Thursday, May 28, 2015

Alaska Statistical Analysis Center Fact Sheets noted in national SAC Publication Digest

Three Alaska Justice Statistical Analysis Center (AJSAC) Fact Sheet articles by Khristy Parker, AJSAC Research Professional, have been included in the recent online SAC Publication Digest covering July - December 2014.

The SAC Publication Digest contains abstracts of reports produced by state Statistical Analysis Centers (SACs), with links to the full reports. These reports cover a wide array of topics and analysis approaches for criminal justice data at the state level.  The Justice Research and Statistics Association (JRSA) is the online publisher.

Crime Statistics/Crime Studies
"Arrests for Drug Offenses in Alaska: 2000-2011"
 September 2014

"Burglary in Alaska: 1985-2011"
July 2014

Law Enforcement
"State and Local Law Enforcement Personnel in Alaska: 1982 – 2012"
August 2014

JRSA is a national nonprofit group of state Statistical Analysis Center (SAC) directors, and also includes other researchers and practitioners in government, academia, and criminal justice organizations. The Alaska Justice Statistical Analysis Center (AJSAC) is housed within the UAA Justice Center.  Dr. Brad Myrstol is the Director of the AJSAC.

Pre-Law Society members meet with 3rd Judicial District Presiding Judge Morse and tour Alaska State Court Law Library

In Presiding Judge Morse's chambers - front row l to r: student Shelley Miller, Presiding Judge Morse, and students
Selahndra Mathew and Meagan MacDonald.
Back row l to r: students Camilla Hussein-Scott, Weili Wang, Nathel Sims and Chase McCavit.

The Pre-Law Society met with Third Judicial District Presiding Judge William Morse recently to discuss his experience with the Anchorage Wellness Court, one of the therapeutic courts administered by the Alaska Court System.

Following their meeting with Presiding Judge Morse, students visited the Anchorage branch of the Alaska State Court Law Library housed in the Boney Courthouse.  Buck Sterling, Public Services Librarian, conducted a tour of the facility and discussed the legal resources available.

Prof. Ryan Fortson, J.D., and Prof. Jason Brandeis, J.D., are the faculty advisors for the Pre-Law Society.

In the Law Library, l to r: students Meagan MacDonald, Selahndra Mathew, Chase McCavit, and
Law Librarian Buck Sterling.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Dr. Blumenstein awarded College of Health Women's Issues Mini-grant to study students' understanding of sexual misconduct

Dr. Lindsey Blumenstein, Justice faculty, was recently awarded a 2015 UAA College of Health Women's Issues Mini-grant. 

The title of her research project is "Sexual Victimization of Women on College Campuses: How Do UAA Students Define and Identify Sexual Misconduct?"

The main goal of this project is to empirically evaluate which types of sexual violence students at UAA define and do not define as sexual victimization. Using focus group discussions with students across the UAA campus, this project will examine how students’ definitions of victimization affect their decisions to identify and report sexual misconduct. Male and female students will be invited to participate in separate focus group discussions.

To start a dialog on how and why students define sexual misconduct, scenarios will be presented during the focus groups. Collectively, these focus group discussions will provide a comprehensive understanding of how sexual misconduct is understood by students across our campus.

Dr. Blumenstein's research areas include intimate partner violence, campus sexual assault, substance abuse, and criminological theory. 

Prof. Fortson addresses new Alaska Bar admittees at swearing-in ceremony

Prof. Ryan Fortson, J.D., Legal Studies faculty in the Justice Center, spoke on behalf of the Anchorage Bar Association at the May 21 swearing-in ceremony for new Alaska Bar Association lawyers.  Alaska Supreme Court Justice Joel Bolger presided over the event.

Prof. Fortson is the president of the Anchorage Bar Association. He addressed the new admittees on behalf of the association and welcomed them to the practice of law in Alaska.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Report by Dr. Chamard to Muni Public Transit Advisory Board quoted in Alaska Dispatch News article about downtown transit center

A report by Dr. Sharon Chamard, Justice faculty, was quoted in an Alaska Dispatch News article about Anchorage's downtown transit center.  Dr. Chamard wrote the report for the Muncipality's Public Transit Advisory Board following a tour of the downtown transit center in the spring.

Among the issues she noted were the number of people coming to the transit center and remaining for long periods of time, the public ownership of the facility which presents challenges to security staff seeking to ask people to leave, poor maintenance of the space, and the concentration of criminal justice and social services tenants.

Read the full article:
"Broad effort seeks to change character of Anchorage's downtown transit center" by Devin Kelly. 25 May 2015. Alaska Dispatch News

Prof. Knudsen on Books of the Year panel -- Selections announced for 2015-2017

"Negotiating Identity" is the 2015-2017 theme for the UAA/APU Books of the Year and the works selected are:

  • The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother by James McBride- a son recounts his Polish mother's struggles and determination, and his own experiences as he explored being an American in Harlem.
  • Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford - an historical novel about the Japanese interment during WWII and set in the Pacific Northwest.

Both these books embody how "[e]veryone must 'negotiate' and shape their identity as they grow up, age and adapt to fate and circumstance. Together, these books offer timeless and relevant themes of individual and collective identity in America, themes that continue to be important to our communities, state and nation."

Reader’s guides, supplemental materials and faculty resources will be posted to the Books of the Year website beginning in August 2015.  Have a good read over the summer and join the conversation in the fall!

Prof. Kristin Knudsen, Legal Studies faculty in the Justice Center, is a member of UAA/APU Books of the Year Faculty Steering Committee.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

UAA collaborative research team presents behavioral health needs data to Anchorage community

Karen Heath (standing) presents data to attendees at the May 11 community forum.

At a community forum on May 11, the UAA collaborative research team presented the results of the examination of secondary data on behavioral health needs of youth and young adults in Anchorage . The UAA Center for Human Development heads the research team which includes the Justice Center, Behavioral Health Research Services, and the Department of Health Sciences.

Karen Heath, Director of Research & Evaluation, UAA Center for Human Development, made the presentation which was based on the research and data from the team. Participants from agencies, nonprofits, and other service providers met to discuss the data, identify data gaps, and prioritize issues. Dr. Marny Rivera, Justice faculty, is a member of the research team.

The next phase of the project will involve collection of primary data that fills identified data gaps. The UAA research team will analyze data from the assessment to help determine behavioral health priorities concerning mental health, substance use, and suicide for youth and young adults in Anchorage.

The project is funded by the State of Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Behavioral Health through the Anchorage Collaborative Coalitions (ACC) which contracted with the UAA research team.

Prof. Fortson's students present mock oral arguments before District Court Judge Jennifer Stuart Henderson

Judge Henderson (center standing) speaks to students before their arguments as Prof. Fortson (standing right) listens.
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 project of the 2015 spring semester.  Students participated in a  moot court  - a mock appellate court proceeding which involves the presentation of oral argument before a judge or a panel of judges.

Students prepared arguments for two hypothetical cases.  Their arguments were presented before  
Anchorage District Court Judge Jennifer Stuart Henderson who rendered a decision after each case was presented.

Prior to the oral arguments, students prepared briefs on their cases and submitted them to their opposing counsel team and to Prof. Fortson. Earlier in the semester, the students also participated in a simulated trial, conducting opening statements, direct and cross examinations, and closing arguments.

L to r front row: Students Emily Beaudoin, Casey Gilmore, Judge Henderson, Prof. Fortson,
students Jessica Pahkala, and Brianna Elias. Back row: student Chase McCavit

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Adjunct Professor Jim Wolfe, forensic scientist, departs UAA Justice Center faculty

Prof. Wolfe (l) accepts best wishes and thanks from Dr. André Rosay (r),
Justice Center Director, at the farewell lunch.
Adjunct Professor Jim Wolfe taught his last Criminal Investigation class for the Justice Center on Friday, April 24.  The Justice Center gave a farewell lunch for Prof. Wolfe and presented him with a Seawolf sweatshirt.

After retiring from the State Crime Lab in 2004, Prof. Wolfe began teaching Introduction to Forensic Science, as well as Criminal Investigation, at the Justice Center.

Prof. Wolfe is also a certified police instructor for physical evidence collection and preservation, and he regularly taught at the Alaska Public Safety Academy while at UAA.  He plans to continue his recent teaching at the UAF-CTC Law Enforcement Academy in Fairbanks. Prof. Wolfe's specialty is photographing and casting impressions - tire, footprint, etc. He is a frequent presenter at national and international conferences on techniques for capturing impressions in snow.

His valuable contribution to Justice students and the Justice Center will be remembered - and we are sure trace evidence will linger for a long time. 

Jim Wolfe appeared on a 2002 segment of "Forensic Files"
during his time at the State Crime Lab.

Prof. Wolfe tests a fast setting plaster in Fairbanks.

Prof. Wolfe photographing snow impressions.

Prof. Wolfe presents at the 2014 International
Association of Identification.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Congrats from the Justice Center to our Spring 2015 Justice and Legal Studies grads - best wishes for the future!

Justice and Legal Studies faculty at the Spring 2015 Graduation

  Congratulations to our Spring 2015 Justice and Legal Studies graduates!

Thirty-nine Justice Center students celebrated their graduation on May 3, 2015.  The Justice Center faculty and staff congratulate all of our graduates and wish them every success going forward!