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Legislation as Filed

Please note: Below you will find the legislation as filed by Governor Patrick. After being filed, bills are sent to the Massachusetts legislature where they may be amended or altered.

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Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

SECTION 1. Chapter 12 of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding the following section:

Section 33. (a) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the district attorney in each district may establish, subject to appropriation, a community-based juvenile/youthful justice program for the purposes of ensuring the safety and security of the public and private schools of that district; addressing the problems of juvenile and youthful violence; improving the services available to school-age youth; ensuring the effective use of resources by state and local law enforcement and social service agencies; and promoting collaboration among schools, local and state law enforcement agencies, municipalities, the probation department, and the departments of social services, youth services, mental health and public health. The program shall assist in the development of school and community-based programs that are designed to prevent violence and delinquency, develop techniques for the early identification of at-risk youth, divert non-violent youthful offenders from the juvenile or criminal justice system, and ensure the availability of and access to community-based rehabilitative services including, but not limited to, substance abuse services for youthful offenders when appropriate.

(b) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, for the purpose of establishing, implementing, or carrying out the program, employees and representatives of the following agencies and departments may, to the extent not prohibited by federal law, discuss and exchange information concerning court records, investigations, court proceedings, and care, custody, educational records and treatment plans of juveniles and school-age persons under the age of 22 who attend public and private elementary, junior high, or high schools in the commonwealth: designated school officials, including but not limited to registered nurses employed by the schools, the probation department, the office of the district attorney, state and local police departments, the office of the sheriff, the department of youth services, the department of social services, the department of mental health, the department of public health, and other social service providers. In no instance shall any aspect of an individual's confidential communications with a sexual assault counselor, as defined in section 20J of chapter 233, be shared among the aforementioned parties. Employees and representatives of the department of social services, the department of mental health, and the department of public health shall share privileged information only when authorized by order of the juvenile court for requests involving a child under the age of 17 and of the district court for requests concerning adults, but these employees and representatives may share information regarding the existence of services, treatment plans, and the identity of providers without a court order. Any privileged communication made to a psychotherapist, as defined in section 20B of chapter 233, or the results of a court-ordered psychiatric examination shall be shared only when authorized by order of the juvenile court for requests involving a child under the age of 17 and of the district court for requests concerning adults. The appropriate court shall notify the parent or guardian of a person whose privileged information is requested of his right to appear at the hearing regarding the request for access to the privileged information.

(c) Any agency or employee or representative of an agency who, without authority, discloses or disseminates this information or uses this information for purposes not described in this section shall be punished by a fine of not more than $5,000. The district attorneys shall submit an annual report on the activities, procedures, performance, operation, implementation and cost of each community-based juvenile/youthful justice program established under this section to the house and senate committees on ways and means and the joint committee on the judiciary on or before February 1 of each year. The district attorneys, in preparing the reports, shall consult with the office of the chief justice of the juvenile court, the office of the commissioner of probation and the department of social services.