Interim Joint Committee on Judiciary

 

Minutes of the<MeetNo1> 3rd Meeting

of the 2012 Interim

 

<MeetMDY1> August 3, 2012

 

Call to Order and Roll Call

The<MeetNo2> 3rd meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Judiciary was held on<Day> Friday,<MeetMDY2> August 3, 2012, at<MeetTime> 10:00 AM, <Room> at the Restricted Custody Center, McCracken County Jail, Paducah, Kentucky. Representative John Tilley, Chair, called the meeting to order, the secretary called the roll, and a quorum was not present.

 

Present were:

 

Members:<Members> Representative John Tilley, Co-Chair; Senators John Schickel, Dan "Malano" Seum, and Brandon Smith; Representatives Sara Beth Gregory, Joni L. Jenkins, Mary Lou Marzian, Michael J. Nemes, Tom Riner, Steven Rudy, and Brent Yonts.

 

Guests: Bill Adams, McCracken County Jailer; Mike Simpson, Oldham County Jailer and President, Kentucky Jailerís Association; Alison Lundergan Grimes, Secretary of State; Tom Rutledge, Stoll Keenon Ogden; LaDonna Thompson, Commissioner, Kimberly Potter-Blair, Deputy Commissioner, James Erwin, Deputy Commissioner, and Tim Carman, Director, Division of Probation and Parole, Department of Corrections; Bob Babbage, Jason Gilbert and Chuck Geveden, Corrisoft; Oliver Barber, Dismas Charities; and Fred Nesler, Department of Agriculture.

 

LRC Staff: Norman Lawson Jr., Jon Grate, and Rebecca Crawley.

 

Chairman Tilley announced that Senator Tom Jensen was ill and could not attend the meeting. He noted that House Speaker Greg Stumbo and House Majority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins were attending the meeting.

 

Welcome

The first speaker was McCracken County Jailer Bill Adams, who welcomed the committee, praised the cooperation between the McCracken County Judge-Executive, the McCracken County Sheriff, and his office, and introduced various local officials who were attending the meeting. Representative Rudy introduced local jailers from west Kentucky, Chief District Judge Louis K. Myers, whose district covers Ballard and Carlisle Counties, and Public Advocate Chris McNeil.

 

Jailerís Concerns

Mike Simpson, Oldham County Jailer and President, Kentucky Jailersí Association, discussed the catastrophic medical care provisions of 2011 House Bill 463 and the need for increased funding. He said the General Assembly increased this funding by $960,000 in fiscal year 2013, and it is hoped it will be enough to meet their needs. Chairman Tilley noted that prior to passage of House Bill 463, there was no funding for medical care for jails, and the catastrophic medical care funding was untapped because the process was too burdensome. He said the 2013 General Assembly will take another look at the funding level and noted hospitals are pleased with the increased funding.

 

Mr. Simpson said another concern relates to deputy jailers who transport prisoners from counties with closed jails (one-third of Kentucky counties do not have a jail) to counties with open jails. Deputy jailers are not sworn peace officers and there is concern about whether they have authority to make arrests and be armed when transporting prisoners. Senator Schickel said the law (KRS 446.010) provides that persons with arrest powers are peace officers. Speaker Stumbo said he was not aware that deputy jailers are not sworn peace officers, and the General Assembly would need to study the fiscal impact of expanding this authority on the state budget and the retirement system. Mr. Simpson said the Kentucky Jailersí Association would like to see deputy jailers become sworn peace officers and is ready to provide any needed training and peace officer (POPS) certification. It was noted Representative Jenkins introduced legislation in 2012 to address this concern, but the bill did not pass. When asked if deputy jailers carry weapons and are certified, Anderson County Jailer Joani Clark said she hires off-duty police officers to transport prisoners.

 

Kentucky Department of Corrections Treatment and Reentry Programs

Commissioner LaDonna Thompson, and Kimberly Potter-Blair, Deputy Commissioner for Support Services, Department of Corrections (DOC), gave an overview of Kentuckyís reentry programs, designed to help offenders successfully transition from prison back into the community. In April 2009, DOC established the Kentucky Alliance for Reentry (KARE) program with a tagline of ďA Second Chance to Make a Second ImpressionĒ. The department has implemented the Level of Service/Case Management Inventory (LS/CMI) risk/needs assessment tool, mandated by 2011 House Bill 463, for all levels of inmates from the presentence investigation report, throughout incarceration, and for parole purposes. The LS/CMI assesses the offenderís risk level and identified needs such as attitude change, education, substance abuse treatment, and job and work skills. Most inmates in prison are medium and high risk offenders, while most people on probation are considered medium risk.

 

Ms. Potter-Blair said Kentucky established the first 24/7 reentry hotline in the nation for released offenders. Each prison now has a reentry coordinator, and Jefferson County has reentry parole officers who supervise medium and high risk parolees for the first six months following release. The Governor's Reentry Task Force, established in April 2009, identified barriers to successful reentry, including limited housing, lack of affordable housing, employment challenges including education and training, and statutes and regulations which limit or prohibit employment of felons and other offenders. It found that Scared Straight, physical challenge, boot camps, and shaming programs did not work. Successful programs include those which focus on criminogenic needs, matching the offender to the program, cognitive behavioral modification, and positive reinforcement. In response to a comment from Senator Smith about the success of Outward Bound programs which challenge persons in outdoor settings, Commissioner Thompson responded some of those programs have high recidivism rates.

 

Senator Schickel disagreed with Commissioner Thompson and said the research on these programs is conflicted because some of the studies have built-in biases. He said the programs have changed from a military model to a treatment model, with varying results, depending on the study. Commissioner Thompson agreed to provide the members with additional information on various reentry programs. Representative Rudy praised the efforts and success of faith-based programs, which are now authorized by statute.

 

Senator Seum told the committee about a lady in Jefferson County who was convicted of a minor felony offense many years ago and completed nurses training, only to find out that she cannot be licensed to become a nurse and cannot even join the PTA. Ms. Potter-Blair agreed restrictions on licenses are a major barrier to employment for inmates transitioning back into the community. Representative Tilley said the number of professions that prohibit licensure for people convicted of felonies and misdemeanors is extensive. He said misdemeanor expungement is a difficult process, and convictions for public intoxication and alcohol intoxication can keep people from getting jobs for many years. He noted Senator Jensen is very interested in statutory and regulatory changes to help offenders get jobs and become taxpayers again.

 

In response to a question from Representative Jenkins about family support for reentry, Commissioner Thompson said the department has received a grant to work with families during an inmate's reentry. She added that persons who successfully complete the Sex Offender Treatment Program have a 50 percent reduction in recidivism compared to those who do not complete the program.

 

James Erwin, Deputy Commissioner for Adult Institutions, discussed programs for inmates prior to release, which are cognitive therapy based, address the criminogenic needs of the offender based on the LS/CMI assessment, evidence based and last six months. Examples include InsideOut Dads, Moral Recognition Therapy, Pathfinders, Substance Abuse Program, Sex Offender Treatment Program, and Thinking for a Change, a mental health program. He recommended that good time credit for treatment and completion of education programs as mandated by 2011 House Bill 463 be expanded to department approved 90 day programs. 

 

Since implementation of House Bill 463 in July 2011, the department has increased the number of substance abuse beds from 430 in 2004 to 3,661 in 2012. These beds are located in all state institutions, supported by programs in several jails, community based programs, and Reentry Kentucky programs. The department is now implementing a 90-day program for persons with lesser abuse problems to supplement the 180-day program. He noted there are few outside treatment options because of insufficient funding.

 

Representative Tilley said the Task Force on the Penal Code and Controlled Substances recognized the substance abuse treatment needs of offenders were not being met. One year after implementation of House Bill 463, the justice reinvestment savings are being directed toward increased substance abuse treatment programs, allowing more offenders to be released upon completion of the program.

 

In response to a question from Representative Yonts about the lack of contracts with any of the statewide regional mental health programs, Mr. Erwin said some inmates do not have a home placement to go to when they are released, preventing them from accessing regional mental health services. He said some jails are using community mental health programs.

 

Mr. Erwin discussed vocational education programs operated by DOC, including adult education, horticulture, carpentry, computer classes, and automotive body/collision repair. In response to a question from Representative Adkins, Mr. Erwin said the department no longer contracts with the Kentucky Community and Technical College System because the statutes were changed several years ago to utilize department-operated programs.

 

Tim Carmen, Director, Division of Probation and Parole, discussed two new programs mandated by 2011 House Bill 463 requiring mandatory reentry supervision for six months prior to release for specified offenders, and post-incarceration supervision for maximum or close-custody offenders. Since 2011, the division has added 73 probation and parole officers, 22 probation and parole investigators, 11 assistant supervisors, and 11 support staff. Seventy-five percent of those supervised are on probation, with the remainder from parole, pre-trial diversion, mandatory reentry supervision, sex offender post incarceration supervision, and specified felon post-incarceration supervision. The division currently uses the Supervision, Monitoring, Accountability, Responsibility, and Treatment (SMART) program in cooperation with the Administrative Office of the Courts, and has developed a program known as PORTAL, which provides basic life skills education for probationers and parolees. Mr. Carmen said Morehead State University is studying the effectiveness of the SMART program and will be making recommendations to the department.

 

Potential 2013 Business Related Legislation

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, and Tom Rutledge, Stoll Keenon Ogden, presented on business related legislation. Secretary of State Grimes explained that in addition to being the chief election officer, she is also the chief business officer for the Commonwealth. The Secretary of Stateís Office maintains records on 728,054 entities. Required business filings have increased by 7,000 which can now be submitted on-line. She thanked the General Assembly for the 2012 passage of HB 270 relating to streamlining the occupational license tax form, HB 341 relating to the statutory trust act, and HB 441 relating to the Uniform Limited Cooperative Association Act. Mr. Rutledge said priorities for the 2013 Regular Session include updating the Kentucky Uniform Fraudulent Conveyance Act and revising the Model Nonprofit Corporation Act. Revisions to the Kentucky Business Entity Transactions Act will not be ready until the 2014 Regular Session.

 

Felony Reentry Programs: Corrisoft

Jason Gilbert, Vice President of Sales, Corrisoft, a corporation specializing in alternatives to incarceration programs, said the business began six years ago with a Clear My Record Program in several states. It has expanded to include high tech employment, housing, education, substance abuse and mental health programs, and offender monitoring programs, with a special emphasis on programs for veterans. The programs are designed to break down silos of information so all parties who have information or services relating to an offender can communicate.

 

Representative Yonts said some GPS monitoring programs are ineffective because they require the use of land line telephones, or do not have full time cell phone coverage. Mr. Gilbert said his organization will be releasing a new monitoring system in the near future which will not rely on land lines and will address problems with cell phone coverage. Mr. Gilbert said the company has had 100 percent success in finding housing, 85 percent success in rehabilitation programs, 80 percent success in finding employment for offenders, 75 percent successful completion of education programs, and has documented a recidivism rate of 3.4 percent.

 

The meeting adjourned at 12:00 p.m.