Legislature(2019 - 2020)BUTROVICH 205

02/12/2019 03:30 PM STATE AFFAIRS

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Audio Topic
03:34:26 PM Start
03:36:06 PM Confirmation Hearing(s)
04:18:18 PM SB34
05:08:21 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Consideration of Governor's Appointees: TELECONFERENCED
Lieutenant Governor Successor-Designee Johnson
-- Teleconference Invitation Only --
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony <Time Limit May Be Set> --
          SB  34-PROBATION; PAROLE; SENTENCES; CREDITS                                                                      
4:18:18 PM                                                                                                                    
VICE CHAIR COGHILL reconvened the  meeting and announced that the                                                               
final order  of business  would be  consideration of  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 date."                                                                                               
He asked Mr.  Skidmore if he agrees that the  repealers deal with                                                               
administrative sanctions.                                                                                                       
4:21:03 PM                                                                                                                    
JOHN SKIDMORE,  Director, Criminal  Division, Department  of Law,                                                               
Anchorage,  advised that  the  primary  categories the  repealers                                                               
address  are  administrative sanctions  and  the  caps placed  on                                                               
technical violations.                                                                                                           
Responding  to  a question  from  the  chair, he  explained  that                                                               
administrative  sanctions  are  things   a  probation  or  parole                                                               
officer within DOC can do  without intervention from the court or                                                               
the parole  board. An officer would  need to file a  petition for                                                               
things like returning a probationer  or parolee to jail or adding                                                               
VICE  CHAIR COGHILL  recalled that  the administrative  sanctions                                                               
were  intended to  ensure swift  action  without the  need to  go                                                               
before the  court. His understanding  from previous  testimony is                                                               
that those administrative sanctions were never implemented.                                                                     
MR. SKIDMORE  clarified that  when he  testified during  the last                                                               
hearing, he said  the swiftness for the petitions  did not occur.                                                               
Whether swiftness  was achieved for  the sanctions is  a question                                                               
for the  Department of Corrections.  He did say  that regulations                                                               
were not adopted.                                                                                                               
VICE CHAIR COGHILL asked him to  walk through what has come to be                                                               
and what has not been put in place.                                                                                             
4:25:28 PM                                                                                                                    
JEN  WINKELMAN  Director,  Division   of  Probation  and  Parole,                                                               
Department of Corrections (DOC),  Juneau, explained that when the                                                               
administrative   sanctions  and   incentives   became  law,   DOC                                                               
developed a policy  to categorize the behavior  and determine the                                                               
sanction  based  on  a grid.  The  administrative  sanctions  and                                                               
incentives  were  developed  based  on an  internal  policy,  not                                                               
through regulations.                                                                                                            
VICE  CHAIR COGHILL  asked why  regulations  weren't written,  as                                                               
directed by the law.                                                                                                            
MS. WINKELMAN said  she didn't know; she wasn't  in this position                                                               
at that time.                                                                                                                   
VICE  CHAIR COGHILL  recalled that  the administrative  sanctions                                                               
were intended  to be a tool  to accomplish the swift  and certain                                                               
action.  He  asked  what  was   done  administratively  that  was                                                               
different than what had to happen before the court.                                                                             
MR.  SKIDMORE  said  there  are  two levels.  The  first  is  the                                                               
administrative sanctions  and the second  level is if  a petition                                                               
was filed  then it was capped  at 3, 5  and 10 days. Those  3, 5,                                                               
and 10  day caps  were intended  to be  swift. The  December 2015                                                               
Justice Reinvestment Report specifically  talks about the concept                                                               
of making the sanction swift. The  failure in the way that Senate                                                               
Bill 91  presented this and the  way it was implemented  is there                                                               
was no  legislative expression of how  swift it needed to  be. He                                                               
recalled  that the  Court System  expressed concerns  about being                                                               
able to  do adjudications that  quickly in every single  case. It                                                               
was possible  to do in some  cases - those cases  where offenders                                                               
had  opted in  the program,  but for  all the  others it  was not                                                               
possible to do  it that quickly. They would try  but it still has                                                               
not happened very quickly, which is  one of the key components to                                                               
all the  research that said this  would be an effective  tool, he                                                               
said. Without that component it is not an effective tool.                                                                       
VICE CHAIR  COGHILL asked for the  information to be laid  out to                                                               
show where  the failure occurred.  He said he continues  to think                                                               
that swift  action is a worthy  goal. The principle is  good, but                                                               
implementation failed  as infractions  and petitions  mounted up.                                                               
"There was no certainty because  the swiftness didn't happen," he                                                               
MR.  SKIDMORE  said  he  would   be  happy  to  talk  more  about                                                               
maintaining  the  caps,   but  he  was  not   involved  with  the                                                               
administrative  sanctions. He  said  it sounds  as though  you're                                                               
interested in  maintaining the administrative sanctions  and that                                                               
discussion should be with the Department of Corrections.                                                                        
VICE  CHAIR  COGHILL  asked  Ms. Winkelman,  as  the  policy  was                                                               
implemented, what was successful and what needed more work.                                                                     
4:32:30 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. WINKELMAN  opined that  implementation of  the administrative                                                               
sanctions  has been  swift.  She described  the  process when  an                                                               
offender is  in front of the  probation officer due to  some sort                                                               
of behavior. The  officer looks at a grid to  determine where the                                                               
behavior  falls and  the appropriate  response. She  posited that                                                               
the  lack  of  swiftness  referenced here  relates  to  when  the                                                               
behavior elicits  a court petition. The  sanctions and incentives                                                               
over  which  probation  and  parole  officers  have  purview  are                                                               
administered swiftly and based on the grid previously described.                                                                
VICE  CHAIR COGHILL  asked if  the administrative  sanctions have                                                               
increased the workload for probation and parole officers.                                                                       
MS.  WINKELMAN said  she did  not have  supporting data,  but she                                                               
believes that the grid has  trained probation and parole officers                                                               
on the options available when  responding to violations. What has                                                               
increased the workload  is trying to apply  the grid's structured                                                               
responses to individuals who have  very different backgrounds and                                                               
behaviors. It removes the human element, she said.                                                                              
VICE  CHAIR COGHILL  recalled that  the administrative  sanctions                                                               
program intended to focus effort  on the most dangerous behavior.                                                               
Individuals  with  less  dangerous behavior  would  receive  less                                                               
attention. He asked if that has worked.                                                                                         
MS.  WINKELMAN  said  she  believes  that  the  individuals  that                                                               
exhibited  the most  dangerous behavior,  based  on the  sanction                                                               
grid, generally had  a petition filed and they  became subject to                                                               
the 3, 5, and 10-day caps.                                                                                                      
VICE  CHAIR   COGHILL  opined  that  the   petition  created  the                                                               
revolving door problem. He asked Mr.  Skidmore if that is what he                                                               
was describing.                                                                                                                 
4:37:05 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. SKIDMORE  said the  rationale for  implementing the  caps was                                                               
that people  didn't think the  0-30 days  on a first  offense was                                                               
appropriate  for the  wide variety  of technical  violations. The                                                               
decision was to  reduce that but, in the  process, discretion was                                                               
eliminated, and a range was  established. The range considers the                                                               
underlying offense  and the type  of violation that  has occurred                                                               
but  setting  the caps  where  they  are  does not  consider  the                                                               
layering of  allegations. Thus  it does not  allow the  system to                                                               
appropriately  respond   to  a   particular  circumstance   in  a                                                               
particular case.                                                                                                                
VICE CHAIR  COGHILL asked where he  could find data for  the last                                                               
year  about  the  number  of   petitions  filed,  the  number  of                                                               
violations that  involved multiple allegations, and  whether they                                                               
were misdemeanor or  felony level infractions. "How  would I find                                                               
that information  to find out how  close we hit the  mark and how                                                               
far we missed the mark?" he asked.                                                                                              
MR. SKIDMORE  said it  would not  be difficult  to find  how many                                                               
petitions  were  filed,  but  it  would  be  problematic  to  get                                                               
information  on the  number  of allegations  in  a petition,  the                                                               
substance of  the allegations, and information  on the underlying                                                               
crime. The reports he has seen  failed to look at those concepts.                                                               
What the reports  have indicated is that the  number of petitions                                                               
filed has  decreased. Unfortunately, that doesn't  mean much when                                                               
there has been no substantive  analysis. That would require going                                                               
through every  case file looking  for particular  criteria, which                                                               
would be  very labor  intensive. What  he's heard  uniformly from                                                               
his employees  statewide who prosecute  these cases is  that this                                                               
is a problem.                                                                                                                   
VICE  CHAIR COGHILL  said he  understands the  provision will  be                                                               
removed from the statutes, but there  was some benefit and he was                                                               
looking for a better way to do it.                                                                                              
4:42:19 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  REINBOLD asked  Ms. Winkelman  if  she was  the head  of                                                               
pretrial, probation, and parole.                                                                                                
MS.  WINKELMAN  said yes.  Responding  to  another question,  she                                                               
explained that  she had been  with the department since  2001 and                                                               
in this role since the new administration came into office.                                                                     
SENATOR REINBOLD  described the pretrial risk  assessment tool as                                                               
"unbelievable." She added,  "It's one of those tools  that I just                                                               
couldn't even imagine that being applied to people in Alaska."                                                                  
VICE  CHAIR  COGHILL  requested  she maintain  focus  on  SB  34,                                                               
probation,  parole   and  sentencing.  The  pretrial   matter  is                                                               
addressed in SB 33.                                                                                                             
4:43:57 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR REINBOLD highlighted the wave  of crime that Alaskans are                                                               
experiencing. She  asked Ms. Winkelman  if she defines  parole as                                                               
"the temporary  release before the  completion of a  sentence for                                                               
good behavior."                                                                                                                 
MS. WINKELMAN said yes.                                                                                                         
SENATOR  REINBOLD   defined  probation  as  "the   release  under                                                               
supervision before the completion."                                                                                             
MS. WINKELMAN clarified that probation  is defined as a term over                                                               
which  a  probation officer  supervises  an  individual based  on                                                               
their court sentence.  For example, a person who  is sentenced to                                                               
five  years with  two years  suspended and  five-years supervised                                                               
probation would  have the two  years suspended term  hanging over                                                               
his/her head during the five years  of probation as a response to                                                               
a violations.                                                                                                                   
SENATOR  REINBOLD asked  if her  understanding  was correct  that                                                               
under  the  prior  law  a  person with  one  or  multiple  felony                                                               
convictions  was  not  eligible  for parole,  whereas  under  the                                                               
current law they are eligible for parole.                                                                                       
MS.  WINKELMAN  deferred questions  about  the  change in  parole                                                               
eligibility to Mr. Edwards.                                                                                                     
4:46:09 PM                                                                                                                    
JEFF  EDWARDS,  Executive  Director,   Alaska  Board  of  Parole,                                                               
Department of Corrections, Anchorage,  explained that Senate Bill                                                               
91  provided  a  discretionary  system  whereby  multiple  felons                                                               
became eligible for early release on discretionary parole.                                                                      
SENATOR  REINBOLD asked  if that  is for  class A,  class B,  and                                                               
class C felonies.                                                                                                               
MR.  EDWARDS  confirmed  that  is  what  existing  law  provides.                                                               
Responding to a subsequent question,  he said that includes prior                                                               
VICE CHAIR  COGHILL asked  what the  requirements are  to qualify                                                               
for parole.                                                                                                                     
MR. EDWARDS said the presumption  of release statute mandates the                                                               
parole board  release those  individuals on  discretionary parole                                                               
if  they meet  requirements  such as  complying  with their  case                                                               
plan, receiving no  write-ups while in prison,  and following the                                                               
rules. There are provisions for  circumventing the presumption of                                                               
release statute if  the board feels the  individual represents an                                                               
extreme danger to the public. SB 34 removes that section of law.                                                                
VICE  CHAIR COGHILL  said Mr.  Skidmore explained  the difference                                                               
between   the   directive   presumption  to   release   and   the                                                               
discretionary  ability   to  release  based  on   conditions.  He                                                               
recalled  that  the presumption  in  current  law came  about  to                                                               
incentivize the  best behavior  out of  someone on  probation and                                                               
4:50:39 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR REINBOLD asked for an  explanation of mandatory minimums.                                                               
Her  understanding is  that for  class A,  class B,  and class  C                                                               
felonies the mandatory minimum is one-quarter of the sentence.                                                                  
MR. SKIDMORE asked  for clarification that she  was talking about                                                               
the time served to be eligible for discretional parole.                                                                         
SENATOR REINBOLD said yes.                                                                                                      
4:51:30 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  EDWARDS   explained  that   unclassified  felonies   have  a                                                               
mandatory minimum attached  to the sentence that  must be served.                                                               
Under current  law, individuals  convicted of  class A,  class B,                                                               
and class  C felonies  would become  eligible after  serving one-                                                               
quarter of their sentence.                                                                                                      
SENATOR REINBOLD called that astonishing.                                                                                       
4:52:14 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  KAWASAKI said  the fiscal  notes  are indeterminate  and                                                               
said he needed to see the  number of people who were eligible but                                                               
would  not be  eligible in  the future  and how  that number  has                                                               
changed over the last couple of years.                                                                                          
He   referenced  Section   10  relating   to  the   parole  board                                                               
considering applications. He asked how  the process works now and                                                               
why a change is necessary.                                                                                                      
4:53:18 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease                                                                                                                         
4:53:29 PM                                                                                                                    
VICE CHAIR COGHILL reconvened the meeting.                                                                                      
MR. SKIDMORE said Section 10 returns  the language to what was in                                                               
statute  prior  to Senate  Bill  91.  The  parole board  had  the                                                               
discretion  to  evaluate whether  or  not  a  person was  a  good                                                               
candidate  for discretionary  parole immediately  or sometime  in                                                               
the future, whereas current law  requires the board to hear those                                                               
cases within a year. The  latter increases the number of hearings                                                               
when someone applies  repeatedly when the outcome  may already be                                                               
known.  He  described  it  as   a  resource  issue.  He  deferred                                                               
questions about the operation to Mr. Edwards.                                                                                   
4:56:55 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. EDWARDS said he agrees with  Mr. Skidmore. The bill gives the                                                               
board discretion to  continue or deny a  hearing indefinitely for                                                               
those  offenders  that it  has  no  intention of  releasing.  The                                                               
current internal policy  is to review those cases in  10 years at                                                               
SENATOR KAWASAKI  asked for  an example where  there has  been an                                                               
excess of requests.                                                                                                             
MR. EDWARDS  replied he  wouldn't say  there have  been excessive                                                               
applications;  it's more  about the  board controlling  when they                                                               
would hear  a case  in the  future. The individual  may not  be a                                                               
good  candidate  now,  but  they may  be  after  completing  some                                                               
SENATOR KAWASAKI  asked if he  agrees that  a person may  "have a                                                               
better shot" with a different parole board.                                                                                     
MR. EDWARD  agreed that the  board can change because  one member                                                               
comes up  for reappointment every  year and  they may or  may not                                                               
apply. They  are appointed by  the governor and as  that position                                                               
changes the board may as well.                                                                                                  
SENATOR  KAWASAKI commented  that  a person  who is  incarcerated                                                               
would be  denied asking for parole  if a board says  no today and                                                               
the board switches the next year.                                                                                               
SENATOR REINBOLD  said she would  post on Facebook  the different                                                               
felony  crimes  under  discussion  today that  are  eligible  for                                                               
discretionary parole  after the  offender has  served one-quarter                                                               
of their sentence.                                                                                                              
VICE  CHAIR  COGHILL asked  for  a  follow-up discussion  on  the                                                               
change made  on good time  to see where  that failed or  could be                                                               
made more successful.                                                                                                           
MR. SKIDMORE asked  for clarification he was  referring to earned                                                               
compliance credit.                                                                                                              
VICE  CHAIR COGHILL  said that's  correct. He  noted that  no one                                                               
signed up to testify  on SB 34 today, but he  would leave it open                                                               
and hopefully  take public testimony on  both SB 33 and  SB 34 on                                                               
5:04:57 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  MICCICHE said  the public  was not  aware of  the public                                                               
testimony today  and he  would like  to get the  word out  to his                                                               
constituents if  public testimony will  in fact be open  for both                                                               
bills on Thursday.                                                                                                              
VICE  CHAIR COGHILL  replied his  intention was  to start  taking                                                               
public testimony but  for it to be meaningful, he  wanted to hear                                                               
the sectional analysis on SB 33.                                                                                                
MR.  SKIDMORE estimated  that the  sectional analysis  for SB  33                                                               
would take about 45 minutes.                                                                                                    
5:06:19 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KAWASAKI expressed concern  about taking public testimony                                                               
before the bill  is fully vetted and understood.  Without all the                                                               
facts there may be testimony on things that are not in the bill,                                                                
he said.                                                                                                                        
VICE CHAIR COGHILL replied he was following the chair's                                                                         
5:08:17 PM                                                                                                                    
VICE CHAIR COGHILL held SB 34 in committee.                                                                                     

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
STA Lieutenant Governor Successor Johnson #3.pdf SSTA 2/12/2019 3:30:00 PM
Designee Johnson Resume
SB0034A.PDF SSTA 2/12/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 34
SB 34 Transmittal Letter.pdf SSTA 2/12/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 34
SB 34 - Probation and Parole Sectional.pdf SSTA 2/12/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 34
SB 34 Highlights.pdf SFIN 4/30/2019 1:30:00 PM
SSTA 2/12/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 34
SB 34 -GOA Bills Matrix 1-30-19.pdf SSTA 2/12/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB0034-1-2-012319-LAW-N.PDF SSTA 2/12/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 34
SB0034-2-2-012319-COR-Y.PDF SSTA 2/12/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 34
SB0034-3-2-012319-COR-Y.PDF SSTA 2/12/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 34
Court System Fiscal Note.pdf SSTA 2/12/2019 3:30:00 PM
Court System Fiscal Note
SSTA Agenda Week of 02.11.19.pdf SSTA 2/12/2019 3:30:00 PM