Task Force on the Penal Code and Controlled Substances Act


Minutes of the<MeetNo1> 2nd Meeting

of the 2011 Interim


<MeetMDY1> August 5, 2011


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> Friday,<MeetMDY2> August 5, 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, John D. Minton, Jr., J. Guthrie True, and Tommy Turner.


Guests: Jackie Steele, Laurel County Commonwealth Attorney; Jamie Mosley, Laurel County Jailer; District Judge Karen Thomas; Corporal James Frasher, Evelyn Mace and Edye Dabney, Lexington-Fayette County Urban County Government, Division of Community Corrections; Terry Carl, Kenton County Jailer; Rodney Ballard, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Corrections; Robert Carpenter, Greenup County Judge-Executive; Richard Berry Alternative Sentencing Coordinator, Greenup County; and Joanie Clark, Anderson County Jailer.


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


The minutes of the June 3, 2011 meeting were approved by voice vote.


Chief Justice Minton recognized Campbell County District Judge Karen Thomas who recently received a Special Service Award for her services to the Kentucky Court of Justice and other service to the community at the Kentucky Bar Association's annual meeting.


Global Positioning System Electronic Monitoring

Corporal James Frasher, Assistant Director Edye Dabney, and Adult Probation/Captain Supervisor Evelyn Mace of the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government Division of Community Corrections, testified about the Urban County Government's electronic monitoring program. Some offenders who are released are placed on home incarceration, while others are subject to drug and alcohol testing, and others are permitted to go to work, education, and other programs but all of whom are subject to electronic monitoring through a global positioning system which tracks their movements in real time. Conditions of the program include remaining in the home except for work and other approved activities, adherence to a specific schedule, and no new charges for violation of federal, state, or local laws. The electronic monitoring program is used for high risk offenders charged with murder, rape/sexual assault, or domestic violence and is also used to restrict and monitor the movement of sex offenders and gang members as well as for the release of persons who may present a flight risk and who are prohibited from going to airports and bus stations.


The system used in Fayette County operates on a dual cellular and GPS signal which allows tracking offenders both outdoors by GPS and indoors by cellular technology. Both active and passive tracking are utilized depending on the offender with the difference being how often the program reports the offender's movements. Passive tracking is $1 per day cheaper than active tracking. Ms. Dabney said the program is 92 percent effective in assuring compliance and not committing new offenses. The tracking program permits jail personnel to track offender movements, check whether they are speeding, and is used to determine where an offender was when a crime was committed. If the offender was not at the scene of the crime, then the system exonerates the offender. The program is paid for by the participants unless they are indigent. The cost of the program to the government is $3.50 per person per day and the government charges $7.00 per person per day to cover administrative costs as well as providing monitoring for the indigent. In response to a question from County Judge-Executive Turner, Ms. Dabney indicated that 60 percent of the persons in the program are on court-ordered pretrial release and that a small percentage is on post-trial probation supervision.


In response to other questions, Ms. Dabney said there are 40 participants, who the Urban County Government decided what they wanted the system to do, and then accepted bids from vendors. The present vendor is located in California. Mr. Handy asked if the company was bonded to which the response was that they did not know. Mr. Handy asked whether the company was prohibited from hiring convicted felons to which the response was that they were not. Mr. Handy asked what privacy protections is part of the program to which Ms. Dabney responded they would deny an Open Records request for the information. Judge-Executive Turner asked if sentence credit is given for time spent on monitoring to which the response was "in some cases." Mr. True commented there is no statute granting mandatory credit for time spent on home incarceration or electronic monitoring but he felt there should be.


The next speaker was Kenton County Jailer Terry W. Carl, who said Kenton County uses the Isecuretrac System 5000, which consists of three parts: a personal transmitter unit (PTU), an ankle unit which is strapped to the offender's leg, and a charging base. The monitoring company is located in Iowa. Mr. Carl said the PTU is the device which is tracked by satellite and the offender must stay within range of the PTU which can also receive text messages from the home incarceration office or the monitoring center. If the offender cuts the ankle cuff off or tampers with it, an alert is sent to the program director's cell phone who then investigates the situation to determine its cause. Thirty-five percent of the Kenton County offenders are misdemeanor and traffic offenders as well as probationers, 60 percent are pretrial detainees, and five percent are juvenile offenders. Mr. Carl said the equipment is leased and extra equipment is provided by the vendor so defective equipment can be replaced or new persons placed on the program. Offenders in the program have been monitored as far away as Florida and Arizona while many offenders are monitored while in Ohio.


Mr. Carl said using the GPS system is cost effective, at $8 to $9 per day as opposed to $65 per day to have the same person in jail, and by tracking offender movements the system has solved several crimes, including murders. The main downside to the system is an occasional monitoring failure caused by telephone signal loss usually due to poor cell coverage such as mountainous regions or rural areas. In response to a question from Representative Tilley, Mr. Carl indicated there are usually about 115 to 140 offenders per day on the program and 5 to 10 juveniles, the program was funded by a Department of Corrections Community Corrections grant for $186,000, with additional funding from the fiscal court for staff. Offenders are charged $8.50 per day unless they fall within the federal poverty guidelines.


Rodney Ballard, Department of Corrections, described electronic monitoring as a tool for eliminating overcrowding and a tool for judges to use in lieu of incarceration with problems including how to respond to alerts, who should respond to alerts, and the response time. When asked if GPS monitoring could be conducted on a regional or area code basis, the response was yes. County Judge-Executive Turner said his county is divided into two area codes.


Greenup County Judge-Executive Robert W. Carpenter was accompanied by Richard Berry, Greenup County Alternative Sentencing Coordinator. Judge-Executive Carpenter described the operation and benefits of two alternative sentencing programs in his county, GPS monitoring and a work farm. Judge-Executive Carpenter explained the GPS monitoring program provides safety for the citizens, is cost effective, and provides for due process for participants. Fees are based on the ability to pay and the program is available in both Greenup and Lewis Counties. The participation of 32 people in the GPS program saved the county 788 jail days. Twenty-two offenders are assigned to the five acre county work farm which produces vegetables, including 6,000 pounds of potatoes. Both programs preserve the offender's ability to pay and the GPS and alcohol bracelet programs are provided under contract with Premier out of Colorado.


The next speakers were Terry Carl, Kenton County Jailer, Laurel County Jailer Jamie Mosley, and Anderson County Jailer Joanie Clark. Mr. Carl indicated there are 37 counties without jails and four counties with "life safety" jails which provide minimal short term incarceration while all other jails are full service jails. Ms. Clark indicated Anderson County does not have a jail and she must transport prisoners to the Shelby County jail. She said judges in Anderson County use a private for-profit monitoring program operated by Kentucky Alternative Programs. She said the program charges offenders a $100 hook up fee plus requires two separate monitors, one of which is a GPS and the other an alcohol sensor at a cost of $15 per day per unit at a cost of $30 per day plus twice weekly drug tests at $25 each. Ms. Clark said many prisoners cannot pay the fees and remain in jail at a cost of $30 per person per day to the county.


Laurel County Jailer Jamie Mosley described his county's home incarceration program as providing outside monitoring at reduced cost because the county does not bear the costs of incarceration or medical care, which permits the county to offer its jail space to state Class D felons and federal prisoners which represent a profit for the county.


Discussion of Survey Results

Senator Jensen asked the members to review the Task Force Survey Results which were contained in the meeting folders.


The meeting adjourned at 3:10 p.m.