Monday, July 24, 2017

Alumni Spotlight: Kelsey Waldorf, B.A. Justice 2013, J.D. 2017

Kelsey Waldorf, B.A. Justice 2013, graduated from University of Colorado Law School in May 2017. Tomorrow she takes the Colorado bar exam and then she'll do some traveling before beginning a fellowship in September.
Wolf Law Building, University of Colorado Law School,
(By Bildungsroman - Own work,  CC BY-SA 3.0,
https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10787028)

Kelsey entered law school well-prepared by her education at UAA. While working toward her B.A. in Justice, she was in the University Honors College, a Forty-Ninth State Fellow, and traveled the world as a competitive debater in the Seawolf Debate program. In addition to Justice coursework, she worked as a student researcher on a project with the Alaska State Troopers and Anchorage Police Department. In 2013, Kelsey delivered the student speech at commencement.

This September, Kelsey will begin a year-long fellowship as a deputy district attorney in a rural town in southern Colorado. The purpose of the fellowship is to encourage recent graduates to work in rural areas which have trouble drawing legal professionals because of low pay and under staffing. During her fellowship she will most likely specialize in sexual assault cases, she wrote in an email.

After her fellowship, Kelsey plans to return to the metro area in Colorado and work as a deputy district attorney for a year or two before applying to become an FBI agent - a goal she's long held.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Prof. Ryan Fortson presents at AYC summer leadership program

Prof. Ryan Fortson
Prof. Ryan Fortson, Justice faculty, discussed Alaska Native Rights and Tribal Courts with students participating in the Anchorage Youth Court's Summer Law & Leadership Program this week.

The program, which runs from July 10 to August 4, provides youths entering 9th grade with daily sessions on freedom of speech, criminal justice rights, alternative dispute resolution, mock trials, and field trips to courts, Anchorage Police Department and the Alaska State Crime Lab.

The goal of the program is to provide students with skills that will help them better advocate for themselves and others and be a force for the change they want to see in the world.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Abuse of older women, lack of psychiatric beds, among articles in summer 2017 Alaska Justice Forum

Newly redesigned Alaska Justice Forum print and expanded web 2017 summer editions are now available. Articles include:
Print and web editions of Alaska Justice Forum

The Alaska Justice Forum is returning to quarterly publication. To make this possible, the Forum is limiting mailed delivery of the print edition and enhancing its web presence with expanded and updated print edition stories as well as articles and content exclusive to the web. Sign up to get delivery of the Alaska Justice Forum.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Rosay appointed associate dean in College of Health, Myrstol interim Justice Center director

Dr. Andre Rosay, newly
appointed associate dean
for academic and student affairs
in the College of Health
Dr. Brad Myrstol appointed
interim Justice Center director
Dr. André Rosay, Justice Center director since 2007, has been appointed associate dean for academic and student affairs in the College of Health. Dr. Rosay bids farewell to the Justice Center here.

Dr. Brad Myrstol, director of the Alaska Justice Statistical Analysis Center and the Alaska Justice Information Center, has been appointed interim director of the Justice Center.

Dr. Myrstol received his Ph.D in Criminal Justice from Indiana University in 2006. He has served as the principal or co-principal investigator on a variety of Alaska justice topics including the offending trajectories of juveniles, the criminal case processing of domestic violence, sexual assault and sexual abuse of a minor cases, the role and impact of Alaska’s Village Public Safety Officer (VPSO) program on the state’s response to domestic violence and sexual assault, sex offender recidivism trajectories, sexual violence victimization among university students, the structure and organization of policing in Alaska, as well as factors impacting charging, time-to-disposition, and sentencing outcomes in felony cases.

While at UAA, Dr. Myrstol has received over $1 million in research funding from sources including the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice, as well as Alaska state and local agencies.

Dr. Myrstol is currently the principal investigator on Alaska's Results First Initiative, a partnership with the Pew-MacArthur Trust that provides analysis of evidence-based programs giving policymakers  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.

A nationwide search for a new director will be launched in the future.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Alaska Justice Forum new design and web edition

Click through to sign up for resdesigned Alaska Justice Forum online.

The Alaska Justice Forum, a publication of the Justice Center at UAA, has a new look and new web presence. We are phasing out hard copies and moving toward online delivery with more articles and updated stories. The Summer 2017 edition is coming soon. Sign up here.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Cravez elected secretary of NAMI Anchorage board

Pamela Cravez, Alaska Justice Forum editor and Justice Center research associate, was elected secretary of the NAMI (National Allliance on Mental Illness) Anchorage board at the annual membership meeting in May. Cravez has served on the NAMI Anchorage board since 2016. NAMI Anchorage, one of four NAMI Alaska affiliates, provides education and support for families and individuals experiencing mental illness. Juneau, Fairbanks, and Barrow also have NAMI Alaska affiliates.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Senior Voice highlights Rosay research on abuse of older Alaskan women

Senior Voice
The July issue of Senior Voice features  research conducted by Dr. Andre Rosay, Justice Center director, on the prevalence of psychological and physical abuse among Alaskan women aged 60 and older.  According to Dr. Rosay's research, one in nine Alaska women aged 60 and older experienced psychological or physical abuse in the past year.  Results are based upon the Alaska Victimization Survey (AVS), an annual survey conducted from 2010 through 2015 by the Justice Center and funded by the Alaska Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. Dr. Rosay is the principal investigator for the survey.

Dr. Rosay used data from both a state survey (AVS) and national survey (National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey), and found Alaska rates for psychological and physical abuse higher than the national rates.

A more comprehensive article on Dr. Rosay's research appears in the Summer edition of the Alaska Justice Forum, published later this month. Sign up to receive the summer edition of the Forum at http://bit.ly/alaskajusticeforum.

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.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

U.S. District Judge Sharon Gleason provides feedback to students

Prof. Ryan Fortson and U.S. District Judge Sharon Gleason
(Photo by Prof. Kirstin Knudsen)
U.S. District Judge Sharon Gleason, the first female federal judge for the District of Alaska, listened to oral arguments by students in Prof. Ryan Fortson's Trial and Advanced Litigation Processes (LEGL A487) final exam on Friday, May 5. The students had drafted a legal memorandum of law and proposed order - similar to a pleading which would be filed in court – on a hypothetical motion before the court and defended their briefing to Judge Gleason, who provided feedback.

Dr. Rosay appears on Frontiers episode highlighting Choose Respect Campaign

Dr. Andre Rosay, Justice Center director, appeared on a recent episode of "Frontiers" on KTVA CBS 11 with Rhonda McBride to talk about results from the 2015 Alaska Victimization Survey for which he is principal investigator. He talked about how rates of domestic violence and sexual assault have gone down since the 2010 Survey, but that they are still very high in Alaska. The Frontiers episode highlighted how one community - Old Harbor in Kodiak -- is addressing domestic violence and sexual assault by embracing the Choose Respect Campaign begun by Gov. Sean Parnell. Children and adults in Old Harbor are integrating Choose Respect in cultural celebrations.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Justice faculty celebrate 2017 graduates

Justice faculty L-R: Dr. Brad Myrstol, Prof. Deborah Periman, Dr. Ron Everett, Dr. Marny Rivera, Dr. Cory Lepage,
 Dr. Allan Barnes, Prof. Kristin Knudsen, Dr. Andre Rosay, and Dr. Sharon Chamard. Not pictured: Prof. Ryan Fortson,
 who was performing on the French horn in the pit orchestra during UAA's Commencement. Sunday, May 7.
Congratulations 2017 graduates! Best wishes on your future success!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Congratulations to 2017 Justice and Legal Studies grads!

Join us in congratulating our 2017 UAA Justice Center graduates! This year, 31 students earned a degree in Justice, 15 with Honors having a GPA of 3.5 or above. A dozen students graduated in the Legal Studies program, three with Honors. We are very proud of our students and their accomplishments! Best wishes on their future success!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Dr. Barnes demonstrates new online crime data platform

Dr. Tom Elton, acting Russian Jack
Rotary President, and Dr. Allan Barnes at Russian Jack Rotary.
Dr. Allan Barnes, Justice faculty, demonstrated how to use the Anchorage Police Department's new online crime data platform at Russian Jack Rotary's weekly meeting.  He also discussed the recent apparent rise in violent crime in Anchorage and distributed the Alaska Justice Statistical Analysis Center's (AJSAC) Fact Sheets on violent and property crime in Alaska.  He concluded his presentation with an online demonstration of how Rotarians could establish a Neighborhood Crime Watch.  UAA Chancellor Tom Case was among Rotarians present for Dr. Barnes' presentation.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Need to break the silence continues beyond April

Justice Club wraps up "Breaking the Silence" event during April, Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Every Tuesday and Thursday in April, club members  provided an opportunity for people to share their words or story to raise awareness and break the silence about sexual assault.

Media coverage:

 "UAA Breaking the Silence" (video) by Joshua Maxwell.  KTBY Fox 4 / YourAlaskaLink.com, 26 Apr 2017.


Justice Club member Joseph Mizel being interviewed
by KTBY Fox 4 reporter about "Breaking the Silence."

Justice Club member Joseph McMahon pins
Break the Silence button on Dr. Allan Barnes,
Justice faculty.
Justice Club members L-R Austin Rogers, Brad Foster,
Alex Cole and Joey Sweet.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Students inducted into National Criminal Justice Honor Society

Prof. Ryan Fortston (middle) with Alpha Phi Sigma inductees L-R:
 Jenna Mixon, Josephine Davis,  Shiela Morrison,
and Jared Dee at event earlier this month.
Prof. Ryan Fortson, Justice faculty presided over the induction of students into  Alpha Phi Sigma, the National Criminal Justice Honor Society. Congratulations to new members:
Josephine Davis (Justice major, Legal Studies minor)
Jared Dee (Justice major)
Hideki Kimura (Justice major)
Joseph McMahon (Justice major)
Joshua Medina (Justice major)
Jennifer Merly (Justice major)
Jenna Mixson (Justice major)
Shiela Morrison  (Legal Studies major)
Alpha Phi Sigma recognizes academic excellence of undergraduate and graduate students of criminal justice as well as juris doctorate students.
Alpha Phi Sigma is the only Criminal Justice Honor Society which is a certified member of the Association of College Honor Societies and affiliated with the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Justice faculty celebrate opening of new advocacy center

L-R: Dr. Brad Myrstol, director of the Alaska Justice Statistical Analysis Center and Alaska Justice Information Center,
 Dr. Lindsey Blumenstein, Justice faculty, UAA Chancellor Tom Case and Dr. Andre Rosay, Justice Center director, attend the opening of the Center for Advocacy, Relationships, and Sexual Violence
  
on UAA's campus, April 21. (Photo by Charlotte Titus)

Media stories:

Monday, April 24, 2017

Corrections aiming to be gold standard in treatment of mentally ill

The Department of Corrections (DOC) is the largest provider of mental health services in the state of Alaska. With 33,000 bookings a year, 65% of those booked qualify as beneficiaries of the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority, including 23% with a serious mental illness, according to Adam Rutherford, Chief Mental Health Officer for DOC.

In many areas, Alaska lags behind other states, but not in its treatment of the mentally ill in its correctional institutions, Rutherford said.“We are practicing evidenced-based interventions, we are a leader in this area,” he said, adding, “We want to be the gold standard in mental health care.”

L-R: DJJ Clinical Director Shannon Cross-Azbill, DJJ Chief Probation Officer
Heidi Redick, DOC Director of Health and Rehabilitation Services
Laura Brooks and DOC Chief Mental Health Officer Adam Rutherford.
Rutherford, along with Laura Brooks, Director of Health and Rehabilitation Services for DOC, Shannon Cross-Azbill, Clinical Director for the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) and Heidi Redick, DJJ Chief Probation Officer, spoke at UAA earlier this month in a program sponsored by the UAA Justice Club on how the mentally ill are being served in both the adult corrections and juvenile justice.

While it is often difficult to diagnose juveniles, DJJ Clinical Director Cross-Azbill said that the majority of those in DJJ have a mental health diagnosis including substance abuse, ADHD, depression and trauma-related disorders. They’ve recently been keeping track of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorders and found 47% of the juveniles may be experiencing this, she added.

The panelists attributed the high numbers of those with a mental illness in both juvenile and adult systems to be partly in response to a lack of resources outside their systems.

Laura Brooks, who oversees all of DOC’s Health and Rehabilitative Services (HARS), explained the growth in prison treatment of the mentally ill as symptomatic of a shift in the 1960s away from funding state psychiatric hospitals and moving toward community mental health centers that were inadequately funded. Eventually, many of those with mental health issues ended up in correctional institutions, she said.

Not only is DOC Alaska’s largest behavioral treatment center it is also the state’s largest health care provider.  It is also the largest medical facility, largest detox center, and substance abuse treatment center. The behavioral health staff has 21,000 contacts with offenders a year, according to Rutherford. The HARS staff of 200 sees 5,000 patients a day inpatient and 4,000 a day outpatient, according to Brooks.

DOC has followed the national movement to screen people coming into the system to assess : 1) criminogenic risk, 2) need for substance abuse treatment, and 3) need for mental health treatment.

The goal is to have people in a better position when they leave the facilities than when they entered, Rutherford said. This is important, he added, because most of those who are incarcerated return to the community.

Friday, April 21, 2017

ACLU of Alaska's Tara Rich speaks to Prof. Brandeis' Civil Liberties class

ACLU of Alaska's Legal Policy Director Tara Rich in
Prof. Jason Brandeis' Civil Liberties class
ACLU of Alaska's Legal and Policy Director Tara Rich spoke to Prof. Jason Brandeis' Civil Liberties class (JUST/LEGL A443). Rich gave a presentation on the ACLU's nationwide Campaign For Smart Justice and engaged the class in a discussion of criminal justice issues in Alaska. At the end of the class, Rich distributed pocket-sized constitutions to all of the students.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Center for Advocacy, Relationships, and Sexual Violence grand opening April 21

The 2016 University of Alaska Campus Climate Survey, conducted by Dr. Lindsey Blumenstein, Justice faculty, found that few University of Alaska students who experienced sexual violence chose to disclose their victimization to authorities or a sexual assault advocate. The results of the campus climate survey, in combination with efforts of many across UAA to provide better victim services, led to a partnership with STAR and the opening of the Center for Advocacy, Relationships, and Sexual Violence, on UAA's campus. The Justice Center encourages you to attend the ceremony marking the opening on Friday, April 21, in Rasmuson Hall 118.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Prof. Brandeis presenting information on marijuana law at continuing legal education for Alaska lawyers

Prof. Jason Brandeis, Justice faculty, is giving two presentations at a day-long continuing legal education course for members of the Alaska Bar Association focused on marijuana law in Alaska on April 20 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center.

Prof. Brandeis will present on legal developments in federal and state marijuana laws, providing an historical overview and discussion of pertinent state/federal conflicts. He will also do a presentation on ethics in marijuana law.

Prof. Brandeis teaches courses on the American legal system, constitutional law, and civil liberties, and is a frequent speaker on constitutional law and other legal topics.  Prof. Brandeis also maintains a private law practice through which he advises clients on marijuana law and policy questions.  He has also provided legal services to the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Alaska

Sen. Dan Sullivan thanks Dr. Blumenstein for highlighting "critical issue for our State"

Sen. Sullivan congratulates
Dr. Lindsey Blumenstein
on receiving the
 Rose Day Award
from the Zonta Club of
Anchorage
Dr. Lindsey Blumenstein, Justice faculty, received a congratulatory note from Sen. Dan Sullivan after Dr. Blumenstein was recognized by the Zonta Club of Anchorage for her work to improve the lives of Alaskans through research into domestic violence and sexual assault.  Sen. Sullivan thanked Dr. Blumenstein for her work to highlight this "critical issue for our State."

Friday, April 14, 2017

Want to learn more about justice in Anchorage?

"If you want to really learn about what happens behind the scenes — to a certain extent — in regards to Anchorage and what really happens to the justice side of it, the [Justice] club is in a perfect spot right now to where you can learn about that,” Brad Foster, club president and criminal justice major told the Northern Light.

Austin Rodgers, Justice Club  secretary.
   Photo credit: Young Kim
Justice Club's emphasis on service and its effort to strengthen year-to-year student involvement is driving a merger with the Pre-Law Society. "Pre-Law Society is actually going to be dissolving into the Justice Club, and the new club is going to be called the Society of Law and Justice," Foster said.

Interested in learning more: check out the end of year Mario Kart Drive for Justice bash April 21 at 6p.m. in North Hall 2nd floor lounge. Or go to a meeting. The club meets every other Friday at 5:30p.m. in room 119 of the Social Science Building. The next meeting is April 14. Questions? uaa_justiceclub@alaska.edu


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Dr. Allan Barnes talks about crime rates at Rotary

Dr. Allan Barnes talks about crime at Rotary
Dr. Allan Barnes, Justice faculty, spoke to members of Anchorage Gateway Rotary about the community's increased concern about crime.  He provided  copies of the AJSAC "Fact Sheet" on recent violent crime trends and other relevant AJSAC information.  He also demonstrated how to use the Anchorage Police Departments new Community Crime Map program and gave them information for creating a Neighborhood Crime Watch program in their home area.  A lively discussion of the causes for the perceived increase in violent crime in Anchorage ensued.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Tales from territorial lawyers featured at UAA Bookstore Thursday, April 13

Thursday, April 13 from 5:00 pm-7:00 pm at the UAA Campus Bookstore

Pamela Cravez, Alaska Justice Forum editor, presents her new book, The Biggest Dammed Hat.

The Biggest Damned Hat presents a fascinating collection of stories ranging from the gold rush to the 1950s.  Based upon legal research, oral histories, and interviews of more than 50 lawyers who came to Alaska prior to 1959, it provides new stories and perspectives on Alaska history from gold rush times to statehood.  It is published by University of Alaska Press.

There is free parking for this event in the South Lot, Sports Complex NW Lot, West Campus Central Lot, and Sports Campus West Lot

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Students take sides in wrongful death mock trial

Mark Heinrichs gives his opening statement in mock trial.
Prof. Kristin Knudsen judges mock trial in Prof. Ryan Fortson's Trial and
Advanced Litigation Processes class (LEGL487).
Students in Prof. Ryan Fortson's Trial and Advanced Litigation Processes class recently participated in a mock trial. Students performed all elements of the civil wrongful death trial, including opening and closing statements, examination of witnesses, laying the foundation for expert witnesses, and making objections. Prof. Kristin Knudsen, Legal Studies faculty who has spent more than eight years as an administrative law judge, served as judge for the trial. Judge Knudsen found mostly for the defense, although did find for the plaintiff on a couple of points.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Moving in the right direction on domestic violence but still a long way to go

Anchorage Press
More than half of  adult women in the state of Alaska have experienced intimate partner violence, sexual violence or both, Dr. André Rosay, director of the Justice Center, said in an interview with Ammon Swenson for the Anchorage Press.  The findings are from the 2015 Alaska Victimization Survey, for which Dr. Rosay is principal investigator.

Alaska Victimization SurveyResults of the  2015 survey showed consistently high rates throughout Alaska, according to Dr. Rosay. He added, that even though rates are very high, results from the 2010 Victimization Survey were even higher.

"We're moving in the right direction, but we have a very, very long way to go," Dr. Rosay said.  People recognize the problem and prevention programs are increasing, he said.  "We've turned a curve and proven we can make a difference."

Still, he's concerned that budget cuts are beginning to make the emphasis on domestic violence go away.

The Justice Center conducts the Alaska Victimization Survey for the Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (CDVSA).

Read the complete story:

Prof. Troy Payne interviewed on Mat-Su officer-involved shootings

The Alaska Dispatch News recently interviewed Professor Troy Payne,  Justice faculty, regarding  four officer-involved shootings in the last nine months in Mat-Su. Payne is author of what the Dispatch called a “pivotal 2013 report” of Anchorage police shootings over a 20-year period.

The role of K-9s in two of the four officer-involved shootings highlights the importance of studying how police and citizens interact, Payne said. Dogs can terrify a fleeing suspect, who might choose to shoot. Agencies should review each incident carefully to make sure policy and practice is meeting the agency’s goals.

Regarding the most recent incident, he added ,"Clearly you had a citizen there who was willing to shoot somebody."

Read  Prof. Payne's full report:
Officer-Involved Shootings in Anchorage 1993–2013 by Troy C. Payne. Report prepared for Anchorage Police Department. Anchorage, AK: Justice Center, University of Alaska Anchorage, 11 Dec 2013.

Non-adversarial alternative courts provide challenge and rewards

Alternative or therapeutic courts are probably one of the biggest movements in the judiciary since the Judiciary Act of 1789, Assistant Professor Cory Lepage, Justice faculty, told a nearly standing room only audience at a panel discussion on alternative courts last week in the Lew Haines Conference Room at the UAA/APU Consortium Library.

U.S. District Magistrate Judge Deborah Smith, Federal Probation Officer Chris Liedike, Assistant District Attorney Heather Nobrega, and Assistant Public Defender Ben Muse spoke of their experiences in alternative courts in an event sponsored by the UAA Justice Club as part of National Criminal Justice Month.
R-L: Assistant District Attorney Heather Nobrega, Assistant Public Defender
Ben Muse, U.S. District Magistrate Judge Deborah Smith, and
Federal Probation Officer Chris Liedike
The non-adversarial courts bring prosecutor, defense attorney, judge, probation officer and defendant together to craft a set of requirements that often include intense outpatient treatment, random UAs, getting a job or doing volunteer work, and regular updates to the court for 12 to 18 months. 

"It’s a lot easier to sit on your butt in jail,” Assistant D.A. Heather Nobrega said.

The non-adversarial approach takes some getting used to, according to Assistant P. D. Ben Muse. “Heather and I are trial lawyers, people don’t always play nice.” 

“We have different perspectives,” Nobrega said, adding, “The judge makes the ultimate decision.”

Both agree, though, on the success of the court and its ability to support defendants and helping to keep them from re-offending.

Judge Deborah  Smith presides over the Alaska Hope Court – a pilot project at the federal level.  Probation Officer Chris Liedike, a reentry specialist, works with defendants in the program.

It’s a carrot and stick approach with immediate and proportional sanctions, Judge Smith said. A positive UA results in immediate jail time, two days if the defendant is truthful, four days if not truthful.

Judge Smith invited audience members to visit her court, which is in session every other Thursday in courtroom 4 in the federal building. “It’s open to the public,” she said. “Feel free to come and join us or intern with us.”


Monday, April 3, 2017

Help break the silence during Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Governor Bill Walker proclaimed April Sexual Awareness Month citing the 2015 Alaska Victimization Survey  which presents research on violence against women in Alaska. Although Alaska experienced a decrease in sexual violence in the past 12 months, the state is still ranked highest in the nation.

To support increased awareness, the UAA Justice Club presents, "Breaking the Silence." Share your words or story and help break the silence every Tuesday and Thursday in April from 11a.m.-2p.m. in the Social Science Building.

For more information contact Joseph at jmitzel@alaska.edu or uaa_justice@alaska.edu.

Sexual Awareness Month is observed on the national level as well as state level.

Alaska Victimization Survey in the news:
--Alaska, US leaders proclaim April as sexual assault awareness month   Apr 1, 2017 — KTVA CBS 11 News
--After fatal shooting, woman’s friends and family hope to shine light on domestic violence 
Mar 31, 2017 — Chugiak-Eagle River Star


Friday, March 31, 2017

Native corporation vice-president/general counsel speaks to Prof. Fortson's contracts class

Christopher Slottee at Prof. Ryan Fortson's contracts class
Christopher Slottee, Vice-President/General Counsel for Old Harbor Native Corporation spoke to students in Prof. Ryan Fortson's Contracts, Debt and Principles of Ownership (LEGL 362) class this week. Slottee talked about drafting contracts and the different types of contracts and issues he encounters in his practice.

"It's very valuable for students to  hear lawyers talk about their work," Fortson said. "My friend, Chris, has been very generous with his time and expertise. It makes a difference to our students."

Slottee began as general counsel for Old Harbor Native Corporation in June of 2015 and before that was a partner in the Anchorage law firm of Atkinson Conway & Gagnon, where he represented Old Harbor in a number of legal matters. Last year, Slottee talked about issues related to Native corporations for Prof. Fortson's Tribal Courts and Alaska Native Rights class.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Mental health care among juvenile and adult correctional populations discussion April 6

Join the UAA Justice Club for a panel discussion of mental health care among juvenile and adult correctional populations, the last in our National Criminal Justice Month 2017 series of discussions.

Date: Thursday, April 6
Time: 7:00–8:30 p.m.
Location: UAA/APU Consortium Library, LIB 307
Admission: Free and open to the public

Providing mental health care has become an increasingly crucial aspect of modern correctional rehabilitation.  Nationally, more than half of prison and jail inmates have mental health problems, and probation/parole departments provide essential mental health services to their clients.

Learn how Alaska tackles these issues at a panel discussion with experts from the Division of Juvenile Justice and Department of Corrections:

Heidi Redick — Chief Probation Officer, Division of Juvenile Justice
Shannon Cross-Azbill — Clinical Director,  Division of Juvenile Justice
Laura Brooks —  Director of Health and Rehabilitation Services, Department of Corrections
Adam Rutherford — Chief Mental Health Officer, Department of Corrections

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

New plan to strengthen trust between police and community

“We’re not just the people with the gun and badge,” Capt. Sean Case said last week as he explained Anchorage Police Department’s Community Action Policing (CAP) initiative and expanded foot patrols. We don’t just deal with something and go away, he said.

Capt. Case, along with Mayor Ethan Berkowitz, Sgt. Brian Williams, president of the Anchorage Police Department Employees Association (APDEA), Jamie Boring, executive director of the Anchorage Downtown Partnership, and Nora Morse, Special Assistant to Mayor Ethan Berkowitz, spoke about community policing at an event sponsored by the UAA Justice Club and Justice Center as part of National Criminal Justice Month.

L to R: Nora Morse, special assistant to the mayor, APD
Capt Sean Case, Sgt. Brian Williams, president of the Anchorage
Police Department Employees Association, and
Mayor Ethan Berkowitz discuss community policing
“We’re making contact with business owners. We’re making contact with people who live in the area,” Capt. Case said.  “It’s a communication-based approach.”

Mayor Berkowitz, who left an Assembly meeting to participate in the discussion, pointed out that “it is important to us to enhance community safety and to protect officer safety and do it in a way where there’s a lot of community trust.”

Anchorage is one of the most ethnically diverse communities in the country with four out of the five most diverse high schools. “Let’s show everyone else we can get along,” Mayor Berkowitz said.

The idea is to proactively prevent crime instead of react to it, according to a letter Mayor Berkowitz sent to the Anchorage community regarding APD’s 2017 Targeted Crime Plan.

“The police department is integral to everyone feeling safe. There is a tremendous amount of social work, a tremendous amount of counseling that goes into making sure you feel safe,” Mayor Berkowitz told a largely UAA student audience, many of whom are enrolled in Justice Center programs.

Three neighborhoods, Mountain View, Spenard and Fairview will get foot patrols. These three neighborhoods have been targeted because of a history of higher call column. They are condensed and easier to get to on foot. The communities have also been asking for better services.

The idea came from the Task Force on 21st Century Policing, Mayor Berkowitz said. The Task Force, created by President Barack Obama was part of the Administration’s efforts to “strengthen community policing and strengthen trust among law enforcement officers and the communities they serve.”

Jamie Boring, executive director of the Anchorage Downtown Partnership, spoke about the drop in crime downtown experienced with the addition of foot patrols.

Under Mayor Berkowitz, APD has grown to over 400 officers with another 56 in the training cycle. There are also more than 90 officers eligible to retire. Still, 2017 will see some gains, Capt. Case said, and encouraged students to think about applying for the academy.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Alternative court panel discussion Thursday, March 30

Join the UAA Justice Club as they present a panel discussion of alternative courts in Alaska's state and federal district courts.
  • Date: Thursday, March 30
  • Time: 7:00–8:30 p.m.
  • Location: UAA/APU Consortium Library, LIB 307
  • Admission: Free
Drug courts, veteran courts and reentry courts offer offenders an opportunity to work with a collaborative team toward treatment and rehabilitation. Learn more about how these courts operate with:
  • U.S. District Court Chief Magistrate Judge Deborah M. Smith
  • Federal Probation Officer Chris Liedike
  • Assistant Professor Cory Lepage
  • Assistant Public Defender Ben Muse
  • Assistant District Attorney Heather Nobrega
National Criminal Justice Month events are sponsored by the Justice Center and the UAA Justice Club.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Alaska Criminal Justice Working Group reviews preliminary Results First data

Dr. Brad Myrstol, Justice Center faculty and director of the Alaska Justice Information Center (AJiC) and the  Alaska Justice Statistical Analysis Center (AJSAC),  presented Results First benefit to cost model estimates on a dozen Alaska Department of Corrections (ADOC) programs to the Alaska Criminal Justice Working Group (ACJWG)  in Juneau last week.  Public Safety Commissioner Walter Monegan, Supreme Court Justice Joel Bolger,  Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth,  Corrections Commissioner Dean Williams, Mental Health Trust Authority Chief Operating Officer Steve Williams, were among those who responded to the findings with vigorous discussion, including how results might be used to inform future decision-making by policy makers and program heads in the criminal justice system.

Dr. Brad Myrstol
Dr. Araceli Valle
Dr. Myrstol and Dr. Araceli Valle, AJiC research professional, fielded questions from the working group regarding how costs of programs were determined as well as how recidivism rates were calculated. They told the working group that program costs were provided by ADOC and only the state’s investment in programs was used to calculate each program’s benefit cost ratio, a monetary measure of the state’s return on investment. Estimates of recidivism reduction and victimization costs avoided when recidivism is reduced were derived from research conducted outside of Alaska.

Alaska is one of more than 30 jurisdictions throughout the country to partner with the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative. The initiative  uses innovative research tools to analyze the benefit cost ratio of evidence-based programs designed to reduce recidivism.

“The presentation went well,” Dr. Myrstol said. “It generated a lot of discussion and gave the group a lot to think about how this specific resource can be used to inform future program investment decisions.”

Other programs to be run through the Results First adult criminal justice model include therapeutic courts, ASAP (Alcohol Safety Action Program), and Alaska’s batterers’ intervention programs.

Zonta Club awards Blumenstein at Choose Respect event

Dr. Lindsey Blumenstein speaks at Choose Respect event
Dr. Lindsey Blumenstein, Justice faculty, spoke of the need for continued work to address intimate partner and sexual violence at yesterday's Choose Respect march in Anchorage. She presented data from the Alaska Victimization Survey on the impact of stalking on victims of intimate partner and sexual violence. In recognition of her work to make a difference in the lives of women and girls of Alaska, Dr. Blumenstein received the Zonta Rose Day award from the Zonta Club of Anchorage.  Zonta is a service organization dedicated to improving the lives of women and children through education, funds and service projects.

Tales from territorial lawyers and judges in new book

The Biggest Damned Hat: Tales from Alaska's Territorial Lawyers and JudgesUniversity of Alaska Press released The Biggest Damned Hat: Tales from Alaska's Territorial Lawyers and Judges by Pamela Cravez, editor of the Alaska Justice Forum and research associate at the Justice Center.

Built on interviews and oral histories from more than fifty lawyers who worked in Alaska before 1959, and buttressed by research into legal history, The Biggest Damned Hat provides new perspectives on Alaska history from gold rush times to statehood. Clubby, passionate and powerful, territorial lawyers developed their own brand of civil and criminal law in the face of uneven and, at times, unscrupulous federally appointed judges. Bringing to life a time long past—when some of the best lawyers had little formal legal education—The Biggest Damned Hat fills in a crucial part of Alaska’s history.