Friday, January 20, 2017

Alumni Update: Casey Gilmore, BA Legal Studies '16 and Dominic Eubank, BA Justice '16

Casey Gilmore
Casey Gilmore
Casey Gilmore, BA Legal Studies '16 and Pro Bono Service Honors, was accepted to Willamette University School of Law, and began classes in the fall 2016. She is a member of the Women's Law Caucus at Willamette University and is a volunteer work for the ACLU. Casey hopes to return to Alaska to practice after completing law school. 

Officer Dominic Eubank
Officer Dominic Eubank
Dominic Eubank, BA Justice '16, is a recent graduate of the Anchorage Police Department (APD) Academy. The academy graduation program noted that Officer Eubank chose to join APD because of all of the opportunities within the department. His favorite course in the academy was firearms training, and he enjoyed becoming a more proficient shooter and firearms handler.




Thursday, January 19, 2017

Governor cites Justice Center research in State of the State address

Gov. Bill Walker
Gov. Bill Walker
Photo by James Brook (Used by license)
Wednesday, January 18, 2017 — In his State of the State Address before a joint session of the 30th Alaska State Legislature, Governor Bill Walker highlighted violence in our communities and in our homes as a significant challenge to tackle.  Citing statistics from the Alaska Victimization Survey that show that half of Alaska’s women experience sexualviolence, intimate partner violence, or both in their lifetimes, Governor Walker renewed his commitment to reducing violence in our communities and in our homes.  “While the rate is down from 59 percent in 2010,” Governor Walker said, “it is still deplorable.”  The Governor recognized the many individuals and groups that are working on prevention. He also discussed the need to improve responses to sex crimes.  “Justice delayed is justice denied,” he explained, and “victims deserve justice.”

The Alaska Victimization Survey is conducted by the Justice Center for the Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (CDVSA).  It provides comprehensive statewide and regional data to guide planning and policy development and to evaluate the impact of prevention and intervention services.  New stalking estimates were released on January 17, 2017, showing that 1 in 3 women in Alaska have experienced stalking in their lifetime.

Alaska Victimization Survey

Dr. Rivera presents emerging public health issues among Anchorage youth at 34th Annual Alaska Health Summit

Wednesday, January 18, 2017 — Dr. Marny Rivera, a faculty member of the UAA Justice Center, presented emerging public health issues among Anchorage youth at the 34th Annual Alaska Health Summit.  Her co-presenters were Curtis Smith (UAA Center for Human Development) and Drs. Gabriel Garcia and Travis Hedwig (UAA Department of Health Sciences).  Together, they presented an assessment of current behavioral health concerns among Anchorage youth through the analysis of primary and secondary data sources.

They presented three major findings.  First, while substance use is trending downward across nearly all substances and age groups, there are still racial/ethnic disparities in substance use and differences in the types of substance used.  Second, poor mental health conditions affect a sizeable proportion of youth.  However, some groups are more likely to be affected by these conditions, including racial/ethnic minorities, high school freshmen, and females.  Third, a significant proportion of youth experience bullying in school or electronically.  Those who report being bullied are also likely to report alcohol use and binge drinking, feeling alone and sad or hopeless, missing school, and having suicidal thoughts.  Dr. Rivera and her co-presenters discussed the importance of enhancing and increasing internal and external youth assets to address these problems.

For more information on their 2015 behavioral health and wellness assessment:
Presenting at the 34th Annual Alaska Health Summit (left to right): Dr. Travis Hedwig, UAA Department of Health Sciences; Dr. Gabriel Garcia, UAA Department of Health Sciences; Curtis Smith, UAA Center for Human Development; Dr. Marny Rivera, UAA Justice Center

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Alaska Victimization Survey results show that 1 in 3 women in Alaska have experienced stalking

Alaska Victimization Survey: Research on Violence Against Women
New results from the 2015 Alaska Victimization Survey for Alaska statewide were released on January 17, 2017. The 2015 survey was conducted by the University of Alaska Anchorage for the Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (CDVSA). These new results describe the number of women in Alaska that have experienced stalking in their lifetimes and in the past year.

In defining stalking, the Alaska Victimization Survey includes eight of the common forms of nonconsensual contacts (being watched or followed; being approached at home, work, or school; finding strange or threatening items; having your home or car intruded; receiving unwanted voice or text messages; receiving unwanted phone calls; receiving unwanted emails or messages; receiving unwanted cards, flowers, or gifts). Respondents were instructed not to include bill collectors, telephone solicitors, or other sales people. Respondents experienced stalking if they experienced these nonconsensual contacts multiple times and expressed fear.

Results

The 2015 Alaska Victimization Survey for Alaska statewide was conducted from May to August 2015. Findings include:
  • 1 in 3 women in Alaska have experienced stalking in their lifetime.
  • 1 in 17 have experienced stalking in the past year.
  • More than 80,800 women in Alaska have experienced stalking in their lifetime.
  • More than 15,300 have experienced stalking in the past year.
The 2015 survey also showed that stalking was particularly common among women who experienced intimate partner violence or sexual violence.
  • Among women who experienced intimate partner violence or sexual violence in their lifetime, 50% (more than 66,800) were also stalked in their lifetime.
  • Among women who experienced intimate partner violence or sexual violence in the past year, 27% (more than 5,800) were also stalked in the past year.
Details of the 2015 Alaska Victimization Survey are available at the Alaska Victimization Survey website:

More Information

For more background on this project, visit http://www.uaa.alaska.edu/justice/avs/
For more information about CDVSA, visit http://www.dps.state.ak.us/CDVSA/

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Dr. Payne interviewed by Alaska Public Media about homicides in Anchorage

Alaska Public MediaDecember 29, 2016 — A Fact Sheet published by the Alaska Justice Statistical Analysis Center in November 2016 showed a steady decline in Anchorage’s homicide rate from 1986 to 2015.  During this period, Anchorage had an average of 17 homicides per year.  In 2016, the number of homicides in Anchorage increased to 34.  Throughout 2016, as noted by Zachariah Hughes with Alaska Public Media, “news reports from Anchorage have been particularly morbid, with frequent stories about shootings and homicides.” 

While the increase in the number of homicides is striking, Dr. Troy Payne, a faculty member of the UAA Justice Center, explained how this could just be a random fluctuation from year to year.  At this point, it is difficult to know if there is a systemic repeatable problem that we can apply solutions to.  As Dr. Payne explained, additional information will be needed to determine if this is an emerging trend and to understand the causes of these homicides.

Links:

Friday, January 6, 2017

Summer/Fall 2016 issue of the Alaska Justice Forum

Alaska Justice Forum 33(2–3), Summer/Fall 2016
The Summer/Fall 2016 issue of the Alaska Justice Forum presents articles on the Recover Alaska initiative to address Alaska's alcohol-related problems; therapeutic courts in Alaska; findings of the Alaska Judicial Council's analysis of felony sentencing patterns in Alaska in 2012–2013; outcomes of the Teens Acting Against Violence (TAAV) program in Bethel seen through the lens of Search Institute's 40 Developmental Assets; and a farewell from Barbara Armstrong, whose eight-year tenure as editor of the Alaska Justice Forum is ending with this issue.

The 12-page issue includes the following articles:

"Recover Alaska: Healing Alaska's Alcohol Problems" by Marny Rivera and Tiffany Hall

This article provides an overview of the strategies being implemented by the Recover Alaska initiative in its mission to reduce excessive alcohol use and related harm in Alaska by influencing social norms and perceptions about alcohol use and abuse. Includes a list of online resources.

"Editor's Goodbye" by Barbara Armstrong

Barbara Armstrong, editor of the Alaska Justice Forum since 2008, is leaving the Justice Center at the end of December 2016.

"Therapeutic Courts in the Alaska Court System" by Barbara Armstrong

Therapeutic courts — often called “problem-solving courts” or “wellness courts” — have been a growing component of the U.S. court system since the 1990s. This article provides an overview of the development of Alaska Court System therapeutic courts, and describes the 12 therapeutic courts currently operating in Alaska as well as proposed pilot project courts. Includes a bibliography.

"Alaska Felony Sentencing Patterns: Selected Findings" by Teresa White Carns

This article describes selected findings from the Alaska Judicial Council's recently released report Alaska Felony Sentencing Patterns: 2012–2013. The report examines factors associated with felony sentences under new presumptive ranges set by the Alaska Legislature in 2005 and 2006. The study has been used by the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission (ACJC), established by the legislature in 2014 to make recommendations about criminal justice reform and sentencing.

"Teens Acting against Violence (TAAV) and the 40 Developmental Assets" by Khristy Parker

Teens Acting Against Violence (TAAV) is a student-led anti-violence education group formed in 1996 by Tundra Women’s Coalition (TWC) in Bethel, Alaska. This article looks at the program in light of the 40 developmental assets defined by the Search Institute, a nonprofit research program whose framework of strengths and supports for youth development has become an international benchmark. While the developmental assets were not intentionally incorporated in the design of the TAAV program, they are reflected in the program's outcomes.

"New Staff"

Jo Walker has joined the staff of the Justice Center as Academic Program Specialist, and Tristian Monterastelli, has joined the Alaska Justice Information Center (AJiC) staff as a Research Professional.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Summer/Fall 2016 issue of the Alaska Justice Forum released

The Summer/Fall 2016 issue of the Alaska Justice Forum has been released and contains the articles noted below.

Click here to read the PDF of this issue.

Articles:
"Recover Alaska: Healing Alaska's Alcohol Problems" by Marny Rivera and Tiffany Hall
"Therapeutic Courts in the Alaska Court System" by Barbara Armstrong
"Alaska Felony Sentencing Patterns: Selected Findings" by Teresa White Carns
"Teens Acting Against Violence and the 40 Developmental Assets" by Khristy Parker

UAA students in foster youth program will get a special visit from holiday elves

L to r: Amanda Metivier and Kelsie Sullivan
in front of the CWA Giving Tree.
Holiday elves will be paying a special visit to over 30 UAA students who are in the foster youth program or just transitioning out of the state foster program.  Under the auspices of the statewide UA Education and Training Voucher (ETV) Program for Foster Youth, holiday gifts have been collected and wrapped for distribution to the students.

The holiday gifts for foster youth project was started by Kelsie Sullivan in the UAA Office of Grants and Contracts.  Kelsie collaborated with Amanda Metivier, Youth Education Coordinator for the Child Welfare Academy (CWA), the office which facilitates the UA foster youth program. The holiday gifts project came to be called the CWA Giving Tree. If you would like to participate next year, contact Kelsie at 786-6460.

Each year there area about 50 foster youth statewide in the UA system, and about half are on the UAA campus.  State funds are directed through Amanda's office to the UA students to help pay for housing, books, food, transportation, and other necessities. Click here to learn more about the UA foster youth program. Or contact Amanda at almetivier@alaska.edu.

The Justice Center applauds the CWA Giving Tree holiday project and the work of the  Education and Training  Voucher Program for Foster Youth. Thanks for making the holiday season a little brighter for our students!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Criminal Justice Reform: Senate Bill 91 - Dec 8 program video and materials now online

Panelists (l to r): Dr. Troy Payne, Justice Center; Jeff Jessee and Lt. Kris Sell, ACJC Commission members;
Barbara Dunham, ACJC staff attorney; Geri Fox, AK Pretrial Services Division; and Dr. Araceli Valle, AJiC.

About 150 UAA students and members of the public attended the December 8 program, "Criminal Justice Reform: A discussion of Senate Bill 91 - Reducing the prison population while enhancing public safety," co-sponsored by the Justice Center and the UAA Justice Club.
  
Click here to view the video and materials.

The approximately 2-hour video of the program is now available on the Justice Center website and on our YouTube channel. The program PowerPoint and other publication resources are also available on the website.

Panelists were Jeff Jessee, Alaska Criminal Justice Commission (ACJC) member, Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority - Moderator; Lt. Kris Sell, Alaska Criminal Justice Commission (ACJC) member; Barbara Dunham, Alaska Criminal Justice Commission (ACJC); Geri Fox, Alaska Division of Pretrial Services; Dr. Araceli Valle, Alaska Justice Information Center (AJiC); and Dr. Troy Payne, Justice Center faculty.

Panelists and Justice Club officers pose for a photo following the event.
L to r: Justice Club officers Jonathan Gonzalez and Alex Cole; Barbara Dunham, ACJC staff attorney; Geri Fox, AK Pretrial Services Division; Dr. Troy Payne, Justice Center; Dr. Araceli Valle, AJiC; ACJC members Lt .Kris Sell and Jeff Jessee;
and Justice Club officers Austin Rogers, Bradley Foster, and Austin Otos.




Prof. Fortson's LEGL 487 students present mock oral arguments to U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Kevin McCoy

Prior to oral argument (l to r): students Sondra Smith and Taylor Lane;
Prof. Fortson; Magistrate Judge McCoy; students  Jennifer Ham, Juita Johnson,
and Madeline Rafferty. Not pictured: student Josephine Davis
Prof. Ryan Fortson, J.D., Ph.D., Justice Center Legal Studies faculty, held mock oral arguments in his Legal 487 - Trial and Advanced Litigation Processes course as the final exam of the 2016 fall semester.


Students prepared written briefs and oral arguments for three hypothetical cases for simulated trial court motion practice. Their arguments were presented before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Kevin McCoy who rendered a decision after each case was presented.

L to r: Juita Johnson and Sondra Smith present their arguments to
Magistrate Judge McCoy while Prof. Fortson observes.