Task Force on the Penal Code and Controlled Substances Act


Minutes of the<MeetNo1> 1st Meeting

of the 2011 Interim


<MeetMDY1> June 3, 2011


Call to Order and Roll Call

The<MeetNo2> 1st meeting of the Task Force on the Penal Code and Controlled Substances Act was held on<Day> Friday,<MeetMDY2> June 3, 2011, 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.


Present were:


Members:<Members> Senator Tom Jensen, Co-Chair; Representative John Tilley, Co-Chair; J. Michael Brown, Tom Handy, J. Guthrie True, and Tommy Turner.


Guests: Gary VanLandingham, Director, Results First, Pew Center on the States.


LRC Staff: Norman Lawson Jr., Jon Grate, Joanna Decker, Ray Debolt, Jr., and Rebecca Crawley.


Cost-Benefit Analysis Model

The first speaker was Mr. Gary VanLandingham, Director of the Results First program of the PEW Center on the States. The Results First program uses a cutting-edge cost-benefit analysis model to help guide state criminal justice policy. The model aggregates the best national research to identify evidence-based programs that work, applies the research findings to Kentucky’s population to estimate policy impact of program options, and uses Kentucky data to predict the costs and benefits of program options. The end result is an estimated return on investment for each program examined. Mr. VanLandingham stated the cost-benefit model could be a significant resource as Kentucky considers investments in criminal justice programs.


The Pew Center on the States based its model on the Washington State Institute for Public Policy’s cost-benefit model that examines multiple policy areas. Washington has used the model for many years to help achieve better outcomes at lower costs and has used it to analyze criminal justice programs to save the state $1.3 billion per biennium and achieve lower crime. The model determines what programs work and considers the budget and policy impacts in the state if certain policies were to be implemented.


The Results First model also enables policy makers to consider the net policy and fiscal effects of a wide range of policy choices, predicts system-wide impacts of both sentencing and treatment options, and helps states take a comprehensive, evidence-based approach to criminal justice policy and budget choices.


The program looks at a wide array of criminal justice programs, including those for adult offenders, juvenile offenders, and prevention. The model can also produce a portfolio analysis in which a state can input several interventions and their interactions to determine a collective estimate of what the impact would be on the crime rate and the budget.


Currently, five states are using the model, and 20 more are hoping to partner with Results First. The Results First program is seeking to provide the model and intensive technical assistance to implement the model in six to ten states.


The partner statesroles and responsibilities include a commitment to using the model to help inform policy decisions, a designated staff work group, a formal letter of commitment, cost sharing of $25,000 to $50,000, and access to state-specific data.


Key implementation steps include establishing a group of stakeholders to oversee the effort, designating a staff work group to manage the implementation process, developing an implementation plan, entering state data into the model and determining the level of customization, adding state-specific studies to the model's summary of national research, and identifying policy questions to explore using the model.


Mr. VanLandingham indicated an expanded version of the system would be available in July and would add other policy areas such as education, child welfare, substance abuse, health, public assistance, housing, and teen births. Several members asked for more details about funding, how far back information could be obtained, and implementation of the expanded program.


Representative Tilley said he learned about the program during an Annapolis, Maryland, meeting last year and was impressed by what it could to. Representative Tilley wants the state to participate, and Senator Jensen indicated that participation would require approval of legislative leadership. Secretary Brown indicated his cabinet contains the Statistical Analysis Center, which is currently providing similar information for the state, and is interested in participating in the Results First program.


Discussion of the Task Force Survey for Criminal Justice Stakeholders

Discussion then turned to a questionnaire provided by staff to solicit suggestions from stakeholders for changes to the Penal Code and Controlled Substances Act. There was general approval of the questionnaire, its format, and questions. County Judge-Executive Turner suggested stakeholder responses be returned to staff by a specific date for analysis and discussion at the July meeting.


Representative Tilley said he had spoken with the New Jersey drug czar about New Jersey’s penal code efforts, and she indicated that its 1975 code contained 250 statutes which have grown in a random fashion to 1,300 statutes.


Discussion of the 2011 Task Force Goals and Meeting Plan

Senator Jensen asked the members for suggestions on issues to be addressed by the task force during the 2011 interim. Secretary Brown suggested a review of categories of offenses, including Class E and F felonies, and redistributing the penalties, and expungement of low level felonies. Mr. Handy agreed with the need to review felony classifications, and suggested improving the sentencing information given to victims to give a more accurate representation of the actual time an offender will serve before being released. It was pointed out that one of the provisions of House Bill 463 would require the Department of Corrections to implement an improved sentencing information system by 2013. Mr. Handy also recommended streamlining and improving the restitution collection system so that all parts of the criminal justice system are using the same system. Mr. True suggested removing the requirement to enter a guilty plea prior to entering pretrial diversion, implementing deferred prosecution, adjusting penalty levels, narrowing the violent offender and sex offender classifications and the percentage of time to be served prior to parole eligibility, removing restrictions on the hiring and licensing of felony offenders for certain types of employment, and limiting the hiring and licensing restrictions to the nexus of the offense and the employment.


Representative Tilley indicated the Task Force needs suggestions for potential statutory clean-up of the provisions in 2011 House Bill 463 for inclusion in the 2012 legislative proposals.


The meeting adjourned at 1:30 p.m.