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H_JUD_2017A 12/19/2017 10:05:51 AM Committee Summary




Date: 12/19/2017
Time: 10:05 AM to 05:11 PM
Place: RM 271
This Meeting was called to order by
Senator Gardner
This Report was prepared by
Bo Pogue
X = Present, E = Excused, A = Absent, * = Present after roll call, R = Remote Participation
Bills Addressed: Action Taken:
Office of State Auditor Presentation

Office of Alternate Defense Counsel Presentation

Office of the Child's Representative Presentation

Department of Corrections Presentation

Department of Law Presentation
Witness Testimony and/or Committee Discussion Only

Witness Testimony and/or Committee Discussion Only

Witness Testimony and/or Committee Discussion Only

Witness Testimony and/or Committee Discussion Only

Witness Testimony and/or Committee Discussion Only

10:07 AM -- Office of State Auditor Presentation

The committee was called to order. A quorum was present.

Ms. Kerri Hunter, Deputy State Auditor, Ms. Jenny Page, Legislative Audit Manager, and Ms. Monica Power, Legislative Audit Manager, Office of the State Auditor (OSA), presented the FY 2017 Annual Audit Report and the status of outstanding audit recommendation. Ms. Hunter provided background on the mission of OSA. Committee members received copies of the following documents:

Ms. Page briefed the committee on these documents, focusing on departments for which the committee has oversight. Ms. Hunter explained the difference between a financial audit and performance audit. Ms. Page proceeded with the presentation and addressed outstanding audit recommendations. Questions were raised about two outstanding audit recommendations for the Judicial Department.

10:21 AM

Ms. Power next provided an overview of outstanding recommendations for the Department of Public Safety. Discussion ensued regarding the department's adherence to accepted accounting practices and potential systemic financial reporting issues.

10:28 AM -- Office of Alternate Defense Counsel Presentation

Ms. Lindy Frolich, Director, Mr. Darren Cantor, Deputy Director, and Mr. Daniel Nunez, Controller/Budget Manager, Office of the Alternate Defense Counsel (ADC), appeared before the committee in accordance with the SMART Act and Joint Rule 25. Committee members received the annual report presentation packet (Attachment C) and a copy of the Powerpoint slide presentation (Attachment D). Ms. Frolich provided an overview of the mission and duties of ADC, and explained how a case involving an indigent defendant might require the services of the office, referencing the Powerpoint presentation.

17JointJud1219AttachC.pdf17JointJud1219AttachC.pdf 17JointJud1219AttachD.pdf17JointJud1219AttachD.pdf

10:38 AM

Ms. Frolich continued to walk the committee through the Powerpoint presentation. She discussed the ADC budget and reported on the office's activities in accordance with the SMART Act. Ms. Frolich responded to questions regarding the rate at which juveniles represented by ADC have been put into detention, and potential conflicts of interest in representing the indigent. Ms. Frolich addressed questions regarding possible age discrimination within the ADC.

10:49 AM

Ms. Frolich returned to her presentation and discussed efficiencies to be gained through technology for training and assisting attorneys. Committee members raised questions about the increase in federal filings and causes for this increase. Discussion turned to the rate at which ADC has represented the indigent in Colorado on a per capita basis in recent years in light of the state's population increase.

11:05 AM

Ms. Frolich responded to questions regarding ways to interest attorneys to contract with the ADC in rural areas.

11:13 AM -- Office of the Child's Representative Presentation

Ms. Linda Weinerman, Executive Director, and Ms. Ashley Chase, Legislative Liaison, Office of the Child's Representative (OCR), appeared before the committee pursuant to the SMART Government Act and Joint Rule 25. Committee members received a flow chart about OCR and associated offices (Attachment E). The committee also received a packet of slides (Attachment F) that corresponded to Ms. Chase's presentation. Ms. Frolich responded to questions regarding cost recovery from parents in certain cases. Ms. Chase returned to her presentation, with Ms. Weinerman also providing input. Ms. Weinerman responded to questions regarding the potential for replicating the successes of the El Paso County guardian ad litem office.

17JointJud1219AttachE.pdf17JointJud1219AttachE.pdf 17JointJud1219AttachF.pdf17JointJud1219AttachF.pdf

11:24 AM

Discussion continued regarding cases relying on the services of guardians ad litem and the OCR and the associated costs. Ms. Weinerman returned to the presentation, explaining the duties of the OCR and providing an overview of the office's budget. Ms. Chase responded to questions regarding the use of expert witnesses in cases litigated by the OCR.

11:35 AM

Ms. Weinerman discussed attorney use of time and various data compiled by the OCR. She also responded to questions regarding how the office conducts stakeholder surveys and discussion followed regarding the types of family dynamics encountered by OCR. The committee and the OCR representatives brainstormed about how to attract attorneys in rural areas.

11:50 AM

The committee recessed for lunch.

01:34 PM -- Department of Corrections Presentation

The committee returned to order. Mr. Rick Raemisch, Executive Director, Ms. Kellie Wasko, Deputy Executive Director, Ms. Christina Rosendahl, Legislative Liaison, Ms. Melissa Roberts, Director of Adult Parole, Mr. Rick Thompkins, Director of Human Resources, Ms. Jennifer Bennett, Director of Finance and Administration, and Ms. Deb Goheen, Budget Director, all representing the Department of Corrections (DOC), appeared before the committee pursuant to the SMART Government Act and Joint Rule 25. Committee members received copies of DOC's regulatory agenda (Attachment G), performance plan (Attachment H), a newspaper article about solitary confinement (Attachment I), and a packet of Powerpoint slides (Attachment J).

17JointJud1219AttachG.pdf17JointJud1219AttachG.pdf 17JointJud1219AttachH.pdf17JointJud1219AttachH.pdf

17JointJud1219AttachI.pdf17JointJud1219AttachI.pdf 17JointJud1219AttachJ.pdf17JointJud1219AttachJ.pdf

Mr. Raemisch began the Powerpoint presentation and provided an overview of DOC activities and pertinent issues. He responded to questions regarding an international academy conducted by DOC. The committee and DOC representatives discussed racial disparity in the prison system. Mr. Raemisch explained that the DOC has made strides in hiring a more diverse staff. He also explained that he co-chairs a racial disparity committee on the national level, and this committee is working on developing a standard to address racial disparity in correctional systems. Further discussion ensued about racial disparity, including on the national level and in private prisons.

Mr. Raemisch continued with his presentation and highlighted the prevalence of co-occuring disorders in the inmate population. He also discussed commitments, releases, and the increase in criminal court filings. Committee members asked questions about increased criminal court filings and the impact on county jails. Senator Coram noted that he chaired an interim committee that addressed DOC inmates in county jails and related legislation will be introduced this upcoming session. Mr. Raemisch confirmed that is has been a priority of DOC to move state offenders who are awaiting transfer to state prison out of county jails. He answered questions about the average number of DOC inmates in county jails and the fluctuations in this population. It was reported that only in two counties, Denver and Jefferson, are DOC inmates transferred within 72 hours. Mr. Raemisch continued with his presentation and answered questions about prison population predictions and mandatory and discretionary parole.

02:08 PM

The committee asked further questions about parole and concerns were raised about the standards and calculations used for determining parole. A Colorado Supreme Court case regarding overdue parole hearings was also discussed.

02:21 PM

Discussion continued regarding parole eligibility, and the sharing of data between DOC and the State Board of Parole. Ms. Wasko provided input regarding the latter issue. Mr. Raemisch and Ms. Wasko responded to questions regarding the number of inmates subject to a parole hearing under a recent Colorado Supreme Court finding.

02:35 PM

Ms. Wasko responded to questions regarding a backlog of sex offenders who cannot access the treatment programs required to become parole eligible. Discussion ensued regarding the use of polygraph in connection with sex offender treatment.

02:46 PM

Mr. Raemisch returned to the presentation, discussing factors leading to increased rates of incarceration, the number of DOC beds available, and potential ways to relieve capacity problems. Mr. Raemisch responded to questions regarding the DOC budget for state prisons in the coming fiscal year.

02:56 PM

Mr. Raemisch discussed population projections and explained that the prison population will continue to increase unless there is sentencing reform. He next discussed interstate corrections compacts, which allow DOC to house inmates from other states and vice versa. The most common reason for moving inmates to another state penitentiary is for safety, and it is also used as a tool for behavioral issues, particularly related to gangs. Mr. Raemisch responded to questions regarding private prisons, the interstate corrections compact, and notification procedures to victims' families when an inmate is moved out-of-state.

03:07 PM

Mr. Raemisch returned to briefing and answered questions about reentry programs and the difficulties many offenders encounter with obtaining a valid ID.

03:17 PM

The committee and DOC representatives discussed family reunification efforts, and services for the hearing impaired. Mr. Raemisch next addressed efforts to reduce recidivism and technical parole revocations. Mr. Raemisch discussed the department's FY 2018-19 budget request. The committee asked questions and raised concerns about offender medical treatment and recidivism.

03:28 PM

The committee discussion revisited technical parole revocations.

The following persons provided public testimony regarding the DOC:

03:32 PM -- Mr. Jerry Frey, representing Advocates for Change, explained why the DOC is not abiding by the Americans with Disabilities Act and used his son, who is currently incarcerated, as an example. Mr. Frey responded to questions regarding discussions with DOC staff to accommodate his son's disabilities.

03:35 PM -- Ms. Susan Walker, representing the Coalition for Sexual Offense Restoration, discussed the relationship between the Colorado State Board of Parole and the DOC. She discussed impediments that offenders encounter in gaining release and trying to reintegrate into society.

03:40 PM --
Mr. Tim Lopez, representing the Denver Democratic Public Policy Committee, expressed certain concerns with the DOC, including limits on data access and bed capacity. Mr. Lopez responded to questions regarding the type of data that is not being released to the public.

03:45 PM -- Department of Law Presentation

Ms. Cynthia Coffman, Attorney General, representing the Department of Law (DOL), appeared before the committee pursuant to the SMART Government Act and Joint Rule 25. Committee members received a presentation document, which included a strategic plan, FY 2018-19 budget request briefing, and regulatory agenda, prepared by the department (Attachment K). Attorney General Coffman explained the purpose of the department and provided some highlights of the department's activities in the past year. The committee also received a DOL organizational chart (Attachment L), which Attorney General Coffman referenced in introducing certain members of the DOL staff. Attorney General Coffman discussed the department's efforts in the area of human trafficking and opioid abuse.

17JointJud1219AttachK.pdf17JointJud1219AttachK.pdf Attachment L can be viewed at Legislative Council.

04:01 PM

The committee and Attorney General Coffman continued to discuss the DOL's efforts to curb opioid abuse. Attorney General Coffman then discussed Medicaid fraud, consumer protection, revenge porn, substance abuse, and the Safe2Tell program. Mr. Jose Esquibel, Office of Community Engagement, provided additional input on the Safe2Tell program. The topic of net neutrality was also discussed.

04:30 PM

Attorney General Coffman responded to questions regarding the status of regulating the marijuana industry. Discussion returned to youth suicide, particularly in Mesa County.

04:41 PM

The committee continued to discuss and ask questions about marijuana, particularly its use by youth. Mr. Esquibel responded to questions regarding the Sources of Strength program, which is a suicide prevention program. Mr. Scott Turner, Deputy Attorney General, responded to questions regarding prosecution and filing of environmental crimes, and Ms. Laura Chartrand, Deputy Attorney General for Natural Resources and Environment, provided input on this issue as well.

04:59 PM

The committee asked questions about the DOL's litigation of a particular environmental law case. The discussion then turned to DOL's brief in a recent U.S. Supreme Court case regarding the Lakewood baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.

05:11 PM

The committee adjourned.

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