Friday, June 16, 2017

Myrstol and Valle present Results First data to Alaska Criminal Justice Commission

L-R: Emlyn Struthers, Pew-MacArthur Results First,
Dr. Brad Myrstol, and Dr. Araceli Valle.
Dr. Brad Myrstol, Justice Center faculty and director of the Alaska Justice Information Center (AJiC) and the  Alaska Justice Statistical Analysis Center (AJSAC),  and Dr. Araceli Valle, AJiC research professional, presented Results First benefit to cost model estimates on Alaska adult criminal justice programs to the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission and Alaska Criminal Justice Working Group this week. The commission is charged by the Legislature with evaluating and making recommendations to improve criminal laws and practices, with the goal of enhancing public safety, offender rehabilitation, victim restitution, and reducing costs.

UAA College of Health Dean and Vice Provost for
Health Programs Jeff Jessee at Criminal Justice Commission.
Alaska is one of more than 30 jurisdictions throughout the country partnering with the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative to use innovative research tools to analyze the benefit to cost ratio of evidence-based programs to reduce recidivism.  Representatives from Pew-MacArthur Results First were in Anchorage this week for the presentations. They discussed the importance of this work with the Commission and Working Group.

Alaska Results First — Benefit-Cost Findings: Adult Criminal Justice ProgramsThe Results First analysis of evidence-based programs provides policymakers with a tool to better understand the relationship between the state’s monetary investment in programs and the return on that investment in terms of the benefits of reduced recidivism.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day: 1 in 9 Alaska women 60+ experienced psychological or physical abuse in past year

Dr. André Rosay, Justice Center director, presents findings from the Alaska Victimization Survey, funded by the Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (CDVSA), with L. Diane Casto, CDVSA executive director. Results show that 11.5% or 1 in 9 Alaskan women aged 60 and older experienced psychological or physical abuse in the past year.

The Alaska rate for psychological or physical abuse is 1.7 times as high as the national rate. The Alaska rate for physical abuse is 2.4 times the national rate and the Alaska rate for psychological abuse is 1.6 times the national rate. Overall, more than 7,000 women in Alaska aged 60 or older experienced psychological or physical abuse in the past year.

Casto calls the number of women experiencing abuse unacceptable. The CDVSA will use data from Justice Center research to inform future work on elder abuse. Women who are experiencing abuse are urged to contact CDVSA, (907) 465-4356, for resources and information.

A detailed article on Dr. Rosay’s findings will be in the summer 2017 edition of the Alaska Justice Forum.

Watch the video:

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Justice Center research provides opportunity to move CDVSA forward

UAA Justice Center's Ongoing DVSA Research
Dr. André Rosay, Justice Center director, Dr. Brad Myrstol, director of the Alaska Justice Information Center and the Alaska Justice Statistical Analysis Center, and Dr. Lindsey Blumenstein, Justice faculty, met with Alaska's Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (CDVSA) yesterday to provide updates on ongoing DVSA research.

"Having a group like the Justice Center provides a huge opportunity to move us forward," said CDVSA Executive Director L. Diane Casto in response to Justice Center faculty reports on research.

Justice faculty provided a Powerpoint with status updates that included:

Survey on Alaskans’ Knowledge, Attitudes and Beliefs (KAB) regarding Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault
Results First Initiative cost-benefit analysis of batterer intervention programs which will be formally presented to the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission on June 15
Update on psychological and physical abuse against women 60 and older from the Alaska Victimization Survey (2010-2015) (AVS) and comparison to national data from the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (2010).
Update on the AVS and release of additional results in the coming months including in the Alaska Justice Forum in July.

Casto and the Council will be recommending additional areas for Justice Center study to help focus future CDVSA efforts.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Dr. Andre Rosay and L. Diane Casto discuss domestic violence and sexual assault on radio show

L. Diane Casto, Executive
Director, Council on Domestic
Violence and Sexual Assault
Dr. André Rosay, Justice Center director, and L. Diane Casto, executive director of the Alaska Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (CDVSA), discussed domestic violence and sexual assault in Alaska on Line One: Your Health Connection on Alaska Public Media on Monday, June 5. Using information from the 2015 Alaska Victimization Survey, Dr. Rosay reported that half of all women in Alaska have experienced intimate partner violence and/or sexual violence. He pointed out that the prevalence of intimate partner violence and sexual violence decreased by more than 30% since 2010. Unfortunately, the numbers remain unacceptably high.  In addition, they are high everywhere in Alaska.  But as Diane Casto said, women in rural Alaska face the additional challenge of having few services available for support.
 As the new CDVSA executive director, Casto plans to continue to work with UAA's Justice Center to develop data-informed interventions. It is important to determine which interventions are working, Casto said. She added that programs aimed at prevention are extremely important.  In the long run, it costs much less to prevent abuse than to intervene once it is occurring, she added.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Justice Center provides students skills leading to work with APD

Victoria Goss is doing crime analysis
for APD
Victoria Goss, a 2017 Justice graduate, is doing crime analysis work with the Anchorage Police Department (APD). Sevy Sheppard, a Justice and Sociology double major, is working with APD as part of the Mayor's Americorps Program (MAP).  Both are leveraging skills they learned in Justice Prof. Troy Payne's Crime Analysis and Mapping course, JUST A432.

Goss attributes her contract-hire in APD's crime analysis unit to both Dr. Payne's course and an internship he organized for her in crime analysis last summer. Through his contacts at APD she was able to get the experience  that led to her being hired after graduation. Police sergeants, community council members and homeowners are among those who contact Goss with requests for crime data analysis.

Sevy Sheppard is working with APD as part of the Mayor's
Americorp Program
Sheppard snagged one of two positions created by the new Mayor's Americorps Program at APD. She beat out 20 other applicants and is now working with fellow UAA student Demry Mebane on a research project going door-to-door surveying residents of Fairview, Mountain View and Spenard on neighborhood safety and perceptions toward APD. Sheppard and Mebane worked together to create the 25-question survey to get a better idea of the safety needs of the neighborhoods and individual residents.

 "We hope to provide the Anchorage Police Department with the data they need to bridge the gap between police officers and these specific communities," Sheppard wrote in an email. "We only have until mid-August, so we are working hard to provide beneficial results!" she added.

The work Victoria and Sevy are doing will have tangible community impacts, according to Dr. Payne. "They're making the world better because the Justice Center provided the skills and connections, and the students provided smarts and drive."

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Cravez speaks at Alaska Bar Convention and Genealogy Society about territorial lawyers

The Biggest Damned Hat: Tales from Alaska's Territorial Lawyers and JudgesPamela Cravez, Justice research associate and editor of the Alaska Justice Forum, gave a lunch-time talk at the 2017 Alaska Bar Association Annual Convention in Juneau, May 11, on her recently published book, The Biggest Damned Hat, Tales from Alaska's Territorial Lawyers and Judges. Lawyers and judges at the convention knew many of the territorial lawyers interviewed for the book. Cravez also spoke at the May meeting of the Anchorage Genealogy Society.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Rosay and TePas talk about importance of researcher-practitioner partnership

L-R: Dr. Judith Owens-Manley, director of the Center for
Community Engagement & Learning with Katie TePas
 and Dr. Andre Rosay at Faculty Intensive.
Dr. Andre Rosay, Justice Center director, and Katie TePas, appointed by Governor Sean Parnell as Alaska's first domestic violence and sexual assault response coordinator, spoke about their long-term researcher-practitioner partnership addressing violence against women. TePas was a partner on Dr. Rosay's work with the Alaska State Troopers, then with the Governor's Office on the Choose Respect campaign. They discussed the researcher-practitioner partnership as part of a Faculty Intensive and "Community-Campus Network for Civic Action Symposium" last week.

Dr. Fortson comments on two bills introduced in the Alaska House of Representatives

Alaska State Legislature
An Alaska House bill to criminalize abortion would be unconstitutional under both the Alaska and U.S. constitutions, Dr. Ryan Forston told the Alaska Dispatch News recently. House Bill 250 , introduced by Rep. David Eastman (R-Wasilla), would revoke the right of women to obtain abortions under Alaska's constitutional right to privacy. "The intent of the bill seems to be to legislatively outlaw abortion," Dr. Fortson said. "And that is not only a violation of the Alaska Constitution — it would also be against the U.S. Constitution, at least as it's currently interpreted.... The courts won't allow the Legislature to define how a constitutional provision is being interpreted — that's the job of the courts."

House Bill 251, also introduced by Rep. Eastman, would authorize the Alaska Legislature to impeach judges for "exercising legislative power" without judicial review. The Legislature has the power under the Alaska Constitution to impeach judges, according to Dr. Fortson, but "where the limits of that power are is unclear," he said. "If this were passed and the Legislature were to try to exercise it, it's hard to say exactly how it would play out."

According to the article, neither measure is likely to pass.

Read the story:

Thursday, May 18, 2017

New Society of Law and Justice provides students more opportunities

The Justice Club won a Club Council  award for campus involvement and cooperation among clubs this year. To provide students even greater opportunities in coming years, the Justice Club merged with the Pre-Law Society to form the new Society of Law and Justice.

Students in Justice and Legal Studies often look at law enforcement or law school opportunities, but Justice is much more broad, said Alex Cole, President of the new club.

Alex Cole, President of new Society of Law and Justice, and
Joseph Mizl, Vice President of Legal Studies. Not pictured,
Sevy Sheppard, Vice President of Justice.
Joseph Mizl is the new club's Vice President of Legal Studies and Sevy Sheppard is Vice President of Justice, two positions established by the Society of Law and Justice's constitution.

This summer there will be a few business meetings to talk about campus kick-off and to establish a web presence.

Check out Facebook over the summer for more info.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Academic journal accepts "innovative legal scholarship" from Justice faculty

Dr.Ryan Fortson and Dr. Troy Payne's article, "Lawyering Up: The Effects of Legal Counsel on Outcomes of Custody Determinations," has been accepted for publication in the Fall Issue of the UC Davis Journal of Juvenile Law & Policy (JJLP). The article looks at the impact of legal representation on the type of custody awarded in a two-year sample of cases from the Palmer Superior Court. Referring to the Justice faculty authors' work as "innovative legal scholarship," JJLP editors added that they were equally impressed with the authors' experience and credentials. The JJLP is a nationally recognized journal that regularly consults with and publishes the work of excellent scholars, community advocates and practitioners.