Alaska PACE was recently highlighted by Chief Justice Walter Carpeneti in his annual State of the Judiciary address to the Alaska Legislature. To watch, or listen to, the address, please click HERE. The full text of the address can be found HERE.
Because the data from the Anchorage pilot project tracked the Project HOPE data so closely,and because expansion appeared feasible from the standpoint of each agency’s workload, the PACE team agreed to add more participants in the next three months, with a goal of seventy participants. As of November 8, Probation had identified 37 more people, which includes a participant group of fifteen, a control group of fifteen, and seven additional probationers who could fill in if one or more of the participants becomes ineligible before the scheduled warning hearings. The team set warning hearings in November for November 1 (four probationers), November 9 (seven probationers), and November 16 (four probationers). No new probationers will be added in December because of reduced staff in all agencies during that month.
Judges and other criminal justice agency staff people throughout the state have expressed strong interest in the pilot program. At its November 3, 2010 meeting, members of the Criminal Justice Working Group (CJWG) emphasized the pilot nature of Anchorage PACE, and were encouraged by the interest in the program. Members agreed to the following time table, which allows time for a preliminary evaluation of the program before its expansion to other communities.
TIME LINE FOR PACE:
November 2010: PACE will add 15 new probationers randomly selected from a group of 37 identified by Probation. The remaining probationers will comprise a control group.
December 2010: No new probationers added to PACE
January 2011: 15 more probationers added, again randomly selected from a group of at least 30 identified by probation.
February 2011: Ten to 15 probationers added.
March to May 2011: Data collected on all probationers in the program followed by a preliminary evaluation of PACE.
June 2011: Court at CJWG stakeholders may consider expanding PACE to other communities.
PACE data after three months:
The Anchorage program held its first set of warning hearings for twenty-nine probationers starting in mid-July. Three months have elapsed, allowing time for a preliminary report to see how closely the pattern of Anchorage matches that found in Project HOPE. The data here are those reported in mid-October at the PACE team meeting.
- Thirteen of the 29 probationers originally assigned have gone for two months with no violations, and have had the frequency of their random testing reduced.
- One probationer was at large with an outstanding warrant for arrests (as of November 9).
- Of the probationers rearrested and sanctioned, most have only been rearrested once. Two probationers are being held on new charges, and Probation is working to get at least one other (who has failed several tests) into residential treatment. Thus, the data available from our first group track Hawaii’s data very closely.
PACE process and resources after three months
At the October 19, 2010 meeting, the PACE team members discussed their ability to handlethe present PACE participants and considered adding more.
- Court staff reported that processing PACE cases requires some additional work on the part of clerks, but they are able to accommodate it. The need to schedule sanction hearings with relatively short notice requires some attention, as does scheduling the warning hearings, but they have managed these issues satisfactorily.
- Probation staff reported that they are able to handle the PACE caseload. If more than 70 probationers enter the program, additional resources will be needed for drug testing. Acouple of probationers have challenged their positive drug tests; no information wasavailable on the outcomes of the retesting.
- Law enforcement reported that they have had no problem serving the warrants, and did not anticipate any problem with handling more PACE participants.
- Mr. Campion (DA’s office) and Mr. Cashion (PD’s office) said that they appreciated the program, and that they could handle more participants.
- Judge Morse said that his schedule was flexible enough to allow time for more PACE hearings.
- The Judicial Council provided funding to ISER for interns to enter the data for the first 29probationers, including their history of probation revocations in the past year. The interns will enter data about new participants, and about a randomly selected control group. The Council will fund ISER’s analysis of data about all of the participants, with a report scheduled for May.
A new round of PACE hearings has been set for November in Anchorage. The schedule is as follows: November 9th, 1:45 pm, courtroom 601; November 16th, 1:45 pm (7 offenders), courtroom 601 (6 0ffenders); November 30th, 1:45 pm, courtroom 601 (1 offender).
From August 2010 issue of The Champion magazine.
“The United States needs to fix its broken probation and parole systems and by doing so, help to reduce its prison population. The reduced victimization will be a win for society, and the reduced prison time will be a win for the offenders and their families. Avoiding expensive incarceration costs will be a win for taxpayers. By trying something new, we can reduce recidivism (revocations of probation and arrests for new crimes) by more than 50 percent across the country. Is there any good reason not to try?
Commissioner Joe Schmidt addressed a session of the 2010 National Association of Sentencing Commissions conference Aug. 8-10 at Point Clear, Alabama. The commissioner reported on the department’s work at implementing PACE. “I followed Judge Alm and Dr. Hawken. I presented the mission statement and offered some details about what has been done to institute the PACE program in Alaska,” the commissioner said. The commissioner represents Alaska on NASC.
Alaska PACE is modeled after Hawaii’s Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (HOPE) program. Following the model developed by Judge Steven Alm, PACE aims to reduce crime and drug use among criminal offenders. PACE identifies probationers who are likely to violate their conditions of probation; notifies them that violations will have consequences; requires frequent randomized drug and/or alcohol tests; and responds to violations with swift, certain and short terms of incarceration.
PACE is a program made possible through the joint cooperation of the Alaska Court System, the Anchorage Police Department, the Department of Law, the State Public Defender’s Office, the Office of Public Advocacy, the Department of Corrections and the Department of Public Safety.
The program began as a pilot project in Anchorage Superior Court on July 12, 2010 with 29 probationers. The number of probationers placed in PACE will increase as the parties work out the glitches that come with the implementation of any new pilot project.