Header, the Administration of the Honorable Lincoln C. Almond
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Executive Order 98-07
July 28, 1998


WHEREAS, recent studies have indicated that confidentiality statutes are poorly understood and inconsistently interpreted by some state officials and community providers; and

WHEREAS, such confusion sometimes leads to misconceptions about what information can be shared and with whom; and

WHEREAS, a failure to share legally available information can raise impediments to effective treatment in both residential and nonresidential programs. It also weakens the ability of state agencies and local law enforcement to share information about serious, chronic and violent offenders which, if strengthened, would increase public safety and the effectiveness of prevention services; and

WHEREAS, the Governor's Task Force on Juvenile Justice Reform has recommended that a Study Group be established in collaboration with the Attorney General, to review federal and state law regarding the confidentiality of juvenile records; and

WHEREAS, the purpose of this Study Group shall be to develop a plan and/or legislation to effectively address the perceived and actual barriers to the sharing of pertinent treatment and legal information between state agencies, community providers, and members of the public so as to enhance public safety and improve the manner in which juvenile records are maintained and shared among interested parties while preserving a juvenile's right to privacy.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, LINCOLN ALMOND, by virtue of the authority vested in me as Governor of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, do hereby order as follows:

1. There is hereby established a Study Group to review issues relation to the confidentiality laws affecting the prosecution and treatment of juveniles.

2. The Study Group shall consist of, at minimum: one (1) member of the general public, to be appointed by the Governor; one (1) member of the Children's Cabinet, to be appointed by the Governor; one (1) member of the Public Defender's Office, to be appointed by the Public Defender; the Chief Judge of the Family Court and the Director of the Department of Children, Youth and Families who shall serve as co-chairs; the Child Advocate, or designee; a member of the Department of Corrections, to be appointed by the Director.

3. The co-chairs shall respectfully request the participation of the Attorney General or designee, the Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union, or designee; a member of the Police Chiefs' Association, to be appointed by its President; the Executive Director of the Rhode Island Council of Community Mental Health Centers or designee; a representative of the Rhode Island Council of Residential Programs for Children and Youth; a representative of the Center for Hispanic Policy and Advocacy; members of the House and Senate majority and minority parties; and the Executive Director of the Urban League of Rhode Island or designee.

4. All State departments and agencies shall cooperate to the fullest with the Study Group.

5. The Study Group shall report its findings and recommendations to the Governor on or before December 1, 1998.

Lincoln Almond