Legislature(2019 - 2020)GRUENBERG 120
04/11/2019 03:00 PM STATE AFFAIRS
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|Confirmations(s) Hearing|| Commissioner, Department of Public Safety|
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 118-OFFENDER REENTRY PLANNING BY CORRECTIONS 4:27:25 PM CO-CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS announced that the final order of business would be HOUSE BILL NO. 118, "An Act relating to the duties of the commissioner of corrections; and relating to planning for prisoner reentry." [Before the committee was the committee substitute (CS) for HB 118, Version S, adopted on 4/4/19.] 4:27:39 PM The committee took an at-ease from 4:28 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. 4:30:15 PM CO-CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS opened public testimony on HB 118, Version S. 4:31:27 PM KATIE BOTZ testified that she is tired of the criminals returning to the communities and reoffending. She expressed her belief that DOC needs to be tougher on the offenders. [Due to poor sound quality, portions of the audio are indiscernible throughout.] 4:34:22 PM DON HABEGAR, Community Coordinator, Juneau Reentry Coalition, stated that the coalition supports written case management plans that begin in the institution and follow the offender into the community. The plans are excellent roadmaps that help structure reentry: they get the offender to treatments that are required and needed; they help find suitable housing for the individual; and they provide excellent collaboration with DOC, services, and the community. CO-CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS closed public testimony on HB 118, Version S. 4:36:06 PM REPRESENTATIVE VANCE asked whether the changes under Version S would be achievable for DOC to be able to implement soon. 4:36:39 PM KELLY GOODE, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Corrections, answered that DOC worked with the sponsor to ensure that the changes could be implemented. She stated that the changes are achievable; the reporting guidelines under Version S can be performed without fiscal impact. REPRESENTATIVE WOOL asked whether the reporting and other requirements under Version S constitute a good use of DOC resources. MS. GOODE stated that under the original version of HB 118, the reporting requirements would have been onerous to the department; however, Version S amended them. She said that the report will show how many active offender management plans (OMPs) are in the system at one time, how many new OMPs began during the year, and how many OMPs were updated. She maintained that reporting the number of plans that are updated gives the legislature a sense of regular work on the plans. REPRESENTATIVE WOOL asked whether every offender who is in an institution for 90 days participates in a plan; that is, do 100 percent of the offenders participate in a plan, or are there some who opt out or don't need a plan. MS. GOODE responded that the plan does not apply to everyone; only those ranking medium or high risk on the Level of Service Inventory (LSI-R); they are the ones that DOC knows need OMPs. In answer to Representative Wool's second question, Ms. Goode said that DOC cannot force anyone to participate in a plan; DOC can encourage, incentivize, and work with an inmate. There are some inmates who are not interested in plans; but an inmate still has a plan if the LSI-R rates the individual as needing one; the inmate may or may not work the plan. She added that the report would only include those incarcerated 90 days or longer; the reason is that giving numbers on short-term inmates, who most likely would not have worked on a plan, would skew the numbers. This ensures plans are being written for the appropriate inmates and gives the legislature the data it desires. 4:41:15 PM REPRESENTATIVE STORY referred to page 4, lines 14-24, of HB 118, Version S, and asked whether the data in the report would include the services that the inmates received and information about which services were most helpful. MS. GOODE responded that if they attempted to report on services that inmates with OMPs received, the numbers would be skewed. She gave an example: for an inmate with a master's degree, there would be no reason for DOC to work with that inmate on the education component of an OMP; the report would count that inmate in the number that is not receiving education services, yet, not be able to tell the reason why DOC is not providing this service. REPRESENTATIVE STORY said that she was interested in knowing whether the services called for in the plans were received and whether the OMPs made a difference. MS. GOODE answered that all the services - substance abuse, mental health care, education - are recorded in the OMPS, but would not be in the report to the legislature under Version S. 4:44:39 PM CO-CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS asked about the 99-year threshold on page 3, lines 5-6, of HB 118, Version S. CO-CHAIR FIELDS explained that the threshold reflects the fact that some sentences are very long, yet the inmate still may be released at some point; it makes sense that these individuals participate in an OMP. REPRESENTATIVE STORY asked about Alaska's available services and resources offered. CO-CHAIR FIELDS responded that DOC sent him a list of services by institution; they vary by staff and infrastructure. He will provide her with that list. REPRESENTATIVE WOOL asked whether the reporting requirement under Version S would be indefinite. CO-CHAIR FIELDS replied that Version S would not create a new reporting requirement; it would be modifying an existing reporting requirement. He referred to the report in the committee packet, entitled "Joint Annual Report on Recidivism Reduction Fiscal Year 2018," to point out the existing report. The new report would be linked to the existing report. REPRESENTATIVE STORY stated that she supports the proposed legislation. CO-CHAIR FIELDS thanked the contributing agencies. 4:49:05 PM REPRESENTATIVE WOOL moved to report the CS for HB 118, Version 31-LS0724\S, Radford, 4/3/19, out of committee with individual recommendations and the accompanying fiscal notes. There being no objection, CSHB 118(STA) was reported from the House State Affairs Standing Committee. CO-CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS spoke about confirmations that have been referred to House State Affairs Standing Committee.