Arizona rejects Narconon


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From: (Chris Owen)
Subject: Arizona rejects Narconon
Date: 24 Aug 2001 13:52:37 -0700

I dug up this interesting passage from the website of the Arizona State Legislature at concerning the "Second Chance" programme, a rehashed version of Narconon which has already been used in Mexico and was pitching for $1.5m of state money to operate in Arizona prisons. Although some legislators were supportive of the proposal, it was not approved, not least because of the concerns of the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) and the Governor's office. The matter was discussed by the State Senate Committee on Judiciary on March 27, 2001, with evidence given for and against Second Chance. Terry Stewart, the Director of the ADC, was the main speaker against. Here's what was said:


H.B. 2563 – community transition program – DISCUSSION/HELD

Ms. Rabin [the committee research analyst] explained H.B. 2563 creates two programs. The first program is a prerelease program for adult offenders who will be released within 12 months from a facility under the Department of Corrections (ADC) jurisdiction. The stated purpose of the program is to provide detoxification and literacy services.

The second program is the community transition program for adults or juvenile offenders who will be released within 12 months from a facility under ADC jurisdiction.

The bill also appropriates $1.5 million in each program in each of fiscal years 2002 and 2003, for a total appropriation of $6 million. Funding is appropriated from three existing funds, the alcohol abuse treatment fund, the drug treatment and education fund and the special services fund.

Ms. Rabin explained the Richardson amendment (Attachment F) allows the prerelease program to provide detoxification services may use natural vitamin supplements to reduce physical dependence on substances including alcohol and drugs. The services may also include the use of calcium and mineral supplements, exercise and procedures and facilities to implement sweat treatments.

Representative Anderson, bill sponsor, testified in support of the bill and explained that this bill addresses a real need in the criminal justice system. He distributed handouts entitled "Ex-Convicts Seen Straining U.S. Labor Force" (Attachment G) and "Executive Summary, The Second Chance Program, Inc." (Attachment H). His testimony was based on the handouts.

Senator Smith asked if this similar to the Second Chance program. Representative Anderson stated that the bill without the amendment leaves open any company that could compete for the inside prison drug treatment and literacy program. He stated that the amendment is targeted for the Second Chance Program.

In response to Senator Smith, Representative Anderson remarked that Director Stewart from ADC has been in on the discussions of this from the beginning.

In response to Senator Burns, Representative Anderson commented that if the bill passes without the amendment, ADC is intended to use contracted services. The amendment is open with the use of "may."

George Weisz, Executive Assistant to Governor Hull, testified that the amendment is designed to target the Second Chance Program, even though the State has an open bid process. He stated that he met with the Director of the program and reviewed a study that demonstrated impressive statistics of low recidivism. He stated that he was concerned with the evaluation processes on which these results were based. The inmates that attended the program did not re-enter the prison in Ensenda, but they were not tracked after leaving the program. Consequently, the low recidivism rate could be a false reading on how effective the program is.

In response to Senator Burns, Mr. Weisz commented that the Governor's office has concerns with where the funds would be coming from for this type of program.

Terry Stewart, Director, ADC, testified in opposition to the bill and remarked that the Department is in support of transition services. He stated that previous administration cuts targeted two transition facilities that were funded through the State. Since the cuts, ADC has not had any transition services. He noted that he has had many conversations with faith-based organizations to encourage them to undertake transition services. There is a pilot project with a faith-based organization called "Along Ministries" which is a mentoring program that goes into the prison and shows great promise. He opined that transition services are needed and would be supported by the ADC. He commented that inmates are dropped off at homeless shelters to try to help the inmates receive as much assistance as possible.

Director Stewart stated when the transition concept changed, Second Chance became the program model and when the funding was withdrawn from the ADC, he immediately went to Representative Anderson and told him of his concerns.

Director Stewart stated that outcome standards are indicative of program success. He commented that based on the studies that have been provided by Second Chance, it would be unwise to spend $1.5 million a year on this program. He stated that there is not one nationally recognized United States drug treatment organization that has evaluated the program or the methodologies used in their studies to indicate that it is efficacious to use that treatment modality.

Director Stewart remarked the philosophy of the modality of the Second Chance program is based on the secular philosophy of L. Ron Hubbard, the father of scientology. The program is based on narconon and criminon, both based in scientology. This program will be challenged because people will claim the State is confusing church and state, because of L. Ron Hubbard's religious association with scientology.

Director Stewart remarked that the method of treatment in Second Chance involves the ingestion of vitamin liquids, which ADC would not be able to enforce, and can cause liver damage. He stated that this would open the door for law suits by prisoners. Additionally, massage therapy is used, which would necessitate having the inmates effectively "treating" by each other, which is not acceptable, or hiring a masseuse. The sauna treatment is another issue of concern for Mr. Stewart. These treatment modalities would necessitate considerable medical follow up and Mr. Stewart noted that would be cost prohibitive.

On that subject, Mr. Stewart commented that according to Second Chance, the $1.5 million would treat 100 inmates for one year. That equals $15,000 per inmate on top of the $20,000 per year for incarceration costs. The second year of treatment would cost $250,000.

Director Stewart commented that this may be a good program, but urged the Committee to take more time in evaluating the situation before making a decision.

In response to Senator Richardson, Director Stewart stated that ADC does not have a surplus of funds.

Rick Pendery, Second Chance Program, testified in support of the bill and the amendment and commented that there have been two University and Justice studies done on this program. The university studies were done in conjunction with the Mexican Criminology Society and the National Penitentiary Association. The results of those studies are outlined in the Executive Summary (Attachment H). He commented that the recidivism reported in the handout was based on recidivism from the entire state.

Mr. Pendery stated that the tracking of released individuals has not been done, but remarked that it could be done. He stated that modality of the drug treatment offered in Second Chance is three-pronged; drug treatment, literacy and self respect module. The remainder of his testimony was from Attachment H.

Senator Richardson announced the bill would be held.

Senator Richardson announced the following people were present in support of the bill: Tara Plese, Arizona Catholic Conference; Karen Novachek, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in Arizona; Jeff Taylor, The Grace Place; Les Koel, representing himself; Suzy Stephens, representing herself; Virginia Leason, parent; and Theresa Bernard, representing herself,


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