Legislature(2001 - 2002)

04/24/2001 03:08 PM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 247-DETENTION OF DELINQUENT MINORS                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON  announced that the  next order of business  would be                                                               
HOUSE  BILL  NO.  247,  "An  Act relating  to  the  detention  of                                                               
delinquent minors  and to temporary detention  hearings; amending                                                               
Rule  12,   Alaska  Delinquency  Rules;  and   providing  for  an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 1380                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MEYER, Alaska  State Legislature, came forth                                                               
as sponsor of HB 247 and said:                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     The State  of Alaska receives federal  grant funding to                                                                    
     implement  mandates  of   the  Juvenile  Justice  [and]                                                                    
     Delinquency Prevention Act of  1974.  And Alaska stands                                                                    
     to  lose  $168,000  of federal  funds  because  of  the                                                                    
     number of  youth temporarily held  in rural  and remote                                                                    
     jails  throughout  Alaska  prior to  an  initial  court                                                                    
     hearing  and transport  to a  youth facility.  ... [For                                                                    
     example], when a juvenile commits  a serious offense in                                                                    
     a rural or remote community [he  or she] may need to be                                                                    
     detained upon  arrest in order  to protect  the public,                                                                    
     depending on what the juvenile has done.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     ...  There  are  only six  juvenile  detention  centers                                                                    
     through  Alaska,  so   serious  juvenile  offenders  in                                                                    
     remote  communities  often  end  up  in  village  adult                                                                    
     lockup facilities  or jails awaiting ...  relocation to                                                                    
     a juvenile facility.   Federal regulations require that                                                                    
     juveniles in adult facilities not  be held more that 24                                                                    
     hours; however,  the regulations also allow  a state to                                                                    
     extend those  time limits  because of  adverse weather,                                                                    
     limited transportation  options, and  other conditions,                                                                    
     which certainly pertain to us  here in Alaska.  Such an                                                                    
     extension is  only available,  though, in  states where                                                                    
     juveniles  must make  an  initial  appearance in  court                                                                    
     within 24 hours of arrest.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     ... House Bill 247  would require an initial appearance                                                                    
     in court  within 24  hours, instead  of the  current 48                                                                    
     hours  ... for  juveniles placed  in an  adult jail  or                                                                    
     lockup,   and  would   place  the   federal  regulation                                                                    
     exception language  into state  statute.   [This] would                                                                    
     then secure the federal  funds that we most desperately                                                                    
     need.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 1479                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
ROBERT   BUTTCANE,   Legislative  and   Administrative   Liaison,                                                               
Division  of  Juvenile Justice,  Department  of  Health &  Social                                                               
Services, came  forth and pointed  out that this bill  would only                                                               
impact the process  for juveniles held in adult  facilities.  The                                                               
48-hour arraignment schedule that applies  to those that are held                                                               
in  the juvenile  facilities would  not be  changed.   This would                                                               
afford some additional  rights to juveniles who are  held in "bad                                                               
beds" for  the court to  have the  opportunity to make  sure [the                                                               
youth] are  being treated properly,  and to encourage  the system                                                               
to move  them as  quickly and safely  as is  practically possible                                                               
into  one  of the  juvenile  facilities.    He stated  that  this                                                               
doesn't happen to an extensive number  of cases in the state, but                                                               
when it does, it jeopardizes the federal funding.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON  asked if there is  a track record of  children being                                                               
abused while being held in adult facilities.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. BUTTCANE  responded that he  cannot say he is  directly aware                                                               
of  that.    [The  Division  of Juvenile  Justice]  does  have  a                                                               
contract with the University of  Alaska Anchorage Justice Center,                                                               
which annually  tracks all of the  juveniles who are held  in the                                                               
adult facilities.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  DYSON  asked  why  this   is  occurring  so  late  in  the                                                               
[legislative] session.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. BUTTCANE stated that he does not have the answer for that.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 1614                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA  asked if  there is a  protocol for  when a                                                               
minor is placed in an adult prison.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BUTTCANE responded  yes, that  training is  provided to  the                                                               
rural jail  supervisors.  He  said there are some  specific rules                                                               
such as that  juveniles are not to  be put in the  same cell with                                                               
adults and that there ideally is  sight and sound separation.  He                                                               
said  there are  situations  in  which jails  are  small and  may                                                               
consist of  one or two  rooms.   When that happens,  the juvenile                                                               
may be  in one room and  the adult in the  other.  He said  he is                                                               
aware that  some jails will  release adult prisoners in  order to                                                               
hold juvenile  offenders pending transport into  a regional youth                                                               
facility.   He  stated that  there are  supervision requirements,                                                               
time-schedule requirements as  to how often the  youths should be                                                               
checked,    juvenile    probation   and    parent    notification                                                               
requirements, and  requirements that the youth  be transported as                                                               
quickly and  safely as  is practical.   He  noted that  last year                                                               
signs were printed  up that outlined some of the  major rules and                                                               
were sent to  each community with an adult holding  facility.  He                                                               
stated that  there is follow-up  paper work  that is sent  to the                                                               
division as well as the University of Alaska.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON stated  that  in  her district,  Wrangell,                                                               
there are several  times when a juvenile is held,  but because of                                                               
weather, planes  can't get out.   She asked  if this would  be an                                                               
uncontrollable reason [for holding a juvenile].                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. BUTTCANE answered that she was  correct.  He stated that this                                                               
bill is  not asking  that juveniles be  held in  these facilities                                                               
any  longer; it  is  an  opportunity to  allow  [the Division  of                                                               
Juvenile  Justice] to  claim  some  administrative exemptions  in                                                               
order to continue receiving federal funding.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 1802                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MEYER  stated that one  of the changes  being made                                                               
in the bill  is that in order to keep  the juveniles longer, they                                                               
have to  be given a  court hearing  within 24 hours;  the current                                                               
state law is  48 [hours].  He  added that there is  a zero fiscal                                                               
note; however,  by having these  court hearings within  24 hours,                                                               
the hearings could  be held on the weekends, which  could mean an                                                               
additional cost.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL asked if  magistrate access is anticipated                                                               
in the more remote areas.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. BUTTCANE responded that the  court can appoint magistrates to                                                               
hear children's cases  in emergencies.  Sometimes  the court will                                                               
appoint  standing masters  for ongoing  children's cases.   If  a                                                               
local community does  have a magistrate, the  juvenile taken into                                                               
custody   will  oftentimes   make   an   appearance  before   the                                                               
magistrate.  However, other parties  might be there by telephone.                                                               
In communities that don't have  a magistrate, someone will appear                                                               
on the phone  from a regional hub.   He stated that  based on the                                                               
fiscal  year  2000  cases  in  which  children  were  taken  into                                                               
custody, there would have been  an additional 31 cases that would                                                               
have required  an appearance in  court one day earlier  than what                                                               
is allowed now.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 1968                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOULE moved  to report  HB 247  out of  committee                                                               
with individual recommendations and  the accompanying zero fiscal                                                               
notes.   There being no  objection, HB  247 moved from  the House                                                               
Health, Education and Social Services Standing Committee.                                                                       

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