Task Force on the Penal Code and Controlled Substances Act


Minutes of the<MeetNo1> 2nd Meeting

of the 2010 Interim


<MeetMDY1> July 14, 2010


Call to Order and Roll Call

The<MeetNo2> 2nd meeting of the Task Force on the Penal Code and Controlled Substances Act was held on<Day> Wednesday,<MeetMDY2> July 14, 2010, at<MeetTime> 1:00 PM, in<Room> Room 171 of the Capitol Annex. Senator Tom Jensen, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.  A quorum was present and the minutes of the June 9, 2010 meeting were approved without objection.


Present were:


Members:<Members> Senator Tom Jensen, Co-Chair; Representative John Tilley, Co-Chair; Secretary J. Michael Brown, Tom Handy, Chief Justice John D. Minton, Jr., and Hon. Tommy Turner.


Guests:  Richard Jerome, PEW Center for the States; James Austin, JFA Institute; Peter Ozanne and Meghan Guevara, Crime and Justice Institute; Jennifer Hans, Office of the Attorney General; Bill Patrick, Kentucky County Attorneys Association; Janice Tomes, Governor’s Office of Policy and Management; and Marylee Underwood, Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs.


LRC Staff:  Norman Lawson; Jon Grate; Ray DeBolt; Joanna Decker; Kyle Moon; and Rebecca Crawley.


Tennessee Probation and Parole System

The first speakers were Tennessee Commissioner of Correction Gayle Ray, and Director of Field Services Gary Tullock of the Tennessee Board of Probation and Parole.  Commissioner Ray said Tennessee’s corrections programs were becoming more and more crowded over the years and the Department of Correction and the Board of Probation and Parole decided to work together to address the problem.  Among the Department of Correction’s goals were to reduce recidivism, reduce technical violators/revocations for those on probation and parole, reduce the jail and prison population, and reduce corrections expenditures. In the 2009-2010 budget, the departments created new programs in Tennessee designed to increase public safety, incarcerate those persons committing serious crimes, reduce the number of persons returned to prison for technical violations of probation or parole, institute evidence-based programs for community based and institutional problems, and reduce recidivism.  Commissioner Ray indicated these goals were partially met and recidivism was reduced from 42% in 2001 to 38.5% in 2005.


Specific changes included implementation of the Level of Service/Case Management Inventory (LS/CMI) program.  The program cost $200,000 and required intensive staff training, but has provided a useable instrument which can be used by the courts, probation, parole, and corrections to assess each convicted individual and which identifies dangerousness, treatment needs and other factors which determine if the inmate is eligible for community programs, what specific problems the inmate has which may need to be treated, and other factors.  Other changes included increased community corrections slots, increased community residential slots, hiring 54 new Board of Probation and Parole staff including psychiatric social workers, increased community treatment programs in cooperation with the Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities, and sharing of planning, research, training, and grants between departments.  There is now one psychiatric social worker for every 1,000 offenders.  $2.2 million was allocated for alcohol and treatment programs.


Commissioner Ray said implementation of these changes has reduced Tennessee’s prison population, they have been able to close one prison and delay construction of a new prison, has enabled them to better assess their prison population and their needs beyond incarceration, and improved communication between the Department of Correction, Board of Probation and Parole, Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, and the Team Re-entry Collaborative Program, which was started six years ago and involves all organizations, agencies, and programs dealing with inmate reentry into society.


Commissioner Ray said their goals may have been overly ambitious because they didn’t correctly factor in time constraints such as the time lag in developing and completing the contract process, hiring qualified staff, lack of communication between agencies, development of standardized definitions such as recidivism, lack of management and staff training, and changing the system culture.  Their future goals include quality assurance, strategic planning, analysis of program needs and evidence-based practices, and more inmate reentry efforts.


Mr. Tullock described key elements of the plan as use of the LS/CMI instrument for all inmates (19,000 assessments have been done), a program known as TAP-BIG which is a program for transitioning prisoners back into society utilizing behavioral intervention goals, motivational interaction and evidence-based program development.  Evidence-based programs have been shown to reduce offender recidivism.  In these programs, high risk offenders receive high levels of treatment and supervision, while low risk offenders may be omitted from many treatment services and have a lower level of supervision.  In order to reduce the number of probationers and parolees sent to prison for technical violations, an intermediate sanctions program has been instituted which allows probation and parole officers to utilize sanctions instead of returning a person to prison.  The probation and parole officers make recommendations for sanctions to judges for persons on probation and to the parole board for parolees, which are generally implemented immediately.  Seventy-five percent of the judges follow the recommendations of the officer but can override them if they so choose.


In response to questions from the members, Mr. Tullock said the inmate assessment instrument was mandated by the legislature and a time frame was established for meeting the goals, but they underestimated the time necessary to accomplish those goals within the original time frame.


PEW Center Update and Discussion

Representative Tilley gave a report on the National Governor’s Association, PEW Public Safety Conference in Annapolis, Maryland which was attended by Representative Tilley, Senator Jensen, Secretary of Justice and Public Safety J. Michael Brown, Corrections Commissioner LaDonna Thompson, Chief Justice John Minton, and various staff persons.  Representative Tilley reviewed recommendations from the conference which included use of evidence-based practices, reducing the number of nonviolent offenders in prison, keeping the most dangerous offenders in prison, use of cost/benefit analyses, and fiscal impact statements for all criminal justice legislation.  The goals of justice reinvestment programs are public safety, holding offenders accountable, reducing recidivism, reducing the crime rate, and being able to use the savings to fund alternative programs which work and achieve these goals.


James Austin of the JFA Institute presented a report on Kentucky crime and correctional trends and described how data can be used to design better programs and to analyze proposed reforms and their impact.  Mr. Austin said length of stay is a significant cost driver in corrections and that reducing the length of stay in prison by one month for all inmates would reduce the need for 1,000-1,500 beds in the future.  He noted in the past couple of years, the parole grant rate has increased from about 34% to 54% and the current prison population of 21,900 is actually about 1,000 inmates lower due to this change. Key assumptions in prison population projections include new court commitments, probation and parole rates, good-time awards, and parole grant rates.


Meghan Guevara of the Crime and Justice Institute at Community Resources for Justice, gave a presentation on evidence-based practices in corrections to reduce new crime and new victims; increased cost savings due to efficient interventions, reduced recidivism and reduced incarceration; improved assessments of criminal risk and behaviors, targeted treatment programs based on an offender’s risk and needs, and directing resources toward proven interventions.  She noted community support is essential to these efforts.  The program also uses performance benchmarks for public safety and treatment agencies and uses evidence-based practices.


Jason Newman of the PEW Public Safety Performance Project and Peter Ozanne of the Crime and Justice Institute, reviewed the Draft Workplan Outline for upcoming task force meetings as follows:  August 11th meeting, Controlled Substances Act, prison population projection, and a presentation on recent changes in Colorado by a Deputy Attorney General and District Attorney;  September 8th meeting, sentencing statutes and practices, offense classification, sentence length and length of stay; October 13th meeting, correctional programs in prisons and jails, parole practices and procedures; November 10th meeting, parole and probation services, parole and probation revocation; December meeting, discussion of policy options and simulation of effects on Kentucky’s system; and January meeting, release report and introduce legislation.


Representative Tilley moved, seconded by Chief Justice Minton, that the Task Force, through the co-chairs, request that the Legislative Research Commission approve (1) A task force meeting on the second Wednesday of December 2010; (2) A task force meeting on the second Wednesday of January 2011; (3) An extension of the final report date for the task force to the second Wednesday of January 2011; and (4). These meetings would be all-day meetings and there would be no Interim Joint Committee on Judiciary meetings on the December and January dates.  The motion was approved by voice vote.


The meeting adjourned at 4:00 p.m.