Location: SCR 352
Overview of Advisory Task Force Recent Activities
COMMITTEE ON TREATMENT OF PERSONS WITH MENTAL HEALTH DISORDERS IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
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10:09 AM -- Advisory Task Force Vacancies and General Overview of Advisory Task Force Recent Activities
Bill Martinez, Advisory Task Force Member, stated that there is one vacancy on the advisory task force for a representative who is a practicing mental health professional. He stated that a candidate has been identified to fill the vacancy and the candidate's information was forwarded to Camille Harding, Advisory Task Force Chair.
Mr. Martinez discussed the task force's recent activity. He stated that there are representatives from the four advisory task force subcommittees who will be providing reports later in the meeting. Mr. Martinez said that additionally the advisory task force has been working with members of the Sex Offender Management Board (SOMB) to identify potential issues concerning juveniles who have committed a sexual offense. He stated that a subcommittee of the SOMB had done research and presented a white paper on the research, implications, and recommendations regarding registration and notification of juveniles who have committed sexual offenses (Attachment D) to the advisory task force. Mr. Martinez said that the white paper contains eight legislative recommendations, but the consensus of the advisory task force is not to address all of them at once, but to focus on a few of the recommendations contained in the white paper for the upcoming legislative session. He stated the recommendations that the advisory task force would like to focus on in the immediate future are:
- making the juvenile registry a law enforcement tool only and not making available for public disclosure, and establishing parameters for how schools obtain and share registration information;
- identifying those juveniles who are eligible for a hearing for discontinuation from the registry and having those hearings set at the time of successful completion from supervision;
- changing the threshold for release from registration; and
- changing statutory language in Section 16-22-103, C.R.S., concerning the first petition.
Mr. Martinez discussed the work of the advisory task force's subcommittees. He stated that the Restoration and Competency Work Group has been reviewing definitions related to juvenile competency. He discussed the various stakeholders who have been involved in the discussion on the topic. Mr. Martinez said there are three working drafts that exist, but they are not that different from one another. He said that the Restoration and Competency Work Group usually meets on the third Friday of every month at noon, and that they are open meetings.
Mr. Martinez said that the Housing Work Group is working on legislative proposals, primarily dealing with housing applications and some of the barriers to obtaining housing that people with mental health disorders encounter. He said that Gina Shimeall, Advisory Task Force Member, will be providing a full updated from the Housing Work Group. He said that Peggy Heil, Advisory Task Force Member, will be providing an update from the Data Subcommittee concerning efforts to address data collection. Mr. Martinez referenced a white paper that was prepared last year that the Restoration and Competency Work Group has been using to inform its discussions.
Representative Singer discussed the possible intersection between the Sentencing in the Criminal Justice System Interim Study Committee and the recommendations from the SOMB.
Mr. Martinez discussed the status of the white paper from the SOMB. Senator Martinez Humenik stated that bill requests need to be made during the meeting to meet the interim committee deadlines. The committee further discussed the interim committee bill deadline process.
In response to a question, Mr. Martinez discussed efforts throughout the state to address the workforce shortage of the mental health providers in rural areas, but stated that the workforce shortage has not been a focus of the advisory task force. The committee discussed recent legislative efforts to expand mental health services in rural areas of the state.
Mr. Martinez stated that the advisory task force would support legislation to incorporate the previously identified SOMB recommendations into state law. He said that the advisory task force would support legislation to change definitions related to juvenile competency, and said that specific language could be provided by the end of the week. Mr. Martinez said that the advisory task force would support legislation to address issues identified by the Housing Work Group, including "Ban the Box" legislation and efforts to create a universal criminal record background check for use on housing applications. Representative Singer asked that the subcommittees be offered the opportunity to present the bill ideas they are proposing to the committee.
Senator Martinez Humenik reiterated that bill information needs to be provided to the Office of Legislative Legal Services by October 21 for any bill concepts approved by the committee at the meeting. She mentioned the juvenile recidivism rate in the state.
Laurie Rose Kepros, Colorado State Public Defender's Office, and Arnold Hanuman, Colorado District Attorneys' Council (CDAC), came to the table to discuss the Millard et al., v. Rankin case concerning Colorado's Sex Offender Registry. Mr. Hanuman said that from his perspective, the legislative recommendations from the SOMB could still be brought forth and would not be impacted by the findings in the case. Ms. Kepros discussed the findings in the Millard case. She discussed other states that have had cases concerning their sex offender registries. Mr. Hanuman said he had concerns about whether language concerning the proposed changes to the statutes concerning the sex offender register could be fully vetted by various stakeholders prior to the September 21 deadline to provided drafting information to the Office of Legislative Legal Services. Mr. Hanuman answered questions from the committee about the Colorado District Attorneys' Council's position on the recommendations contained in the SOMB white paper. Ms. Kepros and Mr. Hanuman answered questions about the SOMB recommendations, the Millard case, and how the ability to access information contained in the registry may change in the future. Ms. Kepros said that the white paper was approved by the SOMB, but not the recommendations.