Legislature(2019 - 2020)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

03/04/2019 01:30 PM JUDICIARY

Note: the audio and video recordings are distinct records and are obtained from different sources. As such there may be key differences between the two. The audio recordings are captured by our records offices as the official record of the meeting and will have more accurate timestamps. Use the icons to switch between them.

Download Mp3. <- Right click and save file as

* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved CSSSSB 12(JUD) Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
Scheduled but Not Heard
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
          SB 34-PROBATION; PAROLE; SENTENCES; CREDITS                                                                       
2:41:10 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES reconvened the meeting  and announced that the final                                                               
order of business  would be SENATE BILL NO. 34,  "An Act relating                                                               
to  probation; relating  to a  program  allowing probationers  to                                                               
earn  credits for  complying with  the  conditions of  probation;                                                               
relating to  early termination of probation;  relating to parole;                                                               
relating  to a  program  allowing parolees  to  earn credits  for                                                               
complying  with  the  conditions  of parole;  relating  to  early                                                               
termination of parole; relating  to eligibility for discretionary                                                               
parole; relating  to good  time; and  providing for  an effective                                                               
2:42:35 PM                                                                                                                    
JOHN  SKIDMORE,  Director,  Criminal  Division,  Central  Office,                                                               
Department  of Law,  Anchorage, stated  that this  bill considers                                                               
probation  and parole  and tries  to  improve on  the system.  He                                                               
summarized it as  an attempt to return  appropriate discretion to                                                               
probation  officers, judges,  and to  the parole  board. He  said                                                               
that the  bill touches  on five major  areas, including  caps for                                                               
technical  violations,  earned  compliance credits  and  how  the                                                               
state  uses them  for  probation and  parole.  It also  considers                                                               
early termination and when it  should be recommended or required,                                                               
discretionary   parole   in   terms  of   eligibility   and   the                                                               
presumptions  for discretionary  parole,  and  whether good  time                                                               
should be allowed  when offenders are serving  time on electronic                                                               
He offered to transition to the sectional analysis of SB 34.                                                                    
2:44:06 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. SKIDMORE turned to pages 1-2, to Sections 1 and 2 of SB 34.                                                                 
       Section 1: Eliminates language related to caps on                                                                        
     technical violations of probation under AS 12.55.110.                                                                      
       Section 2: Eliminates language related to caps on                                                                        
     technical violations of probation under AS 12.55.110.                                                                      
He  said  that  these  are conforming  amendments  for  technical                                                               
2:44:36 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  HUGHES  asked  for further  clarification  on  parole  and                                                               
probation  and  to define  discretion  versus  mandatory for  the                                                               
2:45:32 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  SKIDMORE  answered  that probation  and  parole  relates  to                                                               
offenders who are  sentenced in Alaska to serve a  period of time                                                               
in  jail. The  offender can  be  released from  jail earlier  for                                                               
parole. For example,  if offenders are sentenced  for three years                                                               
to serve, the individuals would  be eligible for the parole board                                                               
to consider  eligibility for  discretionary parole  after serving                                                               
one  year. Once  offenders reach  the two-year  mark, they  shift                                                               
from  discretionary  parole,  where the  parole  board  considers                                                               
applications and  determines whether  candidates are a  good risk                                                               
to be  released into the community  to begin the transition  to a                                                               
productive member  of society. Mandatory parole  is also referred                                                               
to as  good time, which  relates to the concept  that individuals                                                               
in a  Department of Correction's  facility who have  followed the                                                               
rules and behave or are "good,"  and then they are released after                                                               
they  have served  approximately two-thirds  of the  sentence. He                                                               
recapped  that  describes  discretionary  parole,  and  mandatory                                                               
parole  also  known  as  good  time. That  is  juxtaposed  or  in                                                               
contrast to probation.                                                                                                          
MR. SKIDMORE  explained that probation refers  to individuals who                                                               
have served all  of their sentence in a  correctional facility or                                                               
while  on parole  and  the  court has  also  suspended time.  For                                                               
example, a judge  may sentence offenders to five  years, with two                                                               
years  suspended,  with  three  years  to  serve.  He  said  that                                                               
offenders with three years to  serve, as just described, would be                                                               
placed  on  parole.  Once  the  individuals  are  back  into  the                                                               
community and off parole, they are on probation.                                                                                
He highlighted that the probationary  period could range from one                                                               
to  five  years,  depending  on the  offense  and  the  allowable                                                               
probation  time  by  law.  During   probation,  using  the  above                                                               
scenario,  the two  years that  were suspended  is the  potential                                                               
sanction that  could be  imposed. Each  time a  probation officer                                                               
files a  petition to  revoke probation, the  court would  hold an                                                               
arraignment.  The  court  would  hear the  allegations,  hold  an                                                               
adjudication or  fact-finding phase, and ultimately  would hold a                                                               
disposition  hearing and  impose  a sanction  if  a violation  is                                                               
found. It  is the  imposition of this  sanction that  would amend                                                               
some or  all of the  two-year period.  The court can  also impose                                                               
additional  sanctions, including  amending or  altering probation                                                               
conditions. For  example, the court may  add additional reporting                                                               
requirements or  other requirements.  He acknowledged  parole and                                                               
probation are two different concepts.                                                                                           
2:49:48 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES  summarized that  she thinks of  parole as  being in                                                               
lieu of jail time and probation as in addition to jail time.                                                                    
MR. SKIDMORE agreed.                                                                                                            
2:50:24 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MICCICHE asked  whether it would be  possible for someone                                                               
to be  released early for  discretionary or mandatory  parole but                                                               
still have probation associated with a suspended sentence.                                                                      
MR. SKIDMORE answered yes.                                                                                                      
2:50:56 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES, with respect to  probation and parole provisions in                                                               
SB 34, asked  him to estimate the percentage of  repeal of Senate                                                               
Bill 91.                                                                                                                        
MR.  SKIDMORE answered  that  the provisions  in  Senate Bill  91                                                               
related  to probation  and parole  are  touched on  and most  are                                                               
repealed.  One exception  is for  earned compliance  credits that                                                               
did not exist prior to Senate Bill  91, he said. He added that in                                                               
SB 34 the amount of earned  compliance credits is reduced but not                                                               
CHAIR HUGHES asked whether geriatric parole is maintained.                                                                      
MR. SKIDMORE answered that parole  for those who are incarcerated                                                               
who reach an advanced age  and have certain medical conditions is                                                               
maintained. In  response to Chair  Hughes, he estimated  about 95                                                               
percent of the 2016 crime bill is rolled back or repealed.                                                                      
2:53:17 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. SKIDMORE  turned to Section  3 of the sectional  analysis for                                                               
SB 34 and referred to pages 2-3 of the bill.                                                                                    
     Section  3: Makes  the  recommendation  of a  probation                                                                    
     officer for  early termination of  probation permissive                                                                    
     and at  the discretion  of the probation  officer. Also                                                                    
     eliminates the timeline for  when such a recommendation                                                                    
     must   be   made.   Maintains  requirement   that   the                                                                    
     probationer is  in compliance with their  conditions of                                                                    
     probation  and  has  completed   all  of  the  required                                                                    
     treatment programs.  Also maintains the  prohibition on                                                                    
     unclassified  felony,   sexual  felony,   and  domestic                                                                    
     violence  offenders from  being  recommended for  early                                                                    
He explained that prior to  Senate Bill 91, the probation officer                                                               
could  recommend  a minimum  supervision  bank  or recommend  the                                                               
court end probation. He explained  that Senate Bill 91 changed it                                                               
from a  recommendation to a  mandatory requirement.  This removed                                                               
probation  officers'  discretion  and  required them  to  make  a                                                               
"recommendation" to  the court that someone's  probation be ended                                                               
after  12-18 months  if the  person had  met certain  conditions.                                                               
This  removed  the case-by-case  consideration,  but  SB 34  will                                                               
return it to  the probation officers' discretion.  He pointed out                                                               
that crimes such  as assault, drug, sexual, and  theft cases have                                                               
a wide  range of conduct  that can occur. Further,  the offenders                                                               
vary substantially,  in terms of ages,  prior criminal histories,                                                               
support  networks and  other  factors, so  it  is important  that                                                               
probation officers have discretion  to consider these factors. He                                                               
recapped that Section 3 allows  probation officers to make a true                                                               
recommendation  about  when  someone should  be  terminated  from                                                               
probation early.                                                                                                                
2:56:17 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  KIEHL  asked  for   further  clarification  on  training                                                               
probation officers  on identifying recidivism and  community risk                                                               
and to assess how the training works and is delivered.                                                                          
2:57:04 PM                                                                                                                    
JENNIFER WINKELMAN,  Director, Division of Probation  and Parole,                                                               
Department of Corrections (DOC),  Juneau, answered that probation                                                               
officers must do  a risk needs assessment called  an LSI-R [Level                                                               
of  Service  Inventory-Revised]  to identify  the  caseload  risk                                                               
needs.  She explained  that probation  officers receive  training                                                               
through  the academy  and  ongoing training  to  ensure the  risk                                                               
assessments are being addressed appropriately.                                                                                  
SENATOR KIEHL  asked whether statistical  data or  reviews inform                                                               
the department on how well that works.                                                                                          
MS. WINKELMAN  answered that the Department  of Corrections (DOC)                                                               
just received the  results of a validation study in  the last few                                                               
weeks  that examined  the  risk needs  assessment  of the  Alaska                                                               
population. She said this is  normed to the Alaska population and                                                               
ensuring an inter-rater officer  reliability amongst the officers                                                               
and in terms of recidivism.                                                                                                     
2:59:12 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KIEHL asked  whether the recommendations are  made to the                                                               
court or to the parole board.                                                                                                   
CHAIR HUGHES commented that probation  is involved with the court                                                               
and  the  parole board  is  the  decision  maker. She  asked  Mr.                                                               
Skidmore if that was correct.                                                                                                   
MR.   SKIDMORE    answered   yes.   He   said    that   probation                                                               
[recommendations   are   made]   to    the   court   and   parole                                                               
[recommendations are made to the parole board.                                                                                  
3:00:09 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KIEHL asked where the  discretionary loss has occurred if                                                               
lawyers are coming before the  court just as they did previously.                                                               
He  asked  for  further  clarification on  the  reason  for  this                                                               
CHAIR HUGHES  paused to asked  members to hold questions  and dig                                                               
in later  to allow  Mr. Skidmore to  continue with  the sectional                                                               
MR.  SKIDMORE answered  that the  discretion  being discussed  in                                                               
this  section is  not  the discretion  of the  court  but of  the                                                               
probation officer,  who would determine whether  a recommendation                                                               
is appropriate.  Currently, the  law requires  probation officers                                                               
to make  a recommendation even if  the officer does not  think it                                                               
is a  good idea. This change  would return the discretion  to the                                                               
probation officer.                                                                                                              
3:02:13 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. SKIDMORE turned to Section 4 of SB 34.                                                                                      
     Section 4:  Reduces amount of  time that  a probationer                                                                    
     may  decrease  their  length   of  probation  for  good                                                                    
     behavior  to one  day for  every three  days without  a                                                                    
MR.  SKIDMORE  said this  section  relates  to earned  compliance                                                               
credits for probation. Prior to  Senate Bill 91 earned compliance                                                               
credits did  not exist.  Offenders were  placed on  probation and                                                               
served  the   probation  period  unless  the   probation  officer                                                               
recommended  early termination.  He said  that earned  compliance                                                               
credits provides the concept of a  carrot in addition to a stick.                                                               
He explained this is designed  to provide an incentive to behave.                                                               
For example,  for every  30-day period  that individuals  did not                                                               
incur any violations, probation could  be reduced by an equal 30-                                                               
day  period. Essentially,  those  who served  the  first half  of                                                               
their probation  without any violations  would be  off probation.                                                               
This section  would shift the  calculation from one day  for each                                                               
day  to one  day for  every three  days without  a violation.  It                                                               
would also require the DOC to  consult with the Department of Law                                                               
(DOL) and the  Department of Public Safety  (DPS) in establishing                                                               
an  earned  compliance  credit  program.  In  response  to  Chair                                                               
Hughes, he  agreed that a  third could  be shaved off  instead of                                                               
half of the probation time.                                                                                                     
CHAIR HUGHES  pointed out  that earned compliance  credit is  time                                                              
off  from probation  and  parole, but  good  time credit  is  time                                                              
trimmed from the jail sentence.                                                                                                 
MR. SKIDMORE agreed.                                                                                                            
3:04:09 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KIEHL asked for further  clarification on the calculation                                                               
and if it would  be the same if it read 10 days  for each 30 days                                                               
or if it works differently.                                                                                                     
MR. SKIDMORE  said it  is similar,  but it is  altered to  one to                                                               
three days to assist the DOC in its calculations.                                                                               
3:04:48 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. SKIDMORE turned to Section 5.                                                                                               
     Section  5:  Prohibits  a  sex  offender  from  earning                                                                    
     credit   against  their   period  of   probation.  Also                                                                    
     mandates  that a  probationer lose  all of  the credits                                                                    
     they have  accrued if  they are  found in  violation of                                                                    
     probation, requiring the accrual to start over.                                                                            
MR. SKIDMORE said this also  relates to earned compliance credits                                                               
for   probation.  This   provision  would   first  limit   earned                                                               
compliance  credits  so as  not  to  apply  to sex  offenses.  He                                                               
explained  that  the  department  uses a  containment  model  for                                                               
probation  to  carefully monitor  offenders,  but  it only  works                                                               
while the  offender is on  probation. However,  earned compliance                                                               
credits allow a probationer to  be removed from probation earlier                                                               
for  compliance. In  other types  of cases  this is  appropriate;                                                               
however, for  sex offenses the  department wants to  maintain the                                                               
containment model as much as possible to reduce recidivism.                                                                     
He said  that it would  also consider  when a person  has accrued                                                               
earned compliance credits over time  for time without violations.                                                               
If the person violates, the person  would still retain all of the                                                               
earned  compliance credits  that had  accrued up  to that  point.                                                               
This provision would mandate that  the probationer would lose all                                                               
of the  credits that had accrued  if the person had  a subsequent                                                               
probation  violation.  He  explained  that this  would  keep  the                                                               
incentive building  to stay in  compliance. In response  to Chair                                                               
Hughes, he  said that earned  compliance credits would  not apply                                                               
to sex offenders, but it would apply to everyone else.                                                                          
3:07:10 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  MICCICHE said  some people  have  expressed concern.  It                                                               
does  not seem  to have  a scale  about the  type of  offense. He                                                               
related a  scenario that  a probationer could  have two  years of                                                               
probation  and at  the end  of probation,  perhaps the  probation                                                               
officer did not like the person,  if the probationer had a slight                                                               
violation,  the  probationer could  lose  all  credits. He  asked                                                               
whether it would be possible  to identify the types of violations                                                               
to avoid abuse.                                                                                                                 
MR.  SKIDMORE explained  that the  committee  could discuss  this                                                               
issue  and  the Department  of  Law  would review  any  suggested                                                               
language.  He  this  concept  is  that  any  violation  would  be                                                               
determined by the court, not  the probation officer. He agreed if                                                               
a probationer had a violation,  the person would lose all credit.                                                               
He has heard  concepts or proposals discussed to  allow the court                                                               
to decide.  However, the  bill is not  currently drafted  in that                                                               
way, but he understands the concept.                                                                                            
SENATOR MICCICHE suggested that he  would review the concept of a                                                               
model prisoner  who has a reset  for a minor violation  to see if                                                               
it is worth evaluating.                                                                                                         
3:09:29 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. SKIDMORE turned to pages 4-5, to Section 6.                                                                                 
     Section  6: Amends  duties of  a  probation officer  to                                                                    
     require that a  probation officer consider recommending                                                                    
     early  termination of  probation.  Also eliminates  the                                                                    
     requirement  to  use  administrative  sanctions  before                                                                    
     filing a petition to revoke.                                                                                               
MR. SKIDMORE  said this requires  probation officers  to consider                                                               
if early termination should be considered at any point in time.                                                                 
3:10:12 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. SKIDMORE turned to Section 7.                                                                                               
     Section 7: Requires an application for discretionary parole                                                                
     to be submitted to the parole board before a person can be                                                                 
     considered for discretionary parole.                                                                                       
MR.  SKIDMORE stated  that this  is the  point in  the bill  that                                                               
shifts from probation  to parole. Previous to Senate  Bill 91, if                                                               
an  inmate wanted  to be  released on  discretionary parole,  the                                                               
person would apply  to the parole board. He  explained that under                                                               
Senate Bill 91,  the requirement that an inmate  apply for parole                                                               
was removed and  it required that the  parole board automatically                                                               
hold parole hearings. This resulted  in a significant increase in                                                               
the number  of parole hearings,  which made it difficult  for the                                                               
board. This  provision would ensure  the inmate is  interested in                                                               
applying for parole.                                                                                                            
3:11:39 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. SKIDMORE turned to Section 8.                                                                                               
     Section 8: Returns discretionary parole eligibility to                                                                     
        where it was prior to January 1, 2017. Makes the                                                                        
     following crimes ineligible:                                                                                               
   • Non-sex class A felonies (Robbery 1, Assault 1, Arson                                                                      
   • B felonies if the person had one or more prior felony                                                                      
   • C felonies if the person had two or more prior felony                                                                      
     convictions; and                                                                                                           
    • B and C sex felonies (Sexual Assault 2, Sexual Abuse                                                                      
     of a Minor 2, Distribution of Child Pornography).                                                                          
MR. SKIDMORE explained  that the law was expanded  in Senate Bill                                                               
91 in terms  of the types of crimes for  discretionary parole. He                                                               
likened it  to the  scenes in Shawshank  Redemption in  which the                                                               
character  comes  before the  board  time  and time  again.  Some                                                               
crimes simply  are not eligible  for discretionary  parole, which                                                               
he read.                                                                                                                        
[Due to technical difficulties the testifier was disconnected.]                                                                 
3:12:33 PM                                                                                                                    
3:12:57 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES reconvened the meeting.                                                                                            
3:13:11 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  KIEHL  asked whether  an  increase  has occurred  for  a                                                               
percentage  of  parolees  who  committed   crimes  and  made  new                                                               
3:13:36 PM                                                                                                                    
3:14:47 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES said the committee was experiencing technical                                                                      
[SB 34 was held in committee.]                                                                                                  

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SJUD Agenda 3.4.19.pdf SJUD 3/4/2019 1:30:00 PM
CSSSSB12 Version O.pdf SJUD 3/4/2019 1:30:00 PM
SB 12
CSSSSB12 Explanation of Changes from Version U to O.pdf SFIN 3/11/2019 9:00:00 AM
SJUD 3/4/2019 1:30:00 PM
SB 12
CSSSSB 12 Sectional Summary Version O.pdf SJUD 3/4/2019 1:30:00 PM
SB 12
Amendment 1 to CSSSSB12 - Kiehl.pdf SJUD 3/4/2019 1:30:00 PM
SB 12
SB 34
CSSB 34 Version U.PDF SJUD 3/4/2019 1:30:00 PM
SB 34
SB 34 Transmittal Letter.pdf SJUD 3/4/2019 1:30:00 PM
SB 34
SB 34 - Probation and Parole Sectional.pdf SJUD 3/4/2019 1:30:00 PM
SB 34
SB 34 Explanation of Changes.pdf SJUD 3/4/2019 1:30:00 PM
SB 34
SB 34 Highlights.pdf SJUD 3/4/2019 1:30:00 PM
SB 34