Legislature(2019 - 2020)BUTROVICH 205

02/14/2019 03:30 PM STATE AFFAIRS

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Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony <Time Limit May Be Set> --
Heard & Held
          SB  34-PROBATION; PAROLE; SENTENCES; CREDITS                                                                      
3:33:04 PM                                                                                                                    
ACTING  CHAIR  MICCICHE announced  the  first  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 date."                                                                                
He opened public testimony on SB 34.                                                                                            
3:33:47 PM                                                                                                                    
CHRIS EICHENLAUB, representing self,  Eagle River, stated that he                                                               
was generally supportive of any laws  that get rid of Senate Bill                                                               
91. His three  concerns are perverts, thieves,  and drug addicts.                                                               
They cause  the majority of  the problems in our  communities and                                                               
should be  dealt with  severely, he  said. He  reiterated support                                                               
for measures  that get rid  of Senate Bill  91 and noted  that he                                                               
was pleased with the proposed chair of the probation board.                                                                     
ACTING CHAIR MICCICHE asked if supports SB 34.                                                                                  
MR. EICHENLAUB replied, "I am in support of SB 34."                                                                             
3:37:17 PM                                                                                                                    
TERRIA  VANDENHUERK,  representing   self,  Anchorage,  testified                                                               
that, for a few reasons, she  does not support SB 34. She related                                                               
that while  she was incarcerated  for an unclassified  felony she                                                               
received  treatment,  and  when  she  applied  for  discretionary                                                               
parole  it  was  granted.  During   the  six  years  she  was  on                                                               
discretionary  parole,  she  did  not commit  one  violation.  In                                                               
April,  she will  celebrate  14  years drug  free.  She said  she                                                               
opposes eliminating  the opportunity  for all prisoners  to apply                                                               
for discretionary  parole and returning to  the previous approach                                                               
for  sanctioning  technical  violations.   She  spoke  about  the                                                               
ministry she  founded that helps  former gang  members transition                                                               
back to  their communities  and the difficulty  she faced  when a                                                               
probation officer  tried to have  her arrested for  violating the                                                               
condition of no  felon-to-felon contact while she  was working in                                                               
the  ministry.  She opined  that  peer  support specialists  with                                                               
"lived  experience"  should  be  partnering  with  the  probation                                                               
office to help these people get their lives on track.                                                                           
ACTING CHAIR MICCICHE congratulated her on 14 years of success.                                                                 
SENATOR  REINBOLD  asked  the  term   of  her  sentence  for  the                                                               
unclassified felony and how many  years she served before she was                                                               
released on discretionary parole.                                                                                               
MS.  VANDENHUERK replied  she was  sentenced for  an unclassified                                                               
drug conviction to 20 years with  8 years suspended. She served 5                                                               
of those  12 years, which  was the mandatory minimum.  During her                                                               
time  in prison,  she availed  herself of  every opportunity  for                                                               
rehabilitation.  The first  time she  applied for  parole it  was                                                               
granted. Her son advocated for  her release because he could tell                                                               
that she had  "turned her life around." Reuniting  with family is                                                               
a great  benefit and  the children of  former inmates  benefit as                                                               
well, she said.                                                                                                                 
SENATOR  REINBOLD offered  her  understanding that  discretionary                                                               
parole is available after serving one-quarter of the sentence.                                                                  
VANDENHUERK  responded that  the requirements  are different  for                                                               
other felonies but  her mandatory minimum for  a 20-year sentence                                                               
was 5 years.                                                                                                                    
3:42:56 PM                                                                                                                    
MICHAEL MOORADIAN,  representing self, Anchorage, said  he was in                                                               
long-term recovery and that was  possible through Wellness Court.                                                               
He generally favors  SB 34 with a few caveats.  He opined that it                                                               
would  be  helpful to  have  a  better definition  of  "technical                                                               
violation" because  someone may commit one  without any knowledge                                                               
of  having done  so.  For example,  someone may  come  out of  an                                                               
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)  meeting and talk with  someone who was                                                               
also at the  meeting and it's a technical  violation because both                                                               
are convicted felons.  He said he does not  support mandated time                                                               
limits  on early  termination  of probation  and  parole, but  he                                                               
believes there  should be  a process for  those on  probation and                                                               
parole to petition for early  release without it resting entirely                                                               
on the probation officer (PO) to  be the advocate. He shared that                                                               
he works  in the recovery  field and has  found that some  POs do                                                               
not  believe   that  treatment   works.  Also   regarding  parole                                                               
eligibility,   he    said   he   generally   agrees    with   the                                                               
recommendations in SB  34 but people with class B  and C felonies                                                               
for possession  [of a controlled  substance] should  be eligible.                                                               
People in  possession who  are addicts have  a medical  issue and                                                               
are unlikely  to get the  services they need  while incarcerated.                                                               
He  reiterated  support  for  SB  34  with  some  adjustments  in                                                               
terminology and definitions.                                                                                                    
3:46:23 PM                                                                                                                    
KARA  NELSON,  representing  self, Juneau,  testified  in  strong                                                               
opposition to SB  34. She shared that she is  the former director                                                               
of Haven House Juneau, a  faith-based recovery facility for women                                                               
returning to  the community after incarceration.  Because she was                                                               
formerly incarcerated, she has a  unique perspective of probation                                                               
and parole. Based  on her personal experience,  she believes that                                                               
probation  and parole  is one  of the  most important,  yet often                                                               
neglected, pieces  of reforming  the legal  system. She  has seen                                                               
and  advocated  [to  change]  many   of  the  inconsistencies  of                                                               
supervised probation. Working  with POs, she was able  to be part                                                               
of the  transformation that occurred  when Senate Bill  91 became                                                               
law. She  also witnessed some  gross misuse of power.  She shared                                                               
her personal experience while on  supervised probation and opined                                                               
that  POs generally  support having  options  when they  consider                                                               
technical violations. Prior to passing  Senate Bill 91, it wasn't                                                               
clear  how  long she  would  remain  in  prison for  a  technical                                                               
violation. She agreed  with prior testimony that some  POs do not                                                               
support a  parolee working with a  peer in the recovery  field if                                                               
the peer is  also a convicted felon. She noted  that some POs had                                                               
a change  of attitude about  sanctions once they had  more tools.                                                               
She  pointed out  that the  term "technical  violation" covers  a                                                               
vast array of  behaviors. She reiterated opposition to  SB 34 and                                                               
stated  that   we  were  getting  somewhere   with  the  existing                                                               
sanctions  instead of  someone's life  being  in the  hands of  a                                                               
probation officer who has no tools.                                                                                             
ACTING CHAIR  MICCICHE suggested  she submit a  detailed document                                                               
on her concerns to senate.state.affairs@akleg.gov.                                                                              
3:52:25 PM                                                                                                                    
ROGER BRANSON, representing  self, Juneau, said he  would like to                                                               
speak to the topic of "the voice  not here." He said the voice of                                                               
Dan Saddler from  his district is missing but  he is represented.                                                               
The voice of Ron Gillam from  the Kenai Peninsula is missing, but                                                               
he and his  concerns are well represented here.  He asked Senator                                                               
Kawasaki if  he would  represent the voice  of Kelsey  Green. Her                                                               
voice  is missing  and  she  is not  well  represented today.  He                                                               
thanked the committee for its time.                                                                                             
ACTING CHAIR MICCICHE asked if he had any comments on SB 34.                                                                    
MR. BRANSOM  replied the  committee will  do good  work on  SB 34                                                               
with all the voices represented. He  added that he finds the bill                                                               
problematic with  the way it  is written. "Specifically,  we seem                                                               
to  be creating  these tools  to beat  each other  up with  and I                                                               
can't see that as being good at  the end of the day." He said you                                                               
speak of community  condemnation and that can easily  turn into a                                                               
witch hunt.                                                                                                                     
3:54:58 PM                                                                                                                    
ACTING CHAIR  MICCICHE stated that public  testimony would remain                                                               
open on SB 34 and he would hold the bill in committee.                                                                          
He  encouraged   the  public  to  submit   written  testimony  to                                                               

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SSTA Agenda Week of 02.11.19.pdf SSTA 2/14/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB0034A.PDF SSTA 2/14/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 34
SB 34 Highlights.pdf SSTA 2/14/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 34
SB 34 - Probation and Parole Sectional.pdf SSTA 2/14/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 34
SB0034-1-2-012319-LAW-N.PDF SSTA 2/14/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 34
SB0034-2-2-012319-COR-Y.PDF SSTA 2/14/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 34
SB0034-3-2-012319-COR-Y.PDF SSTA 2/14/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 34
Court System Fiscal Note.pdf SSTA 2/14/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 33 Transmittal Letter.pdf SSTA 2/14/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 33
SB0033A.PDF SSTA 2/14/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 33
SB 33 - Pretrial Highilghts.pdf SSTA 2/14/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 33
SB 33 - Pretrial Sectional.pdf SSTA 2/14/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 33
SB33-DOL-FN#1.pdf SSTA 2/14/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 33
SB33-DPS-FN#2.pdf SSTA 2/14/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 33
SB33-DOA-FN#3.pdf SSTA 2/14/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 33
SB33-DOA-FN#4.pdf SSTA 2/14/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 33
SB33-DOC-FN#5.pdf SSTA 2/14/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 33
SB33-DOC-FN#6.pdf SSTA 2/14/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 33
SB33-Court System-FN.pdf SSTA 2/14/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 33
SB 33 & 34-GOA Bills Matrix 1-30-19.pdf SSTA 2/14/2019 3:30:00 PM