Legislature(2019 - 2020)GRUENBERG 120
03/08/2019 01:30 PM JUDICIARY
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|Presentation: Justice Research for Ak by Dr. Brad Myrstol, Director, Justice Center, University of Ak Anchorage|
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE HOUSE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE March 8, 2019 1:33 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Representative Matt Claman, Chair Representative Gabrielle LeDoux, Vice Chair Representative Adam Wool Representative Laddie Shaw Representative David Eastman MEMBERS ABSENT Representative Chuck Kopp Representative Louise Stutes COMMITTEE CALENDAR PRESENTATION: Justice Research for AK by Dr. Brad Myrstol~ Director~ Justice Center~ University of Alaska Anchorage - HEARD PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION No previous action to record WITNESS REGISTER BRAD MYRSTOL, PhD, Director UAA Justice Center; Director Alaska Justice Information Center University of Alaska Anchorage Anchorage, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Gave presentations on the UAA Justice Center and Alaska crime rate statistics and answered committee questions. TROY PAYNE, PhD, Associate Professor UAA Justice Center; Associate Director Alaska Justice Information Center University of Alaska Anchorage Anchorage, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Gave a presentation on rearrest data in Alaska and answered committee questions. ACTION NARRATIVE 1:33:39 PM CHAIR MATT CLAMAN called the House Judiciary Standing Committee meeting to order at 1:33 p.m. Representatives Eastman, LeDoux, Shaw, and Claman were present at the call to order. Representative Wool arrived as the meeting was in progress. ^Presentation: Justice Research for AK by Dr. Brad Myrstol, Director, Justice Center, University of AK Anchorage Presentation: Justice Research for AK by Dr. Brad Myrstol, Director, Justice Center, University of AK Anchorage 1:34:22 PM CHAIR CLAMAN announced that the only order of business would be a series of presentations by Dr. Brad Myrstol and Dr. Troy Payne from the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) Justice Research and the Alaska Justice Information Center (AJiC). 1:34:48 PM CHAIR CLAMAN opened invited testimony. 1:35:32 PM BRAD MYRSTOL, PhD, Director, UAA Justice Center; Director, Alaska Justice Information Center, University of Alaska Anchorage, stated three objectives for his and Dr. Payne's presentations: to provide a brief overview of the UAA Justice Center, to provide context for deliberations on recent crime rate trends in Alaska, and to present new analysis of rearrest data. 1:36:21 PM DR. MYRSTOL began his PowerPoint presentation [hard copy included in the committee packet] and addressed slide two, titled "History and Mission." He said the UAA Justice Center has been in operation since 1975. Its mission, he said, is to provide statewide justice-related education, research, and service. He called the Justice Center a comprehensive academic and research unit. He said this part of the presentation would focus more on the Justice Center's research programs [including AJiC]. 1:37:19 PM DR. MYRSTOL distinguished faculty research at the Justice Center from organized research conducted out of AJiC. He said the Justice Center is committed to conducting vigorous, impactful, and Alaska-relevant research. 1:38:09 PM DR. MYRSTOL addressed slide three, titled "Faculty Research." He said each faculty member at the Justice Center has a particular area of expertise and pursues research in that area. He noted that the Justice Center prefers to address practitioner and policy-maker questions. He provided a brief list of research partnerships: The Alaska Victimization Survey, the Troopers B-Detachment Patrol Staffing Study, the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative, the [No Violence Alliance] Reentry Project Evaluation, the Graduated Response Matrix (GRM) Assessment and Refinement Project, and the Statewide Community-Based Batterer Intervention Program (BIP) Process and Outcome Evaluation. Dr. Myrstol said this list demonstrates the breadth of the Justice Center's research. 1:40:18 PM DR. MYRSTOL addressed slide four, titled "AJiC." He provided historical background on AJiC and detailed its mission, which is "to compile, analyze, and report on criminal justice topics to policymakers and practitioners in order to improve public safety, to increase criminal justice system accountability, and to reduce recidivism." He described AJiC's structure like that of a three-legged stool, consisting of an integrated justice data platform, the Alaska Results First Initiative, and the Statistical Analysis Center. 1:42:33 PM DR. MYRSTOL addressed slide five, also titled "AJiC," which featured a list of recent and ongoing AJiC projects. He highlighted work done by the Alaska Results First Initiative on adult criminal justice, as well as an upcoming project on behavioral health. He mentioned Dr. Payne leadership in the effort to revalidate Alaska's pretrial risk assessment tool for the Department of Corrections (DOC). He shared his excitement about doing data integration in conjunction with the Anchored Home permanent supportive housing project in Anchorage. 1:43:45 PM DR. MYRSTOL addressed slide six, titled "To Learn More..." He encouraged the committee to contact him and his staff with any additional questions about the Justice Center. 1:44:28 PM DR. MYRSTOL began a new PowerPoint presentation [slide seven in the packet] titled "Illicit Drug Crime Nexus." He explained the presentation would be a reprise of one he gave at the 2018 Public Safety Forum. He disclosed two objectives: To provide context about crime trends in Alaska as they compare to national trends and to present limited data about the opioid crisis. 1:45:14 PM REPRESENTATIVE WOOL acknowledged the links between opioid use and criminal activity. He noted that other drugs like methamphetamines are also linked to criminal activity. He asked if Dr. Myrstol's analysis of crime statistics isolates opioids from other behavior-altering drugs. 1:46:09 PM DR. MYRSTOL said the available data limits AJiC's ability to make explicit connections between specific drugs of abuse and how they become manifested in criminal behavior. 1:47:05 PM DR. MYRSTOL introduced a section of his presentation titled "Crimes Reported to Police." He said the data source was the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program managed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). He said the data consisting of all crimes known to police was compiled by multiple agencies in Alaska, reported to the Department of Public Safety (DPS), and transmitted by DPS to the FBI. 1:48:05 PM DR. MYRSTOL addressed slide nine, titled "Violent Crime Rates: 1985-2017." The slide featured a line graph comparing Alaska rates to national rates. The graph also measured the yearly number of drug overdose deaths in Alaska since 1998. He noted the Alaska violent crime rate first exceeded the national rate after 1993. He said the rates remained steady until about 2002 when a period of divergence began. He stated that violent crime rates have been increasing in Alaska for quite some time. He said there was a rapid acceleration of the violent crime rate in Alaska beginning in 2014. He pointed to a correspondence between drug overdose deaths statistics and violent crime statistics. 1:51:42 PM DR. MYRSTOL addressed slide 10, titled "Property Crime Rates: 1985-2017." The slide featured a line graph comparing Alaska rates to national rates. The graph also measured the yearly number of drug overdose deaths in Alaska since 1998. He noted that property crimes are more prevalent than violent crimes. He said national property crime rates have been in a long decline. He said Alaska property crime rates had followed a nearly identical trend until about 2011 when the decline turned. He said the property crime rate accelerated in 2015. He said the graph includes the number of drug overdose deaths line to show how the metrics "map onto each other, or not." 1:53:15 PM DR. MYRSTOL introduced a section of his presentation titled "Arrests for Drug Offenses." He relayed challenges with determining how to analyze drug crime data. He said AJiC uses arrest statistics. He differentiated between arrest statistics and reported crime statistics. 1:54:48 PM DR. MYRSTOL addressed slide 12, titled "Marijuana Arrest Rates." The slide featured a line graph measuring possession arrests in Alaska by gender. He noted that males are arrested for marijuana possession at a much higher rate than females. He pointed to a sharp decline in arrests following 2010. The graph also featured a line measuring the annual number of drug overdose deaths. 1:56:25 PM DR. MYRSTOL addressed slide 13, titled "Narcotic Arrest Rates." The slide featured a similar line graph measuring arrests for cocaine, opium, heroin, and morphine, by gender. The graph showed various dips and rises. It also featured a line measuring the annual number of drug overdose deaths. 1:57:33 PM DR. MYRSTOL addressed slide 14, titled "Synthetic Narcotic Arrest Rates." The slide featured a similar line graph measuring arrests by gender. Dr. Myrstol said synthetic narcotics included fentanyl, Demerol, hydrocodone, oxycodone, methadone, dilaudid, and buprenorphine. The graph showed a spike in arrests beginning in 2002 and a rising trendline since. The graph also featured a line measuring the annual number of drug overdose deaths. 1:58:19 PM DR. MYRSTOL addressed slide 15, titled "Other Non-Narcotic Arrest Rates." The slide featured a similar line graph measuring arrests by gender. Dr. Myrstol said this category included amphetamine, methamphetamine, phencyclidine (PCP), naloxone, ketamine, 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), and barbiturates. The graph similarly showed a spike in arrests beginning in 2002 and a rising trendline since. The graph also featured a line measuring the annual number of drug overdose deaths. 1:58:59 PM DR. MYRSTOL addressed slide 16, titled "Getting from Description to Explanation." He said it is difficult to articulate potential links between illicit drug use and increases in Alaska's crime rates. He said researchers and criminologists do not have good data to confidently answer policymakers' questions about potential links. He attributed this problem to politics and financing. He said it is difficult for policymakers to devote resources to long-term research. DR. MYRSTOL detailed the history of the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring Program (ADAM) funded by the United States Department of Justice. He described extensive data collection he conducted for ADAM at the Anchorage Correctional Complex in the early 2000s. He said the data collected, which included self-reported data, biometric data, and arrest records, enabled researchers to establish links between drug use and criminal activity. DR. MYRSTOL said he replicated the ADAM model in Arkansas. He claimed that, with support, he could do the same for Alaska. "I must be honest," he said. "We are suffering from an information deficit. 2:04:25 PM REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX asked if Dr. Myrstol was drawing a correlation between drug abuse and likelihood of committing a criminal offense. 2:04:54 PM DR. MYRSTOL answered no. He clarified that the data he presented is merely descriptive and suggestive. He said he is not prepared to declare a strong or weak correlation over time between the number of drug overdose deaths in Alaska and the arrests made for different categories of crime. 2:06:13 PM REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX said it sounds like there is a hypothesis correlating drug use and criminal activity. 2:06:24 PM DR. MYRSTOL said that is the working hypothesis in research and policy conversations. He said AJiC does not have the data to test the hypothesis. 2:06:53 PM REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX suggested that the hypothesis assumes people who abuse drugs are more likely to commit crimes. She asked about the inverse, that people who are "screwups" may be more likely to use drugs. She compared it to the question of whether the chicken came before the egg. She asked if this thought was valid. 2:07:27 PM DR. MYRSTOL said this was a reasonable hypothesis. He cited a criminology concept called "low self-control." He said people involved in criminal conduct tend to engage in low self-control activities. DR. MYRSTOL said that with access to better data, AJiC could establish the relationship between drug use and criminal offenses in Alaska. He noted though that even with an Alaska version of the ADAM model, AJiC would not be able to establish with absolute certainty that illicit drug use caused an individual to commit a crime. Rather, he said, AJiC could establish a timeline and temporal order for drug use and criminal behaviors. He conceded that this would not be perfect knowledge, but it would be a large step forward from the crude information he presented earlier. 2:09:23 PM REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX asked if AJiC could establish which came first the drug use or the crime with more research. 2:09:42 PM DR. MYRSTOL said he could measure drug use prior to arrest on the individual level as well as on a population level. 2:10:10 PM REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX asked if that would show if [the drug use or the crime] came first. He noted that some individuals blame their "antisocial activity" on drugs or alcohol. 2:10:27 PM DR. MYRSTOL said as much as he would like to provide absolute certainty, the proposed research would not. He explained the data set would not be so comprehensive as to provide an understanding of an individual's drug and criminal behavior over the course of his or her life. 2:11:04 PM REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX referenced her time living in New York City and her awareness of the risk of "random crime" versus how she feels living in East Anchorage, where she feels safer. She asked if Dr. Myrstol had any statistics measuring violent crimes perpetrated by individuals not previously known to the victim. 2:13:10 PM DR. MYRSTOL said that information exists depending on the type of violent crime. For example, he said, there is detailed information from sexual assault and sexual abuse cases detailing the relationship between victim and offender. He remarked that, because AJiC does not own that type of data, it is incumbent to partner with agencies that do. He said, for example, AJiC could partner with a police department to access the department's electronic data or code the department's paper files to create a data set for analysis. 2:14:37 PM CHAIR CLAMAN mentioned that an overwhelming majority of sexual assault and sexual abuse crimes in Alaska involve people who know each other. He said situations involving people who are strangers to each other make up a very small portion of the broader picture. He said the same applies to violent crime in general, both in Alaska and on a national scale. He drew a comparison to South Africa, where the opposite is the case and random violence is far more prevalent. 2:15:47 PM REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX clarified she was curious if the rise of violent crime in Anchorage was related to random violent crime. She asked why AJiC continues to study arrests for marijuana possession post-legalization. 2:16:22 PM DR. MYRSTOL explained that the FBIs uniform crime reporting [UCR] dataset specifically measures arrests for marijuana. He said most nationwide drug possession arrests tend to be for marijuana. He said he was trying to be exhaustive in presenting all four of the UCR arrest categories. 2:16:48 PM REPRESENTATIVE SHAW asked if AJiC had any involvement with the Alaska State Crime Lab and, if so, if its information is helpful. 2:17:05 PM DR. MYRSTOL answered that he does not have any involvement with the Alaska State Crime Lab. 2:17:15 PM REPRESENTATIVE WOOL remarked that the question everyone is trying to answer is what the correlation is between drug use and criminal activity. He commented that the crime statistics presented indicated some positive trends, such as the steady decline of property crime both nationally and in Alaska. He said it would be interesting to learn if national drug arrests and Alaska drug arrests were correlated. He asked what Alaska's violent crime rate would look like if Anchorage were removed from the dataset. 2:19:27 PM DR. MYRSTOL answered that he has not run those analyses. He said it can be done. 2:19:44 PM REPRESENTATIVE WOOL reiterated he would like to see national drug statistics to compare with Alaska drug statistics. He discussed the introduction of fentanyl and why heroin users are attracted to it. 2:20:40 PM CHAIR CLAMAN said the national overdose rate is a lot worse than Alaska's rate. He said, beginning around 1999, the national overdose rate trendline rose so sharply that it "looks like a hockey stick." 2:21:10 PM DR. MYRSTOL confirmed this. 2:21:15 PM REPRESENTATIVE WOOL asked if the ADAM data included drug crime independent of other crime. 2:21:49 PM DR. MYRSTOL answered yes. He added that the analysis could differentiate between individuals booked on a [controlled substances] charge and individuals booked on an [offenses against the person] charge. 2:22:11 PM REPRESENTATIVE WOOL asked if nonoffender populations are tested as control groups. 2:22:51 PM DR. MYRSTOL answered no. He said the intent and design of an ADAM-like research program is to focus on jail populations that serve as a "canary in the coal mine" for population-level illicit drug trends. 2:23:10 PM CHAIR CLAMAN asked what reasons, if any can be determined, have contributed to Alaska not following national rates of violent crime or property crime. 2:23:45 PM DR. MYRSTOL said the Justice Center has not proceeded beyond hypotheses and can only speculate. He offered one hypothesis that property crime, having fallen so much over time, had reached its theoretical floor and is now regressing to the mean. He said it was compelling that the rise in violent crime "has been cooking for a while" starting in the mid-1990s, whereas the upturn in the property crime rate occurred more recently. 2:25:42 PM CHAIR CLAMAN commented that the upward trend in property and violent crime tracks with drug overdose deaths. He said it suggests some connection between the two. 2:26:09 PM DR. MYRSTOL agreed it is suggestive, but stressed that it is not known how they are connected. He said they might be connected through a third factor causing them both. He said they could be directly related or, alternatively, the relationship between them is actually spurious. 2:27:24 PM REPRESENTATIVE WOOL noted that both property and violent crime rates turned upward around 2014 and 2015. He referenced testimony from a previous meeting by Captain Sean Case of the Anchorage Police Department (APD). Captain Case had mentioned how APD combated auto theft by concentrating resources on that particular problem. He considered the possibility that something happened in 2014 involving a deconcentrating of resources that resulted in the crime spikes. He added that the poor economy in Alaska in 2014 could have contributed. 2:29:59 PM CHAIR CLAMAN asked Dr. Payne to present new rearrest data. 2:30:31 PM DR. TROY PAYNE, Associate Professor, UAA Justice Center; Associate Director, Alaska Justice Information Center, University of Alaska Anchorage, began his PowerPoint presentation [slide 18 in the committee packet] titled "Rearrest within 7 days." He said AJiC had been tracking criminal justice bills introduced earlier in the session and noticed a frequent mentioning of the concept of "catch and release." He said AJiC realized it could determine the extent to which people are rearrested, which he defined as being caught, released, and caught again within a short period of time. 2:31:45 PM DR. PAYNE addressed slide 19, titled "Data Source." He said Alaska statute requires agencies to report individually- identified data to the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission (ACJC). He said this data includes arrest and citation data from DPS. DR. PAYNE addressed slide 20, titled "DPS arrest & citation Charge-level data." He said his data set included felony arrests, felony citations, misdemeanor arrests, and misdemeanor citations. He said his data set did not include infractions, violations, and charges with no arrest tracking number. 2:32:47 PM DR. PAYNE addressed slide 21, titled "Methods." He said the dataset included 222,213 charges from July 1, 2014, to December 31, 2018. He explained that the Alaska Public Safety Information Network (APSIN) assigns an identification number to each unique individual. He said he used this information to track whether a person had been rearrested. He listed other data used in the analysis: arrest date, arrest statute, and arrest tracking number (ATN), which he explained identifies unique arrest events. DR. PAYNE addressed slide 22, also titled "Methods." He walked the committee through the process of arrest data analysis. He said he identified the days between an individual's arrest and any subsequent rearrest. He then counted the people who were rearrested within seven days. 2:34:29 PM DR. PAYNE addressed slides 23 and 24. He presented an animated scatter plot measuring rearrests within seven days. The graph was divided into three time periods: Before criminal justice reform [beginning in July 2014], between criminal justice reform and Senate Bill 54 [passed in the Thirtieth Alaska State Legislature], and post-Senate Bill 54. He said the data indicated no change in the number of rearrests within seven days from July 2014 to July 2018. 2:36:03 PM DR. PAYNE addressed slides 25 to 26. He presented an animated line graph that displayed the same information as the scatter plot. He restated his findings. He noted that the line graph does not include violations of conditions of release (VCOR). He explained this was because criminal justice reform made VCOR noncriminal. 2:37:20 PM DR. PAYNE addressed slides 27, which added VCOR to the previous scatter plot and line graph. He concluded there is not a very large difference in VCOR from before to after criminal justice reform. He noted that the motivating question was whether there was a difference in the number of people who were rearrested in a short period of time before criminal justice reform compared to after. He said the answer is "it appears not." DR. PAYNE noted that rearrests are a real phenomenon. He confirmed anecdotal evidence from law enforcement and public defenders that the same people are indeed coming through the system again and again. He restated that the motivation for the research was to determine the similarity of the phenomenon before and after criminal justice reform. 2:39:06 PM DR. PAYNE addressed slide 29, titled "Summary." He said that each week, about 26 people are arrested again within seven days of their previous arrest. He restated that there is no evidence of a large change in people rearrested within seven days from before criminal justice reform to after. He said the trend is flat, or a stationary time series. DR. PAYNE mentioned that AJiC had studied rearrest trends over different time periods. He addressed slides 30 to 38, which featured line graphs measuring rearrests within 3, 7, 10, 14, 21, 30, 60, 90, and 180 days. He said the same conclusions drawn for the seven-day dataset apply to the other time periods, that rearrest rates have not significantly changed over time. 2:40:32 PM REPRESENTATIVE SHAW asked why criminal justice reform has not reaped benefits. 2:41:15 PM CHAIR CLAMAN noted that Dr. Myrstol and Dr. Payne are not able to comment on the full breadth of criminal justice reform. 2:41:26 PM DR. PAYNE answered that he was presenting an answer to a very narrow question. He restated AJiC's goal of providing information to policymakers based on the data at its disposal. He said AJiC is not able to give a comprehensive review of criminal justice reform at this time. He restated his rearrests findings. 2:42:13 PM CHAIR CLAMAN confirmed that AJiC's study is independent research that was not commissioned by ACJC or the legislature. He said AJiC initiated the study as a response to public claims attributing "catch and release" to criminal justice reform. He restated that AJiC's findings show there is no data to support those claims. 2:42:53 PM REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX said, on the other hand, she is not sure there is data suggesting criminal justice reform has fixed recidivism problems. 2:43:18 PM CHAIR CLAMAN said there would soon be a discussion of recidivism data. 2:43:28 PM DR. PAYNE said if the public concern is about public safety with regard to rearrests, the data indicates no difference after criminal justice reform compared to before. 2:43:52 PM REPRESENTATIVE WOOL noted that if criminal justice reform made "catch and release" worse it would be backed up by data indicating an increase in rearrests. He asked whether the individuals in the dataset had spent time in jail or if they were released after a brief period of detention. 2:44:38 PM DR. PAYNE said the analysis only focused on whether an individual was rearrested within seven days. He said it would stand to reason that, because of criminal justice reform, more people are being released from jail pretrial. He noted that this was just speculative, and his analysis does not contain that corresponding data. 2:45:36 PM CHAIR CLAMAN referenced testimony from a previous meeting by the state's public defender, Quinlan Steiner. Mr. Steiner had referenced data that indicated pretrial release numbers have risen while rearrest numbers have not. 2:46:06 PM REPRESENTATIVE WOOL noted that Dr. Payne's graphs measured the number of rearrests but did not include the number of people released, so if 30 people were rearrested one cannot establish whether that meant 30 people rearrested out of 300 or out of 1,000. He asked if release numbers have increased due to changes in the bail system and if people released after multi- year sentences are receiving better reentry services. 2:46:55 PM DR. PAYNE clarified that the only individuals present in his dataset are those rearrested within seven days, so it does not include people who had served lengthy sentences in DOC facilities. He referenced the Justice Center's role in revalidating Alaska's pretrial risk assessment tool and said that process will soon provide answers to Representative Wool's question about release numbers. 2:47:55 PM REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN asked whether an individual who is rearrested twice within seven days gets counted once or twice in the dataset. 2:48:26 PM DR. PAYNE answered that if an individual is arrested Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, they are in the data set five times once per arrest. 2:48:53 PM REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN presented a second hypothetical wherein an individual is arrested multiple times over a two-week span. He asked how that would be reflected in the graphs that measured by week. 2:49:08 PM DR. PAYNE answered, "In each week in which [an individual] is arrested and rearrested within seven days, you would add to that count." REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN asked if the same person could have committed all crimes reflected in the graph for a given week. 2:49:34 PM DR. PAYNE answered, "hypothetically yes, actually no." He said Representative Eastman was asking about the distribution of arrests across arrestees. He said that information is not reflected in the analysis. 2:49:57 PM CHAIR CLAMAN addressed a report [hard copy included in the committee packet] titled "Alaska Recidivism & Reentry" dated March 4, 2019. He said Dr. Myrstol and Dr. Payne were present when the report was presented. He asked if they had any comments or observations on the recidivism data reported by DOC. 2:50:55 PM DR. MYRSTOL clarified that the data analyses were from DOC, not the Justice Center or AJiC. He referenced page six of the report, titled "Alaska Recidivism Rates, which featured a line graph titled "Recidivism Rates by Calendar Year." He said he found the 6 percent drop in recidivism rates for individuals released from 2011 to 2015 to be promising. He explained that the data reflected a three-year follow-up period. 2:52:09 PM CHAIR CLAMAN asked for confirmation that the 61.33 percent recidivism rate for 2015 reflects conduct through the end of 2018. DR. MYRSTOL answered that it is his understanding that DOC uses a three-year follow-up period for release cohorts. 2:52:27 PM DR. MYRSTOL called it encouraging that recidivism rates dropped from [67.47] percent for the 2011 release cohort to [61.33] percent for the 2015 release cohort. 2:53:09 PM REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN asked Dr. Myrstol to explain the term reincarceration" as is presented in the packet. DR. MYRSTOL answered that he cannot give an exact answer to what that term means in the context of DOC's operations. 2:53:41 PM CHAIR CLAMAN said it was his understanding that "reincarceration" refers to a return to jail for any reason. He clarified that the people DOC follows are those with felony convictions. He said DOC does not track misdemeanors in the same way. 2:53:54 PM REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX asked if it can be determined that the declining recidivism rate is attributable to Senate Bill 91, or if the rate was just going to decrease regardless. 2:54:12 PM DR. MYRSTOL answered that he would not be comfortable attributing the decline to any one thing. He said the trends preceded criminal justice reform. He said he was encouraged about the 2015 release cohort, which includes two follow-up years after criminal justice reform. He said more time is needed to study recidivism trends. He acknowledged the frustration that comes with waiting out the lengthy follow-up period. 2:55:54 PM REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX asked if any data exists for the period after 2015. 2:56:15 PM DR. MYRSTOL explained that the label "CY 2015" on the line graph takes into account individuals who were released by DOC in 2015 and then followed for three years. He said the offense rate in the graph is a cumulative rate of the people in that release cohort who were arrested at least once within three years. 2:56:56 PM REPRESENTATIVE WOOL referenced page eight of the report which featured a line graph measuring recidivism excluding probation and parole violations. He noted that the rate falls by about 30 percent. He asked if a modification to parole would bring Alaska to a level of recidivism more in line with places with famously low rates such as Norway. 2:58:03 PM DR. MYRSTOL said he cannot speak to the topic of parole and how Alaska's system compares to other nations or states. He said it is important to understand the difference between VCOR and the commission of new crimes. He said DOC's presentation of the data suggests a distinction between the two. 2:59:47 PM REPRESENTATIVE WOOL referenced page 10, which featured a table measuring recidivism by offense class. He drew attention to the category "parole/probation." He mused upon the various reasons an individual may be rearrested and fall into that category. DR. MYRSTOL said he would have to defer to DOC regarding discussion of their offense categories. 3:00:36 PM REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN asked if the recidivism data takes into account individuals who are rearrested in other states or individuals who become deceased before the culmination of the follow-up period. 3:01:38 PM DR. MYRSTOL answered that DOC and the Justice Center tend to rely only on Alaska data, so they do not have ready access to information about individuals arrested in outside jurisdictions. He said individuals who move out of state could be undercounted. He added that individuals in a release cohort are not verified for Alaska residency. After asking Representative Eastman to repeat his question about deceased individuals, Dr. Myrstol confirmed that those circumstances are reflected and controlled for in the data analysis. 3:03:28 PM CHAIR CLAMAN thanked Dr. Myrstol and Dr. Payne for their presentations and input. He closed invited testimony. 3:04:15 PM ADJOURNMENT There being no further business before the committee, the House Judiciary Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 3:04 p.m.
|UAA Justice Center Presentation to House Judiciary Committee 3.8.19.pdf||
HJUD 3/8/2019 1:30:00 PM
|DOC Recidivism Reduction Presentation (presented to ACJC March 4, 2019) 3.8.19.pdf||
HJUD 3/8/2019 1:30:00 PM