Legislature(2017 - 2018)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

02/01/2017 01:30 PM JUDICIARY

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01:32:36 PM Start
01:32:56 PM Implementation Overviews of Senate Bill 91
02:58:49 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Implementation Overviews of Senate Bill 91 TELECONFERENCED
(29th Legislature)
Law Enforcement:
Lt. Kris Sell
Department of Law:
Jahna Lindemuth, Attorney General
Department of Corrections:
Dean Williams, Commissioner
Carrie Belden, Director, Division of Probation
and Parole
Geri Miller-Fox, Director, Division of Pretrial
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              SENATE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                        February 1, 2017                                                                                        
                           1:32 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator John Coghill, Chair                                                                                                     
Senator Mia Costello                                                                                                            
Senator Kevin Meyer                                                                                                             
Senator Pete Kelly                                                                                                              
Senator Bill Wielechowski                                                                                                       
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
IMPLEMENTATION OVERVIEWS OF SENATE BILL 91                                                                                      
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
KRIS SELL, Commissioner                                                                                                         
Alaska Criminal Justice Commission and                                                                                          
Lt. Juneau Police Department                                                                                                    
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Discussed implementation issues related to                                                               
Senate Bill 91.                                                                                                                 
DEAN WILLIAMS, Commissioner                                                                                                     
Department of Corrections (DOC)                                                                                                 
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Participated in the discussion of the                                                                    
implementation of Senate Bill 91.                                                                                               
CARRIE BELDEN, Director                                                                                                         
Division of Probation and Parole (DPP)                                                                                          
Department of Corrections (DOC)                                                                                                 
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:     Discussed  the  steps  the   Division  of                                                            
Probation and Parole has undertaken to implement Senate Bill 91.                                                                
GERI MILLER-FOX, Director                                                                                                       
Division of Pretrial Services                                                                                                   
Department of Corrections (DOC)                                                                                                 
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Discussed  what  the Division  of  Pretrial                                                            
Services has done to implement Senate Bill 91.                                                                                  
JAHNA LINDEMUTH, Attorney General                                                                                               
Department of Law (DOL)                                                                                                         
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Discussed implementation  and training  the                                                            
Department of Law has undertaken to implement Senate Bill 91.                                                                   
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
1:32:36 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR   JOHN  COGHILL   called  the   Senate  Judiciary   Standing                                                            
Committee meeting  to order  at 1:32 p.m.  Present at the  call to                                                              
order  were  Senators Costello,  Kelly,  Meyer,  Wielechowski  and                                                              
Chair Coghill.                                                                                                                  
^Implementation Overviews of Senate Bill 91                                                                                     
           Implementation Overviews of Senate Bill 91                                                                       
1:32:56 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR COGHILL  announced the business  before the  committee would                                                              
be to hear overviews on the implementation of Senate Bill 91.                                                                   
1:34:53 PM                                                                                                                    
LT. KRIS  SELL, Commissioner,  Alaska Criminal Justice  Commission                                                              
("Commission"),  said she  works as  a lieutenant  for the  Juneau                                                              
Police Department.  She was  asked to serve  on the  Commission in                                                              
the  fall  of  2014,  when the  state  first  started  looking  at                                                              
reforming  criminal   justice.  She   described  the   journey  as                                                              
stressful. "We  made some changes,  some things were  really hard,                                                              
some things  did not go as  envisioned, and now there's  even talk                                                              
of rolling back."  She relayed that she found  this stress pattern                                                              
very  familiar and  finally realized  that  it was  like the  many                                                              
domestic  violence cases  she has  worked during  her career  as a                                                              
police officer. The  parallel is that change is  difficult, enough                                                              
so that  some people  might think  about rolling  the law  back or                                                              
convincing  themselves   that  the  domestic   violence  situation                                                              
really wasn't that bad.                                                                                                         
LT.  SELL said  that as  she thinks  about the  process right  now                                                              
with respect  to Senate  Bill 91, she  correlates it  with sitting                                                              
in  the  shelter.   "People  are  angry,  it's   not  where  we're                                                              
comfortable, and things  are just not going well."  The war within                                                              
ourselves is  whether to go  back or go  forward. Human  nature is                                                              
to go  back, but  she is  asking everyone  to be  smart about  it,                                                              
because some things can be made better. She continued:                                                                          
     There  were  some  implementation things  that  did  not                                                                   
     work out as  we anticipated. We've relied  on structures                                                                   
     that were  not in place  yet, and  we can't just  gut it                                                                   
     out  until  they are.  We  need  to change  some  things                                                                   
     between  now and  then. And  there were  interpretations                                                                   
     of   the  law   that  we   didn't  necessarily   foresee                                                                   
     happening,  like that someone  couldn't be held  in jail                                                                   
     to  even see  a judge  if there  was  no potential  jail                                                                   
     time  at stake.  So  the arrests  in  the field  weren't                                                                   
LT. SELL asked legislators,  just as she has asked  DV victims, to                                                              
keep looking  at the future that  could happen. Exactly  what that                                                              
will look  like isn't clear,  but there is  hope. "If we  can keep                                                              
the hope  robust, then  we won't give  in to the  fear and  to the                                                              
stress that  is happening  right now.  Because if  we give  in, we                                                              
will  have fed that  [fear]  and we will  be right  back where  we                                                              
were,  if not worse  off." People  keep cycling  through jail  and                                                              
their behavior isn't changing.                                                                                                  
1:43:22 PM                                                                                                                    
LT.  SELL related  that  she attended  an  Alaska Peace  Officers'                                                              
Association  meeting in Anchorage  last weekend  and the  business                                                              
manager was  incredulous that  she was pleased  to have  been part                                                              
of  this criminal  justice  reform.  Her  response was,  "Well  it                                                              
hasn't been  easy, but  I think we  need to keep  in mind:  if not                                                              
us,  then who,  and  if  not now,  then  when?"  She said  she  is                                                              
committed  to  stay  in  the Commission  and  work  for  a  better                                                              
future. "We  don't have to  go back to  the bad status  quo. Let's                                                              
keep  moving forward  to a  better future  even if  we don't  know                                                              
exactly what that's going to look like in a year."                                                                              
1:44:41 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  COGHILL said  the testimony  has been  loud and clear  that                                                              
some of  the tools just  didn't fit. In  recognition of  this, the                                                              
Commission  presented 14  recommendations, 3  of which have  tools                                                              
to help stay the course.                                                                                                        
LT. SELL  said developing those  14 recommendations  was difficult                                                              
because  in some  instances  the Commission  had  to step  outside                                                              
what the  science in corrections  has said.  "We had to  make some                                                              
assessments  from  what we  saw."  For example,  repetitive  small                                                              
thefts  not resulting  in jail  time. The  idea was  to keep  from                                                              
spending  $150  per  day  to  incarcerate  somebody  for  stealing                                                              
mouthwash. However,  it became clear  that perhaps this  created a                                                              
path  where a drug  addict  stood less  risk of going  to jail  by                                                              
doing 10  shopliftings instead  of one  burglary. Also,  there are                                                              
interpretations that  field arrests aren't  being made on  class C                                                              
felonies. "That  just can't  happen. We've got  to make  sure that                                                              
they answer  for that charge in  a relatively quick  fashion." The                                                              
Commission has addressed these.                                                                                                 
She  said she  considers the  bail  schedule the  equivalent of  a                                                              
domestic violence victim's  dog being held at the pound.  It is an                                                              
added  stressor  that may  not  be  directly associated  with  the                                                              
situation.  She pointed  to the  bail schedule  that suggested  OR                                                              
release  for things  like violent  assault in  the fourth  degree,                                                              
and  the officer  had  to call  to  get an  exception.  "Different                                                              
departments are  claiming to have  had different  experiences with                                                              
magistrates,  including  being told  they  can't  adjust the  bail                                                              
schedule." She  opined that the  assumption needs to be  that some                                                              
bail is  required in  those situations.  She  noted that the  bail                                                              
schedule is under  the purview of the presiding  judges, but Judge                                                              
Trevor Stevens has indicated the judges are open to discussion.                                                                 
LT. SELL  said the  fact that  prosecuting budgets  are being  cut                                                              
and  more cases  are being  dismissed for  financial reasons  adds                                                              
another layer of  difficulty. Senate Bill 91 is  heavily relied on                                                              
to   identify    incorrigible    criminals   through    repetitive                                                              
convictions,  but  if convictions  are  not being  funded,  career                                                              
criminals are not going to be identified.                                                                                       
1:49:30 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR   WIELECHOWSKI  observed   that  Senate   Bill  91   deals                                                              
predominantly with nonviolent offenses.                                                                                         
LT. SELL replied that was the intent.                                                                                           
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI  reviewed  four  articles  from  the  Alaska                                                              
Dispatch  News in the  last 19  hours. They  included a  death and                                                              
wounding  in an  Anchorage gun  battle;  a wounding  in a  Spenard                                                              
area shooting;  murder of a 20-year-old  in Chenega Bay  during an                                                              
alcohol-fueled fight;  and a head  stabbing in Juneau. He  said he                                                              
assumes these are not related to Senate Bill 91.                                                                                
LT. SELL  replied there  was actually  an attempt  to impose  more                                                              
severe penalties  for murder  and other  high crimes.  The concern                                                              
was that  people who commit  certain crimes  are not safe  to have                                                              
in society under any rehabilitation or redemption.                                                                              
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI said  that clarification  is important,  but                                                              
there  is  an   explosion  of  violent  crime   in  Anchorage  and                                                              
throughout  Alaska. He  asked what  advice  she has  to stem  that                                                              
LT. SELL  said it's  complicated  but people  who are addicted  to                                                              
drugs need  treatment and  people who have  a mental  health issue                                                              
also need treatment.  If they are simply given a  timeout in jail,                                                              
they will get out  at some point and commit more  crimes. It's the                                                              
violent, incorrigible  criminals  that need to  stay in  jail. She                                                              
emphasized  the need  to attack  drug use from  both the  consumer                                                              
and supply side and the need for tools that work.                                                                               
CHAIR  COGHILL  said  Senate  Bill  91  attempted  to  change  the                                                              
behavior of the consumer as a way to address the crime rate.                                                                    
1:57:20 PM                                                                                                                    
LT.  SELL  replied the  shortage  of  resources  is also  a  great                                                              
impediment.  She shared  a story  about  a known  drug addict  and                                                              
burglar  who said  he wanted  to stop  using heroin,  so he  could                                                              
attend his  daughter's functions and get  a job. She did  not have                                                              
resources  available on  Friday  night, and  he  continued to  use                                                              
over the  weekend and did  not show up  for his NCADD  appointment                                                              
on Monday.                                                                                                                      
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI  said there  is  an  obvious need  for  more                                                              
resources, but he wonders what other things can be done.                                                                        
LT. SELL  said it's necessary to  stop illegal drug use,  but that                                                              
will be more difficult than trying to eradicate smallpox.                                                                       
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI pointed out that marijuana is legal now.                                                                   
LT. SELL  said it's particularly  difficult to tell an  addict who                                                              
wants  to  stop  that  help  is  not  available.  "It's  basically                                                              
telling  them to  continue on  their violent  and criminal  ways."                                                              
Drugs  today  are   too  powerful  to  bootstrap   your  way  out.                                                              
Treatment  and  prevention  address  this, but  the  police  can't                                                              
enforce a standard that does not exist in the community.                                                                        
CHAIR  COGHILL thanked  Lt.  Sell for  highlighting  the need  for                                                              
solutions.  Senate  Bill  91  brought  to  light  that  there  are                                                              
solutions, but they won't be easy.                                                                                              
He  welcomed Dean  Williams,  Commissioner  of the  Department  of                                                              
Corrections, and  Carrie Belden and expressed interest  in hearing                                                              
what the  department has been  able to  do, what is  working, what                                                              
is anticipated  to work, and  the implementation issues  they have                                                              
2:03:27 PM                                                                                                                    
DEAN  WILLIAMS,  Commissioner, Department  of  Corrections  (DOC),                                                              
recapped that  Senate Bill  91 has three  parts. Last  summer some                                                              
statutory  changes  related  to sentencing  were  implemented.  In                                                              
January  2017   changes  dealing  with  probation   were  enacted.                                                              
Director Belden will  discuss those. The final changes  will be to                                                              
the pretrial services  and those will take place  in January 2018.                                                              
Director Fox will give this part of the presentation.                                                                           
2:05:16 PM                                                                                                                    
CARRIE BELDEN, Director,  Division of Probation and  Parole (DPP),                                                              
Department  of Corrections  (DOC),  stated  that  the Division  of                                                              
Probation and  Parole did a  substantial amount of  workto ensure                                                              
compliance   with   the   Alaska   Criminal   Justice   Commission                                                              
("Commission")recommendations      associated    with    relevant                                                              
provisions  of  Senate  Bill  91.  They  basically  changed  their                                                              
processes   and  procedures   in   less  than   six  months.   She                                                              
congratulated her staff for "being exceptional state employees."                                                                
CHAIR COGHILL stated his agreement.                                                                                             
MS.  BELDEN explained  that  all probation  officer  IIIs and  any                                                              
probation officers  that wanted  to be part  of the  change worked                                                              
together  to  establish  four  workgroups  to  create  and  update                                                              
division policies.  The groups were  guided by DPP  management and                                                              
regional  chiefs.  They  relied heavily  on  technical  assistance                                                              
provided by  the Criminal Justice  Institute and  criminal justice                                                              
agency  stakeholders.  This  change  was  too  large to  do  in  a                                                              
vacuum. The  workgroups met  for several hours  each week  as well                                                              
as outside  of that to answer  questions and talk  with colleagues                                                              
to  develop something  that  would be  effective  and have  buy-in                                                              
from the staff.                                                                                                                 
A  mandatory  statewide,  in  person  training  for  all  POs  was                                                              
conducted  in  the  fall  of  2016.  This  was  to  introduce  the                                                              
concepts of  Senate Bill  91, the best  practices, and  the policy                                                              
framework.  In November  and  December 2016,  the  DPP team  began                                                              
conducting   weekly    teleconferences   called    "The   Learning                                                              
Community."  These  will  continue  so  staff can  ask  about  any                                                              
implementation  questions, concepts or  anomalies so  everyone can                                                              
be informed.  Draft policies  were sent  out, including  "Learning                                                              
Community"  feedback,   and  then  designed  a   mandatory  Web-ex                                                              
training  based  off staff  questions  and  concerns.The  process                                                              
encouraged staff  involvement in  the new policies  and procedures                                                              
being implemented.  The final products  were released  in December                                                              
for January implementation.                                                                                                     
2:12:34 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  BELDEN presented  DPP's approach  to comply  with [the  2016]                                                              
Recommendation  12 from  the Alaska  Criminal Justice  Commission:                                                              
Implement  Graduated Sanctions  and Incentives. DPP  developedthe                                                            
Graduated  Responses Grid  and requires  probation Officers  (POs)                                                              
to  investigate  and  respond  to   allegations  of  positive  and                                                              
negative  behaviors. Responding  to  negative  behavior can  range                                                              
from informal  PO use  of grid  to a formal  violation  filed with                                                              
the court  or Parole Board.  Probation Officershave  been trained                                                              
to  respond  to   negative  behaviors  with  an   intervention,  a                                                              
sanction, or  a combination  of both.  Examples of incentives  are                                                              
verbal praise,  letters of  recognition, reduced supervision,  and                                                              
expanded travel  permits. There  is also  a list of  interventions                                                              
in the grid.  They are designed  to move the probation  or parolee                                                              
toward  positive behavior.  This can  be changing  the case  plan,                                                              
referral  to  treatment,   or  referral  to  a   job  center.  The                                                              
sanctions  can be  verbal  or  written warnings,  restrictions  of                                                              
travel  permits, curfews,  increased  reporting,  and filing  with                                                              
probation  and parole  officials. It  is a robust  grid and  staff                                                              
did a good job of being fair and just, she said.                                                                                
2:16:36 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  BELDEN presented  DPP's approach  to comply  with [the  2016]                                                              
Recommendation  13 from  the Alaska  Criminal Justice  Commission:                                                              
Reduce   pre-adjudication   length  of   stay   and  cap   overall                                                            
incarceration  for technical violations.  The first  revocation is                                                            
up to  3 days; the second  revocation is up  to 5 days;  the third                                                              
revocation  is   up  to  10   days;  the  fourth   and  subsequent                                                              
revocation  is   up  to  the   remainder  of  the   sentence;  and                                                              
absconding from supervision is up to 30 days.                                                                                   
She  said  this  proved  to be  difficult  because  it  meant  the                                                              
hearings  had  to happen  promptly.  The  sanctions  appropriately                                                              
follow the bill, but some bugs still need to be worked out.                                                                     
SENATOR COSTELLO  clarified  for the listening  public that  these                                                              
are    the    Alaska   Criminal    Justice    Commission    [2016]                                                              
recommendations that were incorporated in to Senate Bill 91.                                                                    
2:18:03 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  BELDEN presented  DPP's approach  to comply  with [the  2016]                                                              
Recommendation  14 from  the Alaska  Criminal Justice  Commission:                                                              
Earned  Compliance  Credits.  Offenders   who  comply  with  their                                                            
supervision  for one month  will earn  30 days  off their  term of                                                              
supervision. She  said they  tried to stay  very true to  the bill                                                              
and she believes the product is good.                                                                                           
MS.  BELDEN presented  DPP's approach  to comply  with [the  2016]                                                              
Recommendation  15 from  the Alaska  Criminal Justice  Commission:                                                              
Early Termination  and Discharge  of Supervision. People  who meet                                                            
the statutory  requirements will  automatically go forward  to the                                                              
parole board for  early termination. She described this  as a good                                                              
MS.  BELDEN presented  DPP's approach  to comply  with [the  2016]                                                              
Recommendation  16 from  the Alaska  Criminal Justice  Commission:                                                              
Extend   good  time   eligibility  to   offenders  on   Electronic                                                            
Monitoring (EM).  She said that staffconducted  emergency reviews                                                            
of time  accounting records  and issued  "good time" to  offenders                                                              
on  EM  to  comply  with  this   mandate.  This  had  to  be  done                                                              
immediately because this requirement adjusted release dates.                                                                    
2:20:05 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  BELDEN  said  the  computer  programming  to  assist  in  the                                                              
implementation  of  Senate Bill  91  provisions  was  extensive.A                                                              
workgroup consisting  of management, POs, and  programmers created                                                              
or  significantly   upgraded  offender   management  modules   for                                                              
incentives  and sanctions;  earned  compliance credits,  community                                                              
work service, and  fines and restitution. The programming  work is                                                              
ongoing  and  progressing.  Going   forward,  more  data  will  be                                                              
captured  so things  will  be a  little  more evidence-based.  She                                                              
expressed profound gratitude for the implementation funding.                                                                    
The  next  steps   will  be  to  continue  the   weekly  "Learning                                                              
Community"  teleconferences  for  staff;  to  continue  to  update                                                              
policies;  to  continue  to  hold  stakeholder  meetings;  and  to                                                              
validate  the  risk  assessment  tool and  the  Level  of  Service                                                              
CHAIR  COGHILL  thanked  Ms.  Belden   and  asked  her  to  extend                                                              
gratitude to her staff.                                                                                                         
2:24:35 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI  asked for  the department's position  on the                                                              
recommendations that the Commission made.                                                                                       
CHAIR COGHILL  said that  is a discussion  for another  day. Today                                                              
the focus is on implementation. He welcomed Geri Miller Fox.                                                                    
2:25:28 PM                                                                                                                    
GERI  MILLER-FOX,   Director,  Division   of  Pretrial   Services,                                                              
Department  of Corrections  (DOC), displayed  a graph of  Alaska's                                                              
incarcerated  population as  of July  1, 2014.  It shows that  the                                                              
pretrial population  accounts for 81 percent of the  growth in the                                                              
incarcerated  population since July  1, 2005.  "It is  clearly out                                                              
of proportion to what else is happening in the system."                                                                         
She  highlighted  some  of  the  history  of  recommendations  for                                                              
pretrial  services  in the  state.  In  1973, an  Alaska  Judicial                                                              
Council   report   on   repeat    bail   recidivists   recommended                                                              
establishing  a  pretrial agency.  In  2003, the  Alaska  Criminal                                                              
Justice  Council  recommended  establishing   pretrial  processes,                                                              
supervision,  and  diversion.  In   2009,  an  Alaska  Law  Review                                                              
publication  by  author  Elizabeth   Johnston  recommended  Alaska                                                              
develop  an independent  pretrial  services  agency.  In 2015,  an                                                              
Alaska    Judicial   Council    workgroup   proposed    sentencing                                                              
alternatives  and  recommended  pretrial  diversion  and  deferred                                                              
disposition.  She  emphasized, "This  state  has  been asking  for                                                              
pretrial services  for more than 40  years and Senate Bill  91 has                                                              
brought this to our state."                                                                                                     
MS.  MILLER-FOX  reviewed  some  of  the  things  that  have  been                                                              
highlighted  as   problematic  for   pretrial  in  Alaska.   These                                                              
include: a  lack of  available information  for judiciary;  a lack                                                              
of  information  about offender  risk;  a  lack of  oversight  for                                                              
those who  post bail and need  supervision; and a lack  of options                                                              
for release supervision and diversion.                                                                                          
She  relayed that  by  January 2018  she  will  be overseeing  the                                                              
implementation  of pretrial  services for  Alaska. Offenders  will                                                              
be  assessed  within  24  hours  of  booking.  Those  reports  and                                                              
recommendations  will go  to the  court so  information about  the                                                              
risk of  the offender  is available at  the initial  bail hearing.                                                              
Low  risk offenders  will receive  monitoring  while moderate  and                                                              
high-risk offenders may be eligible for supervision if released.                                                                
MS.  MILLER-FOX   displayed   a  member   list  of  the   pretrial                                                              
development  team.  Some are  required  by  Senate Bill  91  while                                                              
others are  stepping up to the  plate. She highlighted  courts and                                                              
judiciary,  law  enforcement,  defendant  representatives,  victim                                                              
rights,   treatment   services,  researchers,   prosecutors,   and                                                              
communities.   Currently,  there  are   74  participants   on  the                                                              
implementation team.  There is a  lot of interest and  people want                                                              
to be  part of it.  She thanked  the stakeholders and  stakeholder                                                              
2:30:42 PM                                                                                                                    
She  reviewed some  of the  reasons  this is  valuable in  Alaska.                                                              
First,  Article   1  of  the  Alaska  State   Constitution  speaks                                                              
directly to  defendants being eligible  for bail.  This population                                                              
is presumed  innocent, has  the right to  bail, the right  to non-                                                              
excessive bond, and  to equal protection under the  law. The state                                                              
constitution  also speaks  to victim rights  and that  stakeholder                                                              
group is also at the table.                                                                                                     
MS. MILLER-FOX  related that the  purpose of bail generally  is to                                                              
accomplish  three things:  1) to  provide a  process of  releasing                                                              
people from  custody; 2)  to reasonable ensure  they will  show up                                                              
for a future  court appearance; and 3) to minimize  the likelihood                                                              
that they  will commit a  new criminal  act between the  time they                                                              
are arrested and the case is disposed.                                                                                          
She displayed a  list of the forms of release.  These include: Own                                                              
Recognizance (OR)  release, Unsecured  Bond (UB) release,  Secured                                                              
Bond (SB),  and Conditional Release/Pretrial  Services Supervision                                                              
and /or Monitoring (CR) release.                                                                                                
MS.  MILLER-FOX  highlighted  that  one  of  the  Alaska  Criminal                                                              
Justice  Commission  findings  in the  2015  Justice  Reinvestment                                                              
Report was  that courts generally  should consider two  factors in                                                              
deciding whether  to release a defendant pretrial:  the likelihood                                                              
that the  defendant will miss a  court hearing and  the likelihood                                                              
the defendant  will engage in  new criminal activity  if released.                                                              
She said  that research has shown  that risk assessment  tools can                                                              
accurately  predict  these  risks   by  identifying  and  weighing                                                              
factors that  are associated with  each type of  pretrial failure.                                                              
She  noted  that  this  is  not   only  a  recommendation  of  the                                                              
Commission,  but   a  requirement   under  Senate  Bill   91.  The                                                              
Department  of Corrections  will implement  a new risk  assessment                                                              
for  the  pretrial  population  and  it  will  measure  those  two                                                              
She  clarified   that  the  pretrial   risk  assessment   tool  is                                                              
different  than   the  risk  assessment  tool  for   people  under                                                              
probation  and  parole.  "It  is   a  different  purpose,  it's  a                                                              
different   function,   but   it's  well   researched   for   this                                                              
population."  Some examples  of  pretrial tools  currently in  use                                                              
come from the  Virginia Pretrial Risk Assessment  (CPRA), the Ohio                                                              
Risk   Assessment    System-Pretrial   (ORAS-PAT),    Correctional                                                              
Offender   Management   Profiling    for   Alternative   Sanctions                                                              
(COMPAS)-Pretrial,  and the Public  Safety Assessment-Court  (PSA-                                                              
Court)  used  by   Kentucky,  North  Carolina,  and   Santa  Cruz,                                                              
MS.  MILLER-FOX   reported  that  the  Department   of  Correction                                                              
pretrial  assessment   parameters   will  require  three   primary                                                              
objectives:   current  data   sources   will   be  utilized,   the                                                              
assessment  design will  be  based on  existing  Alaska data,  and                                                              
there will  be ongoing  analysis and  validation. She  highlighted                                                              
that  research  shows   that  interviews  do  not   make  a  large                                                              
difference  in the  outcomes  of  the assessments.  Conducting  no                                                              
defendant interviews  will save  money and  still result  in equal                                                              
or better results.                                                                                                              
2:34:46 PM                                                                                                                    
She displayed  a grid  of pretrial  recommendation guidelines  for                                                              
low, moderate,  and high-risk  defendants who allegedly  committed                                                              
misdemeanor,  class C  felony, DUI/Refusal  FTA/VCOR, and  "Other"                                                              
crimes. She  clarified that offenses  that fall under  "Other" are                                                              
unclassified offenses,  class A  and B felonies,  person offenses,                                                              
sex  offenses, and  domestic  violence  offenses.  For example,  a                                                              
low-risk  offender would  likely  receive a  recommendation of  an                                                              
own recognizance  (OR) release;  whereas a high-risk  defendant in                                                              
an  "Other" crime  might receive  a recommendation  for a  secure,                                                              
money, bond.  The court would  then make  its decision based  on a                                                              
judicial  matrix.  This allows  for  greater discretion  than  the                                                              
pretrial  officers.  She  clarified  that this  process  does  not                                                              
remove  any other  decision processes  stemming  from input  from:                                                              
law  enforcement,  victims,  defense  attorneys,  or  prosecutors.                                                              
"Those things  remain in  place and  the pretrial assessment  tool                                                              
provides  for  one  other  objective   weight  in  evaluating  the                                                              
appropriate release or detention decision."                                                                                     
2:36:01 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. MILLER-FOX listed  some of the limitations of  a pretrial risk                                                              
assessment tool: it  will not predict behavior 100  percent of the                                                              
time  for  100  per  of  the  population;   it  will  not  replace                                                              
experienced  and  quality  professionals,  but  it  does  lead  to                                                              
better  decision  making;   and despite  some   limitations,  this                                                              
process is an enhancement  to public safety and it  fulfills a gap                                                              
and a request  of criminal justice professionals  that has existed                                                              
for more than 40 years.                                                                                                         
She reported the  following Alaska-specific data:  only 12 percent                                                              
of   defendants  in   the  sample   were   released  on   personal                                                              
recognizance,  and an additional  10 percent  were released  on an                                                              
unsecured  money  bail;  52 percent  of  sampled  defendants  were                                                              
never released prior  to their case being resolved;  and offenders                                                              
whose bail was set  at $1,000 or more were detained  an average of                                                              
seven weeks  before they  were able to  secure their  release. She                                                              
noted the latter were likely eligible for release on day one.                                                                   
MS. MILLER-FOX  pointed to  a study done  in Harris  County, Texas                                                              
that looked at  the potential cost savings between  2008 and 2013,                                                              
if misdemeanor  defendants whose bail  was $500 had  been released                                                              
pretrial without  financial conditions.  This would  have resulted                                                              
in 40,000 more  defendants being released pretrial  and would have                                                              
saved  $20 million  in  supervision  costs. She  highlighted  that                                                              
that money  could have  been spent on  prevention for  things like                                                              
drug addiction services.                                                                                                        
She reviewed  data from  Kentucky to  emphasize what Alaska  could                                                              
potentially save  if it changed pretrial procedures.  In the state                                                              
of Kentucky,  88 percent  of all arrested  people are  released at                                                              
the pretrial  phase and  approximately 3  percent are  given extra                                                              
supervision  conditions.  Kentucky  saved  counties  approximately                                                              
$25 million in jail  costs in one year by increasing  the pretrial                                                              
release rate  by 5  percent. Supervision costs  in Kentucky  are 2                                                              
percent to 10 percent of the associated detention costs.                                                                        
MS.  MILLER-FOX displayed  a grid  that  shows that  for FY14  and                                                              
FY15,  public  safety  in Kentucky  has  improved  these  pretrial                                                              
changes were initiated.  In FY15, the overall release  rate was 75                                                              
percent,  the  appearance rate  was  85  percent, and  the  public                                                              
safety rate was  89 percent. She noted that Alaska  currently does                                                              
not have  this type of  data, but  it will in  a year or  two. She                                                              
relayed that  data going  back to  the 1990s can  be found  on the                                                              
Kentucky state website.  "And very little change  in these numbers                                                              
over the course of that time," she added.                                                                                       
2:39:35 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  COSTELLO  questioned  whether  people  released  pretrial                                                              
tend to reoffend.  "If there is an 88 percent  public safety, does                                                              
that  mean  that  12  percent  of  the  people  released  actually                                                              
MS. MILLER-FOX  replied a  public safety rate  is defined  by each                                                              
state or  county. She  relayed her belief  that Kentucky  looks at                                                              
these as a new criminal arrest.                                                                                                 
She  reviewed  the  comparative  cost of  services.  The  cost  of                                                              
pretrial  supervision is  estimated  to be  about  $4.60 per  day,                                                              
whereas the  cost of  keeping that  same person  in jail  is about                                                              
$149.62 per  day. She  explained that  pretrial supervision  would                                                              
include  an  assessment within  24  hours  to determine  level  of                                                              
risk, followed  by a  report and recommendation  to the  court. At                                                              
the initial  appearance, the  court has  the option from  pretrial                                                              
supervision  or some  other decision,  such as  detention. A  low-                                                              
risk offender  who is released  would be eligible  for monitoring.                                                              
A  moderate-  or  high-risk  offender would  be  eligible  for  an                                                              
enhanced level of supervision.                                                                                                  
2:42:24 PM                                                                                                                    
She noted  that the DOC has  many partners that are  interested in                                                              
diversion opportunities  for a mental health population,  a tribal                                                              
court,  or a  substance abuse  program. She  highlighted that  the                                                              
Division  of  Pretrial  Services  is working  with  Chief  Michael                                                              
Hicks with the  Cordova City Police Department  and Sarah Kathrein                                                              
from the Native  village of Eyak on a pilot tribal  court pretrial                                                              
process.  The  intention  is  to   start  in  September.  Pretrial                                                              
services  will be  available statewide,  but  each community  must                                                              
help determine how robust the program should be in their area.                                                                  
CHAIR COGHILL  thanked Commissioner  Williams and Ms.  Miller-Fox,                                                              
and  welcomed Attorney  General  Lindemuth  and John  Skidmore  to                                                              
discuss  implementation  issues for  the  Department  of Law.  "We                                                              
found out along  the way that communication issues  were almost as                                                              
big  a part  of the  implementation as  the actual  collaborations                                                              
issues within a department," he added.                                                                                          
2:44:47 PM                                                                                                                    
JAHNA LINDEMUTH,  Attorney General, Department of  Law (DOL), said                                                              
she has been in  this position for six months, is  a member of the                                                              
Alaska  Criminal   Justice  Commission  ("Commission"),   and  has                                                              
attended  all the  meetings since  she started.  She relayed  that                                                              
implementation  is discussed  at  the meetings  and  the heads  of                                                              
affected  agencies are  members  of the  Commission. The  Criminal                                                              
Justice working  group and  subcommittees both  meet and  focus on                                                              
implementation   and   having   the   agencies   communicate   and                                                              
coordinate.  Offline  meetings  are  held  to look  for  any  gaps                                                              
between departments  and  the training efforts  of these  agencies                                                              
are compared to ensure consistency in implementation.                                                                           
She   described   the  active   role   the  Department   of   Law,                                                              
specifically   John  Skidmore   the  director   of  the   Criminal                                                              
Division,  has   taken  to   ensure  that  prosecutors,   district                                                              
attorneys, and  law enforcement  statewide understand  the changes                                                              
brought about  by Senate  Bill 91.  She shared  that she  not only                                                              
attended  some  of  these  presentations,  but also  did  her  own                                                              
research on  criminal justice  reform. She  related that  when she                                                              
ran  across  a   TED  Talk  where  Adam  Foss   was  presenting  a                                                              
prosecutor's  vision for a  better justice  system, she  wanted to                                                              
suggest Mr.  Skidmore include this  in a future  presentation, but                                                              
decided against  interfering. However,  separately he had  come up                                                              
with the same TED Talk and showed it to the prosecutors.                                                                        
ATTORNEY GENERAL  LINDEMUTH referenced  the training  materials in                                                              
the  packets that  Mr. Skidmore  used in  two statewide  trainings                                                              
for law  enforcement and  at the  FBI National Academy  Associates                                                              
Executive  Development Conference.  She estimated  that more  than                                                              
100  law  enforcement  attended  the conference  from  across  the                                                              
state. "These  are high-level people  who can then take  this back                                                              
to  their  departments   and  do  further  trainings."   She  also                                                              
described  Department  of  Law's  outreach  to  communities.  This                                                              
includes   district   attorneys  regularly   attending   community                                                              
council  meetings to  help educate  the public  on changes  to the                                                              
law and her op-ed  for the Anchorage Daily News  on the connection                                                              
between  Senate Bill  91, the impacts  of budget,  and the  heroin                                                              
epidemic. She maintained  that Senate Bill 91 has  been blamed for                                                              
more  than it  is responsible  for. "There's  these other  factors                                                              
out  there that  have really  complicated the  picture for  public                                                              
2:52:01 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI   referenced  an  article  she   wrote  last                                                              
November that  said the  Department of Law  had lost  80 positions                                                              
over  the last four  years  and its budget  had been  cut over  26                                                              
percent.  He asked  if  she  had any  data  to show  whether  that                                                              
impacted  the  way  that  felonies   and  misdemeanors  have  been                                                              
prosecuted and whether  that is contributing to  the public safety                                                              
crisis the state is experiencing.                                                                                               
ATTORNEY GENERAL  LINDEMUTH reported that in 2015,  the Department                                                              
of  Law had  to  turn down  6  percent more  cases  than the  year                                                              
before.  Significantly, this  was  before Senate  Bill 91  passed.                                                              
Since FY14,  the Criminal  Division [budget]  has been  reduced 11                                                              
percent or $3.3  million. That is a loss of 31  attorney and staff                                                              
positions.  "That's a  real significant  loss of  capacity at  the                                                              
Department  of  Law  to prosecute  crimes."  Current  efforts  are                                                              
being focused  on felony  crimes and  those prosecutions  are down                                                              
just  3  percent  from 2013  numbers.  However,  the  capacity  to                                                              
prosecute  misdemeanors   has  decreased  33  percent   from  2013                                                              
numbers.  That  represents  nearly   7,000  cases  that  were  not                                                              
prosecuted for budget reasons alone.                                                                                            
CHAIR  COGHILL said,  "That is  one  reason that  people are  just                                                              
absolutely  frantically  wearied by  thievery,  especially at  the                                                              
misdemeanor level."                                                                                                             
SENATOR COSTELLO  asked if 80 people  actually lost their  jobs or                                                              
if some  of those positions  were not filled  prior to  the budget                                                              
ATTORNEY  GENERAL  LINDEMUTH  clarified  that  those  were  filled                                                              
positions;   80  people   in  both  divisions   lost  their   job.                                                              
Currently,  the Department of  Law has  455 positions,  whereas in                                                              
2013 that number was was 541.                                                                                                   
CHAIR  COGHILL advised  that two  bills  will be  drafted. One  is                                                              
technical  and   will  include  just  the  corrections   that  the                                                              
Commission  highlighted  in  Recommendation  14-2017.  The  second                                                              
will be a substantive,  policy bill that will  primarily deal with                                                              
class  C felonies,  the question  of  escalating misdemeanor,  and                                                              
violations   of    conditions   of    release.   The    other   10                                                              
recommendations have reasonable fixes.                                                                                          
2:58:49 PM                                                                                                                    
There  being no  further business  to come  before the  committee,                                                              
Chair Coghill  adjourned the  Senate Judiciary Standing  Committee                                                              
meeting at 2:58 p.m.                                                                                                            

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
Arrest Authority Guidance.pdf SJUD 2/1/2017 1:30:00 PM
Drug Cheat Sheet.pdf SJUD 2/1/2017 1:30:00 PM
Department of Law Bill Review.pdf SJUD 2/1/2017 1:30:00 PM
FTA and VCOR Violations.pdf SJUD 2/1/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 91 Practitioner Guide.pdf SJUD 2/1/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 91 Pretrial Implementation.pdf SJUD 2/1/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 91 Probation and Parole Implementation.pdf SJUD 2/1/2017 1:30:00 PM