MCGUIRE  suggested that paralegals might  help offset the                                                               
workload for attorneys.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. WOOLIVER said  he'd bring that up with the  Department of Law                                                               
(DOL) and the public defender.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR FRENCH  said it's  an interesting  idea. When  these courts                                                               
started,  one  of  the  concerns  was  that  attorneys  would  be                                                               
spending  a  lot  of  time  in  court.  But  the  presence  of  a                                                               
prosecutor may not always be required.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:58:45 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR PASKVAN asked  about expanding the program  over the next                                                               
five years.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  WOOLIVER answered  that it  is  mostly a  lack of  treatment                                                               
facilities and a lack of staff that prevents expansion.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR PASKVAN asked what the Legislature can do.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR.  WOOLIVER responded  additional funding  is needed  for those                                                               
types of services.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:00:01 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR FRENCH  commented that as  creative as  you want to  be, it                                                               
often comes down to money.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR MCGUIRE asked how safe and sober housing is funded.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. WOOLIVER said he'd find out and follow up.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR COGHILL said granting is  probably the primary way, along                                                               
with fee  for service  under Medicaid.  Sometimes the  problem is                                                               
not enough  money, but sometimes  it's lack of people  to deliver                                                               
the service.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
          ^Department of Corrections Reentry Programs                                                                       
                                                                                                                              
2:02:01 PM                                                                                                                    
CARMEN GUTIERREZ, Deputy  Commissioner, Department of Corrections                                                               
(DOC) said  she would focus  on reentry and  reducing recidivism.                                                               
If  we  reduce   recidivism  there  are  fewer   victims  in  the                                                               
community. We have  a tendency to objectify  and dehumanize these                                                               
people,  but each  is  a person  and they  are  a daughter,  son,                                                               
mother, employee, or employer. Some  people are in prison because                                                               
they are  dangerous; the  middle group could  go either  way, and                                                               
the third will never go back.  We are focused on the middle group                                                               
to make them productive members of the community.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:05:32 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. GUTIERREZ  then discussed programs  the DOC has in  place for                                                               
the mentally ill.  She said 40 percent of the  DOC population are                                                               
mental  health  trust  beneficiaries,   meaning  they  have  been                                                               
identified  as individuals  who have  mental health  issues. That                                                               
figure does not include chronic  alcoholics. One program that has                                                               
been  in  place  since  2002 is  called  Institutional  Discharge                                                               
Project Plus (IDP+) is a program  where DOC is focusing on felony                                                               
offenders  who  have  a  psychotic disorder  and  who  are  being                                                               
released to  probation or  parole. The  program connects  them to                                                               
needed  services  in  their  community.   The  program  has  been                                                               
successful.  A   sample  study  indicates  that   in  2008  those                                                               
completing  the program  had 15  percent recidivism  in one  year                                                               
after release  as compared  to a 38  percent recidivism  rate for                                                               
the general prison population three years out.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:08:15 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. GUTIERREZ  noted the IDP+  program has  proven to be  of such                                                               
benefit that now each clinician has  a case load of 77, when best                                                               
study practices say case loads should be 30.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  FRENCH  asked  if  the  program  begins  before  or  after                                                               
release.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. GUTIERREZ said DOC clinicians  should receive notice a couple                                                               
of weeks before release. In  practice, however, the notice can be                                                               
as short  as 12  hours. They  need to make  sure that  the person                                                               
will receive mental health services,  and especially housing. The                                                               
housing issue is a barrier and is an issue for all Alaskans.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:10:57 PM                                                                                                                    
The  DOC also  has  a  plan called  Assess,  Plan, Identify,  and                                                               
Coordinate  (APIC)   that  works  with  felony   and  misdemeanor                                                               
offenders with mental  illnesses that don't rise to  the level of                                                               
a psychotic disorder. The idea is  to link them with services and                                                               
appropriate service providers.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR PASKVAN asked  if she could distinguish  between a mental                                                               
health disorder and a psychotic disorder.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS.  GUTIERREZ deferred  to a  mental health  provider, and  then                                                               
tried to  differentiate. Psychotics have a  severe mental illness                                                               
requiring medication.  People under APIC  could be those  who are                                                               
severely  depressed,  or have  other  mental  health issues,  and                                                               
before incarceration  were eligible  for disability  benefits but                                                               
they lost  them while in custody.  DOC has found it  is worth the                                                               
time to  get these people  reconnected with benefits  before they                                                               
are released from custody.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:13:06 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR FRENCH asked how many participants are in each program.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. GUTIERREZ said she would provide those figures later.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR COGHILL asked about the  difference in case loads between                                                               
the two groups.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. GUTIERREZ  said she understands that  clinicians working with                                                               
APIC  are picking  up some  overflow cases  from other  programs,                                                               
including  IDP+. A  person being  released is  either one  or the                                                               
other.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:14:51 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  PASKVAN  stated that  one  issue  is  the high  rate  of                                                               
incarceration for  the indigenous  population, and asked  what is                                                               
being done to deal with them returning to an underserved area.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS.  GUTIERREZ  agreed it's  a  problem;  small communities  have                                                               
fewer  resources. DOC  is looking  at the  telemedicine model  to                                                               
attempt to address  this problem. There is  a partnership between                                                               
the  Village Public  Safety Officer  (VPSO) and  the DOC,  so the                                                               
VPSO serves as  a probation officer. But there  isn't an educated                                                               
workforce  in  the  area  of substance  abuse  and  sex  offender                                                               
treatment. She  said that DOC  is partnering with  the University                                                               
of Alaska to emphasize these kinds of degrees.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:17:54 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR PASKVAN  asked about incentives  to keep these  people in                                                               
larger communities so they can get services.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  GUTIERREZ  replied an  individual  from  a remote  community                                                               
could  ask  to  be  released  into a  larger  community  and  the                                                               
probation  officer would  try to  comply with  that request.  She                                                               
noted that institutional treatment  programs have a success level                                                               
that  is  dependent  on  services after  the  person  leaves  the                                                               
institution.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:19:56 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR PASKVAN asked if the system  gives a bonus for staying in                                                               
a  larger  community away  from  the  home community  if  someone                                                               
wanted further treatment.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. GUTIERREZ  answered no, but a  person who does so  is setting                                                               
himself up for early release from probation.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR PASKVAN asked  if a prisoner knows that  process prior to                                                               
discharge.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS.  GUTIERREZ  replied  the  conservative   answer  is  no.  She                                                               
conceded that kind of information should be available.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:22:49 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. GUTIERREZ  said DOC  also has  the Discharge  Incentive grant                                                               
for  housing  and  related  supports.  This  is  administered  in                                                               
combination  with the  Division of  Behavioral Health  to provide                                                               
transitional  housing  for  53 individuals  with  complex  mental                                                               
health  disorders. This  program hasn't  been evaluated  formally                                                               
but indications are  that it is reducing the number  of days this                                                               
population is spending in jail.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:24:48 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. GUTIERREZ stated that DOC  just completed its reentry manual,                                                               
which  all individuals  with six  months  or less  to serve  will                                                               
complete. It is based on a bureau of prisons model                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
She  said  the  Probationer  Accountability  Certain  Enforcement                                                               
(PACE)   program  employs   swift,  certain,   and  proportionate                                                               
sanctions.  It  is  not  a  therapeutic  court.  By  reallocating                                                               
existing resources  DOC has been able  to get 70 people  into the                                                               
program.  This model  is appropriate  for  courts throughout  the                                                               
state.  DOC   would  like  to   use  it  for   domestic  violence                                                               
misdemeanant offenders.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:27:15 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. GUTIERREZ said  the Alaska Prisoner Reentry Task  Force is an                                                               
example  of collaborative  efforts  with  agencies, non  profits,                                                               
local  governments, and  interested individuals.  The task  force                                                               
will soon release its five year  prisoner reentry plan. It has 11                                                               
recommendations and  one more  is coming.  She offered  to return                                                               
and answer  questions once the  report is ready for  release. She                                                               
made special  mention of Linda  Mills, the  nationally recognized                                                               
expert who was hired to coordinate and write the plan.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:31:15 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  PASKVAN  asked  where  the reentry  program  is  headed,                                                               
especially for sex offenders.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS.  GUTIERREZ answered  that about  700 convicted  sex offenders                                                               
are incarcerated either in Alaska  or in Colorado. Twenty-four of                                                               
these  offenders  are receiving  treatment  at  Lemon Creek.  All                                                               
other convicted  sex offenders  who have  court-ordered treatment                                                               
are required to  obtain that treatment in  the community. Because                                                               
most  communities in  Alaska don't  have sex  offender treatment,                                                               
many of  these newly released  sex offenders are living  alone in                                                               
Anchorage  and Fairbanks,  and then  they re-violate.  This cycle                                                               
continues until  they have done  all their time and  then they're                                                               
released into the community without having gotten any treatment.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
The  probation   department  uses  a  containment   model,  which                                                               
consists of treatment, the  polygraph examination, and probation.                                                               
The polygraph  is intended to identify  risk behaviors. Probation                                                               
officers  monitor these  probationers closely.  If warning  signs                                                               
crop up they intervene immediately.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR PASKVAN asked what the Legislature  can do to help find a                                                               
solution.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS.  GUTIERREZ replied  a  big issue  is  safe, appropriate,  and                                                               
affordable housing.  The DOC has  a special probation  officer to                                                               
work with  the sex offender  who is being released  to transition                                                               
him  back  into  his  community.  If  the  person  has  safe  and                                                               
appropriate family support in his  home community, he can go home                                                               
while waiting  for sex offender  treatment in Fairbanks.  In more                                                               
cases  than  not,  the  person   will  be  required  to  live  in                                                               
Anchorage,  which usually  means  living at  the Brother  Francis                                                               
Shelter.   The  shelter   is  completely   overwhelmed  by   this                                                               
population. She said the system has  made it so difficult for sex                                                               
offenders to  find housing that  it's almost impossible.  So they                                                               
live under the bridge, in a homeless camp, or in a shelter.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR FRENCH asked, if resources  were unlimited, how many people                                                               
could be put to work to offer treatment to all that need it.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:38:29 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. GUTIERREZ  said she  would provide  the information  in short                                                               
order.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
                      ^Bridge Home Project                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:39:13 PM                                                                                                                    
STACY  TONER, Deputy  Director,  Division  of Behavioral  Health,                                                               
Department of Health  and Social Services (DHSS),  said she would                                                               
talk  about the  Bridge Home  Project. She  explained that  it is                                                               
intended to  serve the most  challenging people of  those cycling                                                               
through API and DOC.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Bridge  Home is  a replication  of the  Housing First  model that                                                               
serves homeless  people with alcohol addiction.  In Washington it                                                               
saved $12  million in a  12 month period; Medicaid  services were                                                               
reduced by 56  percent; sobering center services  were reduced by                                                               
87 percent,  and homeless shelter  use was down. For  the Seattle                                                               
participants,  drinking   was  reduced  by  50   percent  due  to                                                               
assistance with goal  setting and stable housing.  The Journal of                                                               
Community  Psychology   reported  that   84  percent   of  people                                                               
participating in Housing First models  stayed in the program once                                                               
placed.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:41:51 PM                                                                                                                    
The goal  of the  Bridge Home  program in  Anchorage is  to teach                                                               
clients self-sufficiency by  combining community supports, stable                                                               
housing,  and  effective  treatment   while  they  transition  to                                                               
independent living. The program  maintains 50 active clients. All                                                               
of the  clients were housed  during the  year. Nine of  them were                                                               
able to  move to independent  or Section 8 voucher  housing. More                                                               
people  met  the   criteria  for  that  but   vouchers  were  not                                                               
available. Eleven were  actually engaged in job  training. Ten of                                                               
them  worked for  pay. Of  the 50  active clients,  there were  a                                                               
total of  six arrests with  a total of 83  days spent in  jail. A                                                               
longer range  study indicates significant  reduction in  jail and                                                               
API use.  The most significant impact  for DOC is the  80 percent                                                               
drop in  jail days for  the people participating in  the program.                                                               
During the  year after services the  same people had 241  days in                                                               
jail, whereas the year prior to  treatment they had 1,608 days in                                                               
jail.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR FRENCH noted  that was a 1,200 day reduction  in jail time,                                                               
which costs almost $120 per day.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS.  TONER  said  that  clients  also  have  access  to  flexible                                                               
funding,  which wraps  services  around the  client. These  might                                                               
include  transportation   to  access  services,   and  medication                                                               
management.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
The  program  in  Sitka,  called  Jericho  Road,  houses  chronic                                                               
inebriates who  have a history  of homelessness. They  are served                                                               
with stable  housing and meals,  and are able to  access services                                                               
in the  community. There have  been fewer arrests,  air ambulance                                                               
services, and  fewer hospitalizations. The total  monetary impact                                                               
for  community  resources  in  Sitka has  been  a  decrease  from                                                               
$183,000  six  months prior  to  the  program starting,  down  to                                                               
$21,000 for the six months after opening.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR FRENCH said he hopes city managers are listening to this.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:46:56 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  TONER said  she would  get locations  of housing.  She noted                                                               
that  AHFC is  the  primary funding  resource  for special  needs                                                               
housing. Responding  to a question  by Senator Paskvan,  she said                                                               
rural area services are limited.  There are tribal providers that                                                               
get  service to  communities  and some  of  the agencies  stretch                                                               
their clinical staff  by using behavioral health  aides and rural                                                               
health services aides.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:49:09 PM                                                                                                                    
Telehealth services  are being expanded  through API  into remote                                                               
communities.  The Tanana  Chiefs Council  implemented a  computer                                                               
system to  all of their  clinics, so that  anyone who is  in that                                                               
community  and  needs assistance  can  see  a psychiatrist  or  a                                                               
psychologist,  have medication  management,  and have  medication                                                               
shipped to them in the village.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:50:16 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR PASKVAN asked about the voucher system at AHFC.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS.  TONER replied  the  problem  is that  there  are not  enough                                                               
vouchers for the special needs population.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:50:38 PM                                                                                                                    
JEFF JESSEE,  CEO, Alaska Mental  Health Trust  Authority, stated                                                               
that it's  clear that  it's a different  situation in  Alaska now                                                               
because   there  are   agencies  working   together  to   develop                                                               
strategies and the accompanying data.  The Trust will continue to                                                               
piecemeal a way  to advance in these various  areas. Honestly, he                                                               
said,  the decision  the Legislature  and the  administration are                                                               
faced with  relates to the  data on  corrections. At the  rate of                                                               
current corrections growth, the state  will need to build another                                                               
Goose Creek  every seven  years. That's  $380 million  in capital                                                               
costs  and  $50  million  in  operating  costs  for  correctional                                                               
officers.  He suggested  the Legislature  consider developing  an                                                               
alternative plan  to figure out  what it  would take to  scale up                                                               
these  types of  strategies  and interventions  to flat-line  the                                                               
increase  in  the  corrections population  and  avoid  having  to                                                               
construct prisons in the future.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
He noted you can compare the cost  of what we do today versus the                                                               
cost of what we could do  if we invested resources in a different                                                               
way. We did that with Bring the  Kids Home. You could do the same                                                               
thing in  this area. You could  look at projected costs  and come                                                               
up with  an alternative  plan and  what it  would cost.  You will                                                               
provide housing  one way or  another for these people,  either in                                                               
correctional institutions  or in safe, affordable  housing in the                                                               
community. We have  increased the resources to AHFC  by about $10                                                               
million  per year.  Imagine  if  we took  the  cost  of the  next                                                               
prison,  $380   million,  and  invested  that   in  vouchers  and                                                               
supported  housing and  affordable housing  across the  state. We                                                               
have  the technology  and  it  makes sense  to  look  at ways  to                                                               
construct  an alternative  vision  to correct  the  curve on  the                                                               
increasing  prison  population.  If  you decide  to  implement  a                                                               
strategy then you must stay on top of it or it will drift.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:55:49 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MCGUIRE  asked for  a broader  look at  the state  of the                                                               
mentally ill in  Alaska. She asked where those who  aren't in the                                                               
correctional system are.  Now we wait until they  commit a crime.                                                               
We should be  looking at the prevention side to  treat those into                                                               
wellness before they commit a crime.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. JESSEE  said he  couldn't agree  more, but  they aren't  at a                                                               
loss  for strategies,  it's the  lack of  resources to  implement                                                               
these  strategies. There  isn't a  lot of  money for  highly paid                                                               
professionals,  but we've  learned  that people  in recovery  can                                                               
support one another. Prevention is  critical, but we need to find                                                               
ways to  match priorities.  The Legislature  likes to  cut costs,                                                               
but  we need  to  do  a better  job  of  thinking through  policy                                                               
decisions.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:01:02 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR FRENCH thanked the presenters.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
3:01:06 PM                                                                                                                    
There being no further business to come before the committee,                                                                   
Chair French adjourned the Senate Judiciary Standing Committee                                                                  
hearing at 3:01 p.m.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                

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