Legislature(2003 - 2004)
04/26/2004 08:45 AM House FIN
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE BILL NO. 487 An Act relating to the detention of delinquent minors in correctional facilities; relating to emergency detention of minors for evaluation for involuntary admission for mental health treatment; relating to detention of intoxicated minors and minors incapacitated by alcohol or drugs; and providing for an effective date. PATTY WARE, DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF JUVENILE JUSTICE, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES, explained that in 2002 reauthorization of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) of 1974 went into effect on October 1, 2003. The JJDPA has traditionally prohibited incarceration of non-offenders and status offenders in adult jails and "lock-ups". New language in the 2002 reauthorization prohibits the use of juvenile detention facilities for the non-offenders and status offenders as of October 1, 2003. Ms. Ware continued, the bill would modify AS 47.12.240, AS 47.30.705 and AS 47.37.170 to come into compliance with the federal requirements set out in the Guidance Manual for Monitoring Facilities Under the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 2003. Under the amendments, emergency protective custody of minors may not include placement in a jail or other secured facility. The language is also found in current law relating to placement of children in need of aid (CHINA) and has been interpreted by both State and federal official to provide sufficient flexibility for holding minors until a more appropriate facility can be found or until transportation to such a facility is feasible. The purpose of the bill is to preserve Alaska's federal formula grant receipts of approximately $700 thousand dollars and to meet requirement to apply for other federal money. Ms. Ware continued that the bill will bring Alaska into compliance so that emergency protective custody of juveniles may not include placement in a locked jail or youth facility when relating to detention of intoxicated minors incapacitated by alcohol or drugs. Vice Chair Meyer questioned if the program would cost the State money. Ms. Ware pointed out that both notes are zero. Representative Joule asked what the alternative would be in the smaller communities. Ms. Ware advised that the Department has been working to determine ways to place individuals in the Public Safety buildings or in other secure situations. She pointed out that the State continues to work with the federal government regarding their definitions and what is allowable. Representative Fate pointed out the high percentage of violations. He asked if there was a cut off point not retracted. Ms. Ware responded that there are and that the numbers are highlighted in the handout from the Department. (Copy on File). She added that Alaska continues to struggle with the juvenile rule challenge. ERNIE MUELLER, ALASKA JUVENILE JUSTICE ADVISORY COMMITTEE, noted that the Governor appoints the Alaska Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee with members throughout the State. The mission is to advise the Governor, Legislature and the Department on matters relating to juvenile justice throughout the State. He noted that they had been working with the Division on these bills and that the Committee endorses HB 487, which is important legislation that will ensure continued funds for the Division. LT. ALLEN STOREY, (TESTIFIED VIA TELECONFERENCE), ALASKA STATE TROOPERS, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY, commented that they had been working with Department of Health & Social Services and Ms. Ware to insure that the Department of Public Safety is in compliance with the requirements. Juvenile Justice has made a commitment to work the Department of Public Safety and the local police departments to educate them regarding the standard. He commented that Department of Public Safety supports the legislation. Representative Foster MOVED to report HB 487 out of Committee with individual recommendations and with the accompanying fiscal note. HB 487 was reported out of Committee with "individual" recommendations and with zero note #1 by the Department of Health & Social Services and zero note #2 by the Department of Public Safety.