Legislature(1997 - 1998)

1998-01-16 Senate Journal

Full Journal pdf

1998-01-16                     Senate Journal                      Page 2219
SB 246                                                                       
SENATE BILL NO. 246 BY THE SENATE RULES COMMITTEE                              
BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR, entitled:                                          
An Act amending the definition of correctional                                
facility to include a therapeutic treatment center;                            
providing for the conveyance of the Harborview                                 
Developmental Center and appurtenant land to the                               
City of Valdez for the purpose of conversion and                               
lease of a part of the center for a therapeutic                                
treatment center for the Department of Corrections;                            
providing that such a land conveyance counts                                   
toward the general grant land entitlement of the City                          
of Valdez; and providing for an effective date.                                
was read the first time and referred to the Community and Regional             
Affairs, Health, Education and Social Services and Finance                     
Fiscal note published today from Department of Corrections.   Zero             
fiscal notes published today from Department of Health and Social              
Services, Department of Natural Resources, Department of                       
Governors transmittal letter received January 15:                              

1998-01-16                     Senate Journal                      Page 2220
SB 246                                                                       
Dear President Miller:                                                         
Nearly 80 percent of all crimes committed in Alaska involve                    
substance abuse.  Ensuring safe, healthy communities for Alaskans              
means having treatment programs designed to reduce the number of               
people who are victimized by persons under the influence of alcohol            
or drugs.  In line with that effort, this bill authorizes the transfer of      
the Harborview Developmental Center to the City of Valdez for                  
conversion, in part, to a therapeutic treatment center.  The                   
Department of Corrections would then lease the facility from the               
City of Valdez, which has agreed to invest considerable resources              
into the necessary conversion.                                                 
The Department of Corrections currently has three types of inmate              
substance abuse programs: substance abuse education, education plus            
an introduction to treatment, and institutional outpatient treatment.          
The department needs to complete its continuum of care by                      
establishing an intensive in-prison program that treats the most severe        
substance abusers.                                                             
The Department of Corrections proposes to use a part of the soon-to-           
be-vacated facility for an intensive substance abuse treatment                 
program, commonly referred to as a "therapeutic community".  In                
1997, the United States Department of Justice reported studies show            
consistent reductions in recidivism rates for offenders who complete           
such programs while in prison.  That would also result in fewer                
crime victims.                                                                 
There are currently between 90 and 110 incarcerated inmates who                
need and qualify for therapeutic community treatment.  This bill               
would provide financing for 60 new corrections beds in Valdez and,             
thus would help ease the pressure on a severely overcrowded                    
correctional system.  This legislation also keeps with art. I, sec. 12,        
of the Alaska Constitution, which mandates criminal administration             
be based on the principle of reformation.  Anticipated costs for fiscal        
year 1999 would be approximately $2.5 million, of which $569,000               
is planned for treatment.  Annual costs thereafter are estimated at            
$2.7 million.                                                                  

1998-01-16                     Senate Journal                      Page 2221
SB 246                                                                       
This bill is one more step the state can take to reduce the number             
of victims of crimes resulting from an offender's substance abuse,             
provide intensive treatment to reduce repeat criminal behavior, and            
provide new beds for a severely overcrowded correctional system.               
I urge your quick and favorable action so the Department of                    
Corrections can begin occupancy by September, 1998.                            
					Tony Knowles