Legislature(2003 - 2004)

04/26/2004 08:45 AM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE BILL NO. 487                                                                                                            
     An  Act relating to  the detention of  delinquent minors                                                                   
     in   correctional  facilities;  relating   to  emergency                                                                   
     detention  of  minors  for  evaluation  for  involuntary                                                                   
     admission  for  mental  health  treatment;  relating  to                                                                   
     detention    of    intoxicated    minors   and    minors                                                                   
     incapacitated  by alcohol or drugs; and providing for an                                                                   
     effective date.                                                                                                            
PATTY   WARE,   DIRECTOR,  DIVISION   OF  JUVENILE   JUSTICE,                                                                   
DEPARTMENT  OF HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES,  explained that in                                                                   
2002 reauthorization  of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency                                                                   
Prevention  Act (JJDPA) of  1974 went into  effect on October                                                                   
1,   2003.      The  JJDPA   has   traditionally   prohibited                                                                   
incarceration of  non-offenders and status offenders in adult                                                                   
jails   and  "lock-ups".      New   language   in  the   2002                                                                   
reauthorization  prohibits  the  use  of  juvenile  detention                                                                   
facilities for  the non-offenders and status  offenders as of                                                                   
October 1, 2003.                                                                                                                
Ms. Ware  continued, the bill  would modify AS  47.12.240, AS                                                                   
47.30.705 and AS  47.37.170 to come into compliance  with the                                                                   
federal  requirements  set out  in  the Guidance  Manual  for                                                                   
Monitoring   Facilities  Under   the  Juvenile  Justice   and                                                                   
Delinquency Prevention  Act of  2003.  Under the  amendments,                                                                   
emergency  protective  custody  of  minors  may  not  include                                                                   
placement in a jail or other secured  facility.  The language                                                                   
is  also  found  in current  law  relating  to  placement  of                                                                   
children in need  of aid (CHINA) and has been  interpreted by                                                                   
both  State  and  federal  official   to  provide  sufficient                                                                   
flexibility  for  holding  minors until  a  more  appropriate                                                                   
facility  can be  found  or until  transportation  to such  a                                                                   
facility  is  feasible.    The  purpose of  the  bill  is  to                                                                   
preserve   Alaska's  federal   formula   grant  receipts   of                                                                   
approximately $700  thousand dollars and to  meet requirement                                                                   
to apply for other federal money.                                                                                               
Ms.  Ware continued  that  the bill  will  bring Alaska  into                                                                   
compliance so that emergency protective  custody of juveniles                                                                   
may not include placement in a  locked jail or youth facility                                                                   
when   relating   to   detention    of   intoxicated   minors                                                                   
incapacitated by alcohol or drugs.                                                                                              
Vice Chair  Meyer questioned  if the  program would  cost the                                                                   
State money.  Ms. Ware pointed  out that both notes are zero.                                                                   
Representative Joule  asked what the alternative  would be in                                                                   
the  smaller   communities.    Ms.  Ware  advised   that  the                                                                   
Department  has  been  working  to determine  ways  to  place                                                                   
individuals  in  the  Public Safety  buildings  or  in  other                                                                   
secure situations.  She pointed  out that the State continues                                                                   
to  work   with  the   federal  government  regarding   their                                                                   
definitions and what is allowable.                                                                                              
Representative  Fate  pointed  out  the  high  percentage  of                                                                   
violations.     He asked  if there was  a cut  off point  not                                                                   
retracted.   Ms. Ware responded  that there are and  that the                                                                   
numbers are highlighted  in the handout from  the Department.                                                                   
(Copy on File).  She added that  Alaska continues to struggle                                                                   
with the juvenile rule challenge.                                                                                               
ERNIE MUELLER,  ALASKA JUVENILE  JUSTICE ADVISORY  COMMITTEE,                                                                   
noted that the Governor appoints  the Alaska Juvenile Justice                                                                   
Advisory Committee  with members  throughout the State.   The                                                                   
mission  is  to  advise the  Governor,  Legislature  and  the                                                                   
Department   on   matters  relating   to   juvenile   justice                                                                   
throughout the  State.  He noted  that they had  been working                                                                   
with  the Division  on  these bills  and  that the  Committee                                                                   
endorses  HB 487,  which is  important legislation  that will                                                                   
ensure continued funds for the Division.                                                                                        
LT.  ALLEN  STOREY,  (TESTIFIED VIA  TELECONFERENCE),  ALASKA                                                                   
STATE  TROOPERS, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC  SAFETY, commented that                                                                   
they  had been  working with  Department  of Health  & Social                                                                   
Services  and  Ms.  Ware to  insure  that  the Department  of                                                                   
Public  Safety   is  in  compliance  with  the  requirements.                                                                   
Juvenile   Justice  has  made   a  commitment   to  work  the                                                                   
Department of Public  Safety and the local police departments                                                                   
to  educate them regarding  the standard.   He commented that                                                                   
Department of Public Safety supports the legislation.                                                                           
Representative   Foster  MOVED  to  report   HB  487  out  of                                                                   
Committee  with   individual  recommendations  and  with  the                                                                   
accompanying fiscal note.                                                                                                       
HB  487  was  reported  out of  Committee  with  "individual"                                                                   
recommendations  and with zero  note #1 by the  Department of                                                                   
Health &  Social Services and zero note  #2 by the Department                                                                   
of Public Safety.                                                                                                               

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