August 2009 Update
Hope all of you are doing great. I have heard from most of you that you want to remain on the Advisory Board and I am very pleased about that, I love working with you. I want to thank all of you for the very encouraging words of support and encouragement to keep on keeping on. The newsletter is coming along and will be sent out soon, we’ll see how that goes. A lot of you have sent in some great stuff and I’m looking forward to hearing back from all of you. Don’t let the address change confuse you. I moved our main office to the house to save money and be here for the girls. We still have two offices at the old address, but they rented our main office and I didn’t want our mail to get mixed up. So far it has worked out okay, so you can use the street address or the Box number, whichever works for you.
I have been waiting for the Corrections Council to release their recommendations to the Governor, but so far they are not responding to my emails. I decided to send that to you whenever I get it and for now I am sending the Law and Justice Interim Committee notes from their August 3rd meeting. Let me know if you think we should have input into their meetings as well as the Governors Correctional Council meetings. Also, I need you to pass this sheet around to all of the guys that have been granted a parole but are still sitting in there because of no address. I have been talking to a lot of people out here that are tired of hearing the board say how many they have paroled. The number they parole and the number that actually leaves the prison is quite different. People want to know how many are there, is it 10 guys or 100 guys? You can help me prove this by having people in this situation sign the sheet. Thank all of you so very much for your dedication and willingness to help create “Positive Change.”
Many Blessings to you,
Law and Justice Interim Committee Notes
At its organizational meeting on Aug. 3, the LJIC made the following decisions:
- elected Rep. Shannon Augare (D-Browning) as Presiding Officer;
- elected Rep. Ron Stoker (R-Darby) as Vice-Presiding Officer;
- set the SJR 39 Study of DUI laws as its top priority;
- decided that the SJR 39 study of biological evidence for DNA analysis in felony cases should be focused on retention and storage and not on broader issues involving collection and access, so reduced the proposed staff and committee time for that study accordingly;
- identified that the public defender system and the implementation of the LJIC’s mental health diversion bills (HB 130, HB 131, and HB 132), which passed with amendments during the 2009 Regular Session, should be the primary concern with respect to the committee’s statutory oversight duties, but also requested ongoing written updates from the Department of Justice on the backlog related to implementation of the MERLIN system;
- decided to examine as an emerging issue placement in prerelease centers and community corrections programs of sex offenders upon their release from prison (a study requested by the Corrections Advisory Council);
- decided to examine as an emerging issue the problem of pet hoarding and appropriate penalties, mental health considerations, and public funding challenges for the care of pets in county custody;
- decided not to conduct any meetings outside of Helena where the Capitol’s hearing rooms have live audio and video capability and from which meetings are broadcast on MTTV; however, members may still make individual site visits and take tours of correctional facilities, programs such as WatCH, the state crime lab, and local evidence rooms;
decided to adopt the proposed meeting schedule, except that the LJIC’s next meeting, a two day meeting. would be on Monday and Tuesday, September 28 and 29.