Legislature(1995 - 1996)

02/07/1995 03:03 PM House HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
 HHESS - 02/07/95                                                              
 Number 1198                                                                   
 HB 15: PUBLIC DISCLOSURE OF MINORS' COURT RECORDS                           
 REPRESENTATIVE GENE THERRIAULT read his sponsor statement for HB 15           
 into the record:                                                              
 This legislation is intended as an intermediate stop in                      
 the juvenile justice system that goes beyond the degree                       
 of punishment currently possible, but stops short of                          
 prosecution as an adult.  It would allow the state, under                     
 certain strict circumstances, to release the names of                         
 juvenile offenders.                                                           
 With varying degrees of exceptions, most states require                      
 a court order to release the names of juvenile offenders.                     
 Recently, however, the trend has been toward cracking                         
 that confidentiality.  In 1993, according to the National                     
 Conference of State Legislatures, Kansas approved a law                       
 that allows officials to publicize the names of juveniles                     
 over the age of 13 who are convicted of certain violent                       
 crimes.  In 1990, Rhode Island opened the records of                          
 juveniles who are over 15.  In May, 1994, Illinois                            
 legislators overwhelmingly approved a measure to make                         
 public the names of juveniles convicted of crimes                             
 involving guns, gangs or felony drug violations.                              
 In Alaska, prior to 1994, the law contained a little-used                    
 provision that allowed publication of the name of a minor                     
 who committed two offenses classified as felonies.  Last                      
 year, Senate Bill 54 replaced that provision with one                         
 that prohibits disclosure of the name or picture of a                         
 minor under the jurisdiction of the court in connection                       
 with the minor's status as a delinquent child unless                          
 authorized by order of the court.  HB 15 would again                          
 allow the state to disclose the name, address and picture                     
 of a minor following a second felony offense unless the                       
 court entered an order barring disclosure "for good cause                     
 shown in individual cases.                                                    
 The current shield of anonymity and lack of serious                          
 penalties foster the perception among many young adults                       
 entering the justice system that they can get away with                       
 anything.  This reinforces criminal behavior that                             
 continues into adulthood, where the consequences are far                      
 more serious.                                                                 
 Tight confidentiality laws have been near the center of                      
 America's juvenile justice philosophy for decades.                            
 However, society has changed since juvenile justice                           
 systems were created around the turn of the century, and                      
 it is time for law enforcement to change as well.  This                       
 small step toward lifting the privileged status of a                          
 juvenile, when that juvenile has wittingly and repeatedly                     
 broken the law, is a reasonable step in that direction.                       
 Number 1329                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT said that earlier Representative Rokeberg           
 had a question about the wording of the bill.  They discussed the             
 previous statutory language which required an order of the courts             
 to release information and records.  That provision had been on the           
 books for a number of years but was never utilized.  Representative           
 Therriault felt the reason it was not used was because there was              
 confusion about whether the agency (the Division of Family and                
 Youth Services in the Department of Health and Social Services) or            
 the courts would release the information.                                     
 REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT continued that the old statutory language           
 made reference to the records, but did not make clear whether those           
 records were under the jurisdiction of the agency or the courts.              
 When Senate Bill 54 was considered and passed, the section                    
 regarding records was broken into two segments.  This created clear           
 statutory references to court and agency records.                             
 Number 1356                                                                   
 HB 15 is proposing to take the old language which had been modified           
 and put it back into the statute specifically under the heading of            
 court records.  The court records section is the one specifically             
 being amended.                                                                
 Number 1400                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT added that he is currently working on a             
 packet of legislation, of which HB 15 is a part.  The packet deals            
 with the juvenile justice statutes.  He is attempting to address              
 repeat vandalism and offenders.  Currently, the state's system is             
 such that if you are a repeat offender, there is not much "down-              
 side" to the juvenile justice system.  The activities can be                  
 continued and the minor finds out rather quickly that there are few           
 deterrents to crime.  Representative Therriault stated that this              
 knowledge is quite prevalent.                                                 
 However, when a child becomes 18 and an offense is repeated once              
 more, suddenly the child is thrown into the adult justice system              
 and treated as an adult.  Representative Therriault seeks to                  
 provide for an in-between with HB 15, one in which a minor is still           
 treated and adjudicated in the juvenile system, but there is an               
 increased "downside" to illegal actions.                                      
 REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT assured the HESS Committee members that             
 the only children he was trying to include were those who have                
 committed a second offense which would be a felony if the minor was           
 over 18.  Therefore, the minor will still be given a first chance             
 in which they are admonished.  However, when they commit the second           
 felony offense, HB 15 provides for a deterrent which is short of              
 sweeping them into the adult system and trying them as adults.                
 Hopefully, the bad habits are not being reinforced, leading the               
 public to wonder why they are still acting like delinquents after             
 age 18.  By that time, in many cases the behavior has been                    
 Number 1486                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT continued that he was expecting a                   
 research report from the Legislative Research Agency which will               
 show that so far about 12 states have taken steps in this                     
 direction.  He thinks the HESS Committee members will hear from the           
 agency that this action will seriously jeopardize federal funding,            
 but he does not necessarily believe that is true.  Representative             
 Therriault hoped that the HESS Committee members will consider the            
 policy call of the legislation, and he assured them that he would             
 address the potential loss of federal funding before the bill is              
 heard before the Finance Committee.  The Finance Committee is the             
 bill's third committee of referral.                                           
 Number 1515                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT assured HESS Committee members that he              
 was conducting research in respect to the federal law, as to what             
 is happening in other states which have enacted similar                       
 legislation, and how other states have dealt with the potential               
 loss of federal funding.  He would have this information by the               
 time the bill is to be heard in the Judiciary Committee, the bill's           
 second committee of referral.                                                 
 REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT had a copy of the Illinois legislation,             
 and he read a portion which was put into the Illinois statutes:               
 The general public may have access to the name and                           
 address of a minor who is adjudicated a delinquent minor                      
 under this act based on the minor's commission of an act                      
 and furtherance of a criminal activity, breaking a                            
 controlled substance act, participating in gang                               
 activities, or violating Illinois weapons statutes.                           
 Number 1558                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT commended the Illinois legislation, and             
 stated that he spoke with members of the Illinois state government            
 this morning and he was not able find any evidence that they have             
 jeopardized their federal funds.                                              
 REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT concluded by reading part of Governor               
 Knowles' State of the State address, in which the Governor speaks             
 on dealing with the crime problem in Alaska.  The Governor                    
 identified four different things which he planned to attack.                  
 Number One on the list was:                                                   
 Crack down on youth violence.  We have laws from the                         
 `Leave it to Beaver' era for thugs from the `Terminator'                      
 age.  We must get police and prosecutors the tools to                         
 attack gangs and youth violence and increase parental                         
 REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT stated that he was pleased to introduce             
 legislation which is in furtherance of the Governor's legislative             
 aims for this year.                                                           
 Number 1605                                                                   
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked Representative Therriault if the zero fiscal            
 note represents the cost of implementing HB 15 if federal funding             
 is not lost.  REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT answered "yes."                       
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked about the effectiveness of other states'           
 similar legislation.  REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT responded that he             
 was trying to get that information.  He thought the Illinois                  
 legislation was recently passed in 1993, although he could not be             
 sure, and he did not think that there has been time for them to               
 compile data to indicate success or failure.  Representative Brice            
 said, therefore, HESS Committee members do not know whether                   
 publishing names will be a crime deterrent.                                   
 Number 1664                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT said that his interest in this issue was            
 sparked by incidents in Fairbanks.  He showed a color photo,                  
 printed in the Fairbanks News Miner, which showed a vandalized                
 classroom.  This photo was published the day after two schools were           
 vandalized. The resulting damage was estimated at $50,000.                    
 REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT and his staff, therefore, began working             
 on putting deterrents into the juvenile crime system without                  
 generating a large fiscal note.  The result is HB 15.  He would               
 love to have some sort of statewide detention hall system, but he             
 admitted that he did not know how it would be paid for considering            
 that it is a struggle to pay for the current system.                          
 Representative Therriault also said he realizes that he will have             
 to answer the question concerning the potential loss of federal               
 Number 1707                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked Representative Therriault to explain the           
 difference between filing a delinquency petition under AS                     
 47.10.02(a)(2) and adjudicated delinquency.  REPRESENTATIVE                   
 THERRIAULT responded that the actual adjudication consists of the             
 judge making the determination that the charges are legitimate.               
 Representative Brice summarized that it was just upon accusation              
 that information about the minor would be released to the public.             
 REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT said that information about the minor and           
 offenses would be released upon accusation of the second offense.             
 The minor would have to be adjudicated of one offense prior to the            
 current arrest.                                                               
 Number 1755                                                                   
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY noted what has been done in the past is not                   
 working.  She urged HESS Committee members and the audience to get            
 a copy of this weeks' Newsweek magazine, which deals with putting             
 the shame back into children in order to avoid anti-social                    
 behavior.  She said she thinks that HB 15 is a step in the right              
 direction and supports it.  She also thinks that HB 15 may make the           
 parents more likely to address a problem with their child.                    
 REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT said that he can clearly remember in the            
 eighth grade deciding what path he would take.  He chose against              
 the path that would bring disgrace on himself and his family.                 
 Maybe many children do not come to a clear realization of their               
 choices.  Representative Therriault said he believes that HB 15               
 would be a deterrent, however, maybe society has moved along far              
 enough that it will not deter some kids.  He agreed with Co-Chair             
 Toohey that the system which has been in place is not working and             
 changes are necessary.                                                        
 Number 1822                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked if the release of information was at            
 the court's discretion.  REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT replied that               
 unless the court, at the time of the filing of the delinquency                
 petition, for good cause shows reason why the information should              
 not be released, then the information will be released.  The court            
 has some discretion.                                                          
 REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT continued that the way the old statute              
 read was that the court had to show good reason to release                    
 information, and HB 15 changes this so the court must show good               
 reason not to release information.  REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG said it           
 appears to him that HB 15 is more restrictive than the Illinois               
 legislation.  Representative Rokeberg's main concern was with the             
 fact that public awareness was still at the court's discretion.  He           
 was also concerned about the ability of the press to react to this            
 type of information.                                                          
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG felt that the intent of the legislation is            
 to make information available to the public, and he strongly                  
 supports this bill.  However, he expressed concern because if it              
 passed from the HESS Committee, he wanted it to have a speedy                 
 journey through the other committees.  He asked Representative                
 Therriault why he worded the bill the way he did versus making the            
 bill more like the Illinois version, which makes the information              
 public record.                                                                
 REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT said he worded the bill to facilitate its           
 passage through the House.                                                    
 Number  1908                                                                  
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE commented that his understanding what that the           
 information was not at the discretion of the courts, but it was               
 discretionary to keep the name out of public knowledge.  The fact             
 that there is a perception that there is no downside to breaking              
 the law as a juvenile is wholly due to the fact that the Division             
 of Youth and Family Services (DFYS) is continually under attack in            
 terms of funding.  The youth facility is crowded.  In Fairbanks, to           
 be placed in the youth facility, a person must meet the same                  
 requirements as those individuals who are being placed in                     
 McLaughlin, a youth facility in Anchorage.  In Anchorage, however,            
 the law is being interpreted more to the benefit of juveniles                 
 because of overcrowding.  This treatment is not applicable in                 
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE continued that in order to make sure that                
 juveniles get more than a slap on the wrist, adequate funding                 
 should be given to programs in which just punishment is received              
 after the first offense.  In addition, the juvenile should be put             
 into funded programs which deter them from continuing their anti-             
 social behavior.                                                              
 Number 1983                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said that last year, a juvenile waiver bill           
 was passed.  People have recently seen how that is being used in              
 Juneau.  She recommended that time be taken to see how Juneau's               
 program is working.  In this program, a lot of juveniles are going            
 to be waived to the adult facilities and their names will be                  
 published in the paper.  She asked why another step (HB 15) is                
 being taken when a similar step was taken last year.                          
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON reported that there has already been a 200            
 percent increase of juveniles in the adult facility population                
 because of the previously passed legislation.                                 
 Number 2010                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT felt that the program to which                      
 Representative Robinson referred looked at only one end of the                
 spectrum, children that have perpetrated a heinous crime and were             
 placed into adult status.  He was aiming for something in which               
 children are still treated in the juvenile system, but they are               
 given more of a deterrent other than punishment as a adult,                   
 including the sentencing and jail time involved in the adult                  
 REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT worried that the current system                     
 unwittingly reinforces bad habits while individuals are juveniles,            
 and then expects them to behave like adults after their 18th                  
 birthday.  When they don't, the system is shocked by the number of            
 young adults in the adult system.                                             
 Number 2040                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said that in her experience, juveniles did            
 get some level of punishment.  Juneau's correctional institution              
 began as a 21 bed facility for juveniles and women.  Due to the               
 fact that there were so many young people that were being locked              
 up, the facility became overcrowded.  Part of the system is to try            
 to work with the parents and children to get the young person on              
 the right track before their name is published.  Representative               
 Robinson was confused as to which of the kids would end up in the             
 adult institutions if they committed a felony offense.                        
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said that most people thought that last               
 year the only children being waived to the adult facility were                
 those that had committed manslaughter or murder.  In actuality,               
 there is a very large group of young people who had committed                 
 felony offenses who are going to be waived to adult treatment.                
 Number 2096                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT mentioned that a series of memos were in            
 the HESS Committee members' packets.  These were sent to and from             
 Representative Therriault and the Legal Department.  The memos were           
 an attempt to distinguish what implications HB 15 would have on               
 federal funding.  The memo to Deborah Wing, Director of the DFYS,             
 from the Region X (ten) office, talks about its concern about the             
 release of information from Title IV-B and IV-E case files.                   
 REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT said that is specifically why HB 15                 
 stipulates that the courts release information, and not the agency.           
 The agencies still keep their files private.                                  
 REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT wondered if there was a federal law which           
 forbid anyone from publishing information on juvenile offenders.              
 He spoke to reporters and they said if they receive information on            
 a juvenile taken into the system, they can print the name, address            
 and photo of the child if they desire to do so.  It only depends on           
 where they get the information.  They clearly cannot get the                  
 information from the agency files.  But if a reporter has that                
 information, there is nothing that stops them from releasing it.              
 Number 2159                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG commented to Representative Robinson about            
 her statements concerning the urgency in dealing with juvenile                
 crime and violent crime throughout the state.  Perhaps she has the            
 good fortune to live in a lovely community like Juneau, but                   
 unfortunately in the more urban areas of the state, there is a                
 large cry to deal with these problems.  That is one reason why                
 Representative Rokeberg strongly supports HB 15.                              
 Number 2188                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT commented that a number of years ago, he            
 worked with a volunteer police officer from the city of North Pole.           
 In their discussions the officer said that it was very frustrating            
 to pick up a juvenile after he or she had committed some type of              
 crime, and have the child tell the officer, "I don't know why you             
 are wasting your time, I am going to be out on the street before              
 the ink is dry on your report."                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT said that there are some very savvy kids            
 who know how to work the system to their advantage.  They do not              
 see any deterrents in the current system.  Representative                     
 Therriault said he did not know how to identify those kids, but he            
 is looking for something that is a bit more of a deterrent without            
 sweeping the juveniles into the adult system at no cost to the                
 Number 2220                                                                   
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE stated that an additional public safety concern is             
 the awareness of public schools about which children have committed           
 serious crimes.                                                               
 VERNON MARSHALL, Executive Director, National Education Association           
 (NEA) of Alaska, said that last session NEA indicated concern over            
 kids who had violent tendencies and were currently in the court               
 system, and the issue of informing school districts about the                 
 situation.  The outcome of last session's legislation was to make             
 that information available to the administrative officer.                     
 MR. MARSHALL said that NEA receives many reports from teachers and            
 other school employees concerning students with violent tendencies            
 who are sitting in classrooms, and the teacher is unaware of this.            
 Mr. Marshall stated that the purpose of informing the teacher is              
 two-fold, one involves the need to know, and the other involves the           
 structuring of a program in which the teacher can deal with the               
 problem and not the symptoms of the problem.                                  
 MR. MARSHALL said he did not know if HB 15 strengthens those                  
 purposes.  He wondered if a child, in Juneau, is dealt with under             
 HB 15, and the child then moves to another school district, does              
 that information move with the child?  He also wondered if teachers           
 and school employees are informed so they can hopefully structure             
 a program that is inclined to help young people deal with the issue           
 of violence.  Mr. Marshall said curriculum should be investigated             
 which helps children deal with the whole issue of violence.                   
 Tape 95-5, Side B                                                             
 Number 000                                                                    
 MR. MARSHALL stressed that he was not speaking against HB 15.  He             
 was simply raising the question to the HESS Committee members and             
 Representative Therriault whether the bill increases the window of            
 understanding so that systems and teachers are aware that they have           
 potentially difficult children in a classroom that need special               
 Number 042                                                                    
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE stated that HB 15 provides for the information being           
 published, and if teachers and districts find out that information            
 and want to do something with it, they can.  The information will             
 not be specifically sent to school districts.                                 
 REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT said that part of last year's SB 54                 
 specifically says that information shall be made available from the           
 agency to school officials as deemed necessary to protect the                 
 safety of school students and staff.  The fact that in this case,             
 information shall be made available from the agency is an                     
 exception.  He said he spoke to a judge many years ago, and he                
 indicated that the information should be disseminated because part            
 of the basic language in adjudicating delinquents allows for the              
 sharing of that information.                                                  
 REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT was not sure whether that important                 
 information actually makes it down to the principal's level.                  
 Certainly, a principal would like to know which students have been            
 caught on offenses such as weapons offenses.  A principal may be              
 more mindful of that child.  However, Representative Therriault               
 also expressed an understanding of the need to balance that                   
 watchful behavior, so the child does not become stigmatized.                  
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said that not only should the information be                   
 disseminated to the principal's level, but also to the teacher's              
 Number 173                                                                    
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked Mr. Vernon if he felt HB 15 was a start in              
 the right direction, and if he supported the placing of a further             
 burden on the juvenile and the family if they have indeed done                
 something wrong.                                                              
 MR. MARSHALL said "yes," and he felt that generally teachers have             
 a decent view of potentially violent kids as early as the                     
 kindergarten years.  Mr. Marshall was careful not to discount a               
 teenager who suddenly finds him or herself in trouble.  Society is            
 definitely changing, and eight and nine year olds are committing              
 felony crimes.  Mr. Marshall said that a serious look should be               
 taken at Alaska's children, and attention should be given to                  
 teacher's views of these children.  Mr. Marshall strongly believes            
 that violent behavior can be seen at an early age.                            
 MR. MARSHALL continued that he was not trying to add another burden           
 to the public education system.  The school is one of the few                 
 settings left in which to deal with the issue of student violence,            
 but the schools are going to need help in order to do this.                   
 Alternatives can be developed which are designed to keep kids in              
 schools, in addition to condemning violence and disruption in the             
 Number 325                                                                    
 MR. MARSHALL said families exist, in society, that have different             
 value systems from the norm, it is difficult to change those value            
 systems.  HB 15 is one step, but it will not correct the problem.             
 The problem will still exist, HB 15 will just have the public know            
 about the problem.  Mr. Marshall asked, can a program be designed             
 to intervene at early ages so families and children are brought               
 together to help the child overcome potential anti-social behavior?           
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY said that she left New York City in 1957, and they            
 were in the middle of a ten year study on children in the New York            
 public school system.  At the end of that study, they determined              
 that by the second grade they could tell what the child was going             
 to turn out to be.  The study was killed because people did not               
 want their children to be labeled as a delinquent.  But the point             
 was that the child was labeled a delinquent unless there was                  
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY continued that what society must do is intervene in           
 the first and second grades.                                                  
 Number 423                                                                    
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said he did not know if public condemnation will               
 work.  However, years ago he was stationed in Europe with the U.S.            
 Army, and he thought the U.S. Army was gathering up all the misfits           
 and sending them to Europe because there were so many G.I.s doing             
 so many bizarre crimes.  It finally occurred to Co-Chair Bunde that           
 those G.I.s were far from home, and their families and their                  
 communities did not know what they were doing.  Public condemnation           
 does have an effect.  The lack of it may produce more misbehavior             
 than the reverse.                                                             
 Number 500                                                                    
 ELMER LINDSTROM, Special Assistant to Commissioner Karen Perdue,              
 Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS), reminded committee           
 members of Governor Knowles' promise to look at the criminal                  
 justice system.                                                               
 MR. LINDSTROM said the issue of federal funding has been studied              
 many times, and DHSS believes that the federal government would               
 sanction DFYS in FY96 if HB 15 should be passed.  The amount                  
 sanctioned would be about $6,086,700 of Title IV funds.  As                   
 recently as that afternoon, DHSS had talked to the federal                    
 government and they said DFYS would be sanctioned if HB 15 is                 
 passed.  There is a lot of confusion and misunderstandings                    
 concerning the complexities of the federal laws and what other                
 states may or may not be doing.  To the best of his knowledge,                
 based on conversations with the federal government as recently as             
 this afternoon, the passage of HB 15 would result in the loss of              
 over $6 million in federal funds to the state.                                
 MR. LINDSTROM said on that basis, there is a series of fiscal notes           
 in the HESS Committee members' packets which represents the cost to           
 the state should the federal funding be stopped.  The federal funds           
 would be replaced with state general funds to maintain the current            
 level of services and operations in place at the division.  The               
 Title IV funds permeate the entire division.  They fund social                
 workers and probation officers, administrative functions,                     
 residential care, etc.  Given the magnitude of the loss that would            
 occur, the DFYS cannot support the bill.                                      
 Number 660                                                                    
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked Mr. Lindstrom if he found any problems with             
 the bill if funding was not lost.  MR. LINDSTROM stated that his              
 department has not had a policy discussion.  They have only focused           
 on the fact that they will lose funding if the bill is passed.                
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said that her understanding was that most             
 first time felony offenders were going to get some type of                    
 adjudication and be placed into some type of system.  She was again           
 referring to the large number of individuals in Juneau waived to              
 the adult facilities.                                                         
 Number 773                                                                    
 MR. LINDSTROM said that HB 15 is much broader than SB 54 was in               
 terms of automatic waiver provisions.  Those apply to children who            
 are juveniles who would be charged with unclassified or Class A               
 felonies against a person.  That population of children is smaller            
 than those distinguished in HB 15, which simply refers to all                 
 KATHY TIBBLES, Acting Director, Division of Family and Youth                  
 Services, testified that the large number of felonies covered under           
 HB 15 include such crimes as failure to assist a police officer.              
 She did not have the information, at hand, to determine numbers of            
 youth affected in HB 15 versus the unclassified felonies against              
 people that receive an automatic waiver into adult treatment and              
 facilities.  She did not know how many names would be published.              
 Number 818                                                                    
 MS. TIBBLES felt it was a little early for the division to answer             
 what effectiveness SB 54 waiver possibilities have had with regard            
 to deterrence because it is relatively new and the youth in Juneau            
 are the first ones to experience what happens when you are 16 and             
 commit such a crime.                                                          
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked for an estimation on how many kids              
 end up at the Miller House or a similar juvenile detention                    
 facility.  Representative Robinson recounted a case in which a                
 young person honored in Juneau's Fourth of July parade for service            
 during the Gulf War committed a felony offense when he was 17 by              
 breaking out a window at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)            
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON continued that there is an opinion that               
 juveniles are not penalized after their first offense, and they all           
 just end up back in the school system.  Obviously, the jails are              
 full and something is happening.  DHSS Commissioner Perdue made a             
 comment at the House HESS overview that often the bad children are            
 focused on, and not the good children, and laws are created to deal           
 with the bad kids without looking at the best interests of the good           
 MS. TIBBLES said that her understanding is a felony crime is almost           
 always petitioned upon.  A lot of kids that end up in detention               
 centers and are subsequently released had misdemeanor offenses.               
 There are a lot of kids who cannot be detained on their offense,              
 such as minor consuming offenses.  But if there is a felony crime             
 committed, there is a petition filed.  It may not result in                   
 commitment to the McLaughlin Youth Center, but a petition is filed.           
 MS. TIBBLES offered to check the records and provide Representative           
 Robinson with statistics on the number of felony charges and the              
 number of petitions.  Given that Johnson Youth Center is a short              
 term detention facility, and has been exceeding capacity                      
 considerably all year, Ms. Tibbles would think that kids from                 
 Southeast are ending up in detention centers.                                 
 Number 974                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked Ms. Tibbles how she would work with             
 school districts and the impression of the school board                       
 administrators that the school districts never hear about these               
 cases.  Representative Robinson asked if this situation was                   
 occurring currently.                                                          
 MS. TIBBLES thought a variance exists in different parts of the               
 state in terms of working relationships.  It is very likely with              
 probation officers and social workers that there is discussion                
 between school counselors, and there is discussion between teachers           
 in all the educational meetings.  It is very likely the principals            
 are unaware of a lot of those issues.                                         
 DFYS is often criticized by teachers due to reports of harm, abuse            
 and neglect that are not addressed by DFYS.  Given the workloads of           
 probation officers, social workers and teachers, communication is             
 difficult.  There are definitely areas where DFYS can improve.                
 Number 1052                                                                   
 MS. TIBBLES continued that SB 54 gave DFYS a much larger ability to           
 share information.  Information was being shared previously on a              
 need to know basis because of regulations DFYS developed that were            
 in conflict with state law that said only a court could release               
 information.  DFYS has only had SB 54 in effect since September,              
 1994.  It has been sent out to staff with the message that they               
 must have greater flexibility and awareness must be increased.                
 They are no longer so tightly bound by confidentiality.  DFYS has             
 begun working with the Department of Law in drafting the new                  
 regulations so they better conform with SB 54.  Then policy and               
 procedure will be put into place.                                             
 In the interim, Ms. Tibbles is attempting to draft some temporary             
 policy and procedures to assist staff in being more consistent                
 statewide.  There is work to be done, but DFYS believes it has the            
 ability to do this work with the regulations in place and the                 
 policies and procedures working currently.                                    
 Number 1105                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said that there is obviously a debate                 
 whether DFYS or the Department of Law is right concerning the loss            
 of federal funding.  She asked why the discrepancy exists.                    
 MS. TIBBLES replied that perhaps the discussion about why some                
 states are releasing information and why DFYS is maintaining that             
 it cannot may help.  The reason that Region X said that information           
 is protected as long as it is within the agency is that Alaska is             
 one of the very few states where delinquents are placed in the same           
 agency as children in need of aid.  The Title IV-A and IV-B                   
 requirements cover all children in the population DFYS serves,                
 which includes delinquents.  The DFYS meets similar criteria for              
 delinquents in terms of trying to work with families to keep kids             
 at home, and trying to make sure they have the same procedural                
 Number 1179                                                                   
 In order to keep the Title IV-A funding, while the delinquents are            
 in the DFYS system, their information must be safeguarded along               
 with the information for all the other children DFYS serves.  Most            
 other states do not have juvenile delinquency in the same                     
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked Ms. Tibbles if it was simply the "paperwork"            
 causing the problem.  Ms. Tibbles said that it is the programs                
 which would have to be in different departments.                              
 Number 1223                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT said that the wording of the bill                   
 specifically breaks out children in need of aid.  This was left so            
 the court would have to specifically authorize a release of                   
 information.  This is under the current statute.  The old statute             
 allowed for the sharing of this information, and it was somewhat              
 problematic.  The new statute says that the agency records can be             
 shared with school officials, not the court records.  Because of              
 that concern over the agency records, Representative Therriault               
 decided that the agency's records would be left alone.  HB 15 would           
 only deal with court record information.                                      
 REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT thought that a separation could be built            
 between the courts and the agency, although that might require a              
 lot of legal finesse.  However, it would seem that there would have           
 been a problem with the old statute and there would be a continuing           
 problem with the new statute that was made into law last year.                
 Number 1289                                                                   
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE noticed that HB 15 has two more committees of                  
 referral.  Having had some experience with the Judiciary Committee,           
 Co-Chair Bunde thought the legal arguments will be highly                     
 dissected.  With that in mind, he asked for a motion to move the              
 bill onto the next committee of referral.                                     
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY moved that the bill be passed with the accompanying           
 fiscal notes to the next committee.                                           
 Number 1315                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON objected to the motion.  She believed                 
 strongly that it is the responsibility of the HESS Committee to               
 completely understand what HB 15 does and the effect it will have             
 on the budget.  She did not think it was appropriate to shift the             
 bill to another committee to discover necessary facts.  The HESS              
 Committee is the one that looks at the DHSS and its needs.                    
 In addition, she would not have a problem with a law that opens up            
 communications with the school districts and counselors.  However,            
 she was uncertain whether it was good to have the public know                 
 information about juvenile offenders.  In small communities, such             
 information may jeopardize the family and the child who is trying             
 to get help.  There are many reasons why children commit crimes.              
 Sometimes the reasons are alcohol and drug abuse, sometimes the               
 child itself is being abused.                                                 
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON concluded that HESS Committee members                 
 should wait and see what the possibilities were for the loss of               
 federal funding.  There is no way the operations of the juvenile              
 justice system can continue if $6 million are lost.  It is                    
 difficult for the agency to function on the funding it currently              
 has.  The reason there is currently a delay in actions is because             
 the Anchorage office is overburdened.                                         
 Number 1419                                                                   
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE was sure the Finance Committee will look at those              
 issues very closely.  He stated that another issue was whether                
 public information resulted in the branding of children or the                
 allowance of a community to protect itself from young delinquents.            
 His vote will reflect that he thinks the community should protect             
 itself rather than allow a cushion of anonymity which might                   
 encourage further crime.                                                      
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE repeated that a motion was made to pass the bill and           
 a roll call vote was taken.  Those voting for the passage were                
 Representatives Toohey, Bunde, Davis and Rokeberg.  Those voting              
 against were Representatives Robinson and Brice.                              
 Number 1474                                                                   
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE announced that after a vote of six to two, HB 15               
 would be passed from the HESS Committee with individual                       

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