Legislature(1995 - 1996)

04/28/1995 08:55 AM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
  SENATE BILL NO. 67                                                           
                                                                               
       "An Act relating to the crime of unlawful evasion."                     
                                                                               
                                                                               
                                7                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  SENATOR JOHNNY ELLIS, SPONSOR testified in support of SB 67.                 
  He observed that Anchorage downtown activists  requested the                 
  legislation  in   response  to  concerns  that   escapes  of                 
  misdemeanants  from  halfway  houses  were  not  being taken                 
  seriously.   He  observed that  there were 23  walk-aways by                 
  misdemeanants in half-way houses in FY  93, 68 in FY 94, and                 
  31 to date in FY 95.  He stated that walk aways have gone on                 
  to commit drunk driving and drug crimes.  He maintained that                 
  the current sanction  should be  consolidated at the  higher                 
  felony level of up  to one year in  prison and up to  a $5.0                 
  thousand dollar  fine.   Misdemeanants would  have the  same                 
  deterrent as felons for escaping from  a half-way house.  He                 
  observed that  a  consensus  was  achieved  by  neighborhood                 
  activists and operators of the half-way houses.                              
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Foster questioned the zero  fiscal impact.  Senator                 
  Ellis emphasized that the intent is to create a deterrent.                   
                                                                               
  MARGOT KNUTH, CRIMINAL DIVISION,  DEPARTMENT OF LAW stressed                 
  that there is no difference in the cost of prosecuting class                 
  A or class  B misdemeanor  cases.  She  stressed that  while                 
  there  would be  no fiscal cost  from the  legislation there                 
  would  be  a  deterrent impact.    She  emphasized  that the                 
  legislation simplifies the criminal code  and is welcomed by                 
  the Department of Law.                                                       
                                                                               
  In  response to  a question  by  Co-Chair Foster,  Ms. Knuth                 
  noted  that the typical offender  housed in a half-way house                 
  is non-violent.                                                              
  Representative Parnell  questioned  why there  would  be  no                 
  increase to  the Department  of Corrections  to reflect  the                 
  increased jailed time.   Ms. Knuth  stated that there is  an                 
  assumption that the  actual period  of incarceration is  not                 
  likely to go up.  She observed  that there would be a longer                 
  period  of supervision under a suspension  of sentence.  She                 
  acknowledged that there  may be some additional time  if the                 
  suspension  is revoked.   She  added that  if  the suspended                 
  sentence is revoked another offense would be involved.                       
                                                                               
  Representative Martin  queried if  offenders that  walk away                 
  from a  half-way house would  have to serve  their probation                 
  time.   Ms. Knuth noted  that there will  be times when  the                 
  half-way house constitutes the offender's sentence.                          
                                                                               
  Senator Ellis observed a trend toward more serious offenders                 
  being  placed  in halfway  houses  due to  over  crowding in                 
  correctional facilities.   He acknowledged  that it is  good                 
  policy  to  have  a  facility from  which  offenders  can be                 
  transitioned back into the community.                                        
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Foster MOVED to report SB  67 out of Committee with                 
  individual recommendations and with  the accompanying fiscal                 
                                                                               
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  notes.                                                                       

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