Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Students meet with Alaska Justice Bolger, Judge Hanley and Law Librarian Falk

Alaska Supreme Court Justice Joel Bolger talks with students
in Legal Ethics, A215, class. Photo credit, Mara Rabinowitz,
Communications Counsel, Alaska Court System.
Students in Prof. Deborah Periman's Legal Ethics (A215) class met with Alaska Supreme Court Justice Joel Bolger, Alaska District Court Judge Patrick Hanley, and Alaska State Law Librarian Susan Falk this week. Justice Bolger and Judge Hanley spoke to students about their roles and the jurisdiction of Alaska's trial and appellate courts, as well as fielded questions from students. Students received an overview of what happens in court from the time of an arrest or a civil complaint, the roles of judges and other court employees and jobs available in the Alaska justice system. Susan Falk described law library resources for students.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Myrstol cautions linking crime trends with SB91

Dr. Brad Myrstol, interim Justice Center director and director of the Alaska Justice Information Center and the Alaska Justice Statistical Analysis Center, is quoted in the Alaska Dispatch, cautioning linking passage of SB91 with Alaska crime trends. The bill, passed last year with bipartisan support, is projected to save $380 million over 10 years by, among other measures, reducing sentences for nonviolent offenders.

While certain types of violent and nonviolent crime have been rising in recent years, that trend in some categores dates back decades, Myrstol told the Dispatch. "[SB91] legislation hasn't really had time to cool yet. It's hot off the presses," he said, adding, "we should always be careful extrapolating recent events."

Myrstol's remarks came as the Dispatch reported that Alaska Gov. Bill Walker announced that he would call legislators into special session in October and ask them to increase penalties for low level offenses, reversing parts of SB91.

Myrstol said that it would probably take two to three years after SB91 passage before researchers would be able to assess its effectiveness.

"The challenge is people don't have much patience for that sort of research question," he said. "And I understand why they don't."

Monday, September 18, 2017

Brandeis looks at growing marijuana business in Alaska

Prof. Jason Brandeis
Prof. Jason Brandeis, Justice Center faculty, writes about the regulatory structure being put in place to guide Alaska's marijuana business and the continuing tension between state and federal law, in an article published in the July-September 2017 Alaska Bar Rag. In "Federal rules complicate growing Alaska marijuana business," Brandeis also points out  unique challenges Alaska faces due to a limited road system and the need to ship via air or water, which are subject to federal regulations.

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.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Sex offender low recidivism in NYT and AJSAC research

The New York Times highlighted low recidivism rates among sex offenders in a recent Op-Docs commentary, including an Alaska rate of 3.4% from a 2001 study. A more comprehensive analysis of Alaska's sex offender recidivism rates can be found in a report co-authored by Dr. Brad Myrstol, interim Justice Center director and director of the Alaska Justice Statistical Analysis Center (AJSAC) and Alaska Justice Information Center. The Alaska Sex Offender Recidivism and Case Processing Study confirms that Alaska sex offenders are infrequently rearrested or reconvicted for the new commission of new sex offenses.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Dr. Troy Payne new Justice program coordinator

Dr. Troy C. Payne
As Undergraduate Program Coordinator for 2017-2018, Dr. Troy C. Payne, Associate Professor of Justice, is leading curriculum development and student academic advising for the Bachelor of Arts in Justice and Minor in Justice programs.  He encourages students to keep in touch and provide feedback via email or Google Hangouts at  Dr. Payne remains a faculty adviser to the UAA Society of Law & Justice, our student organization, and is teaching a variety of courses including Justice Data Analysis, Terrorism, and Crime Analysis and Mapping.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Justice faculty at Campus Kickoff

Dr. Brad MyrstolDr. Troy Payne, Prof. Deborah Periman, Dr. Ryan Fortson, and Prof. Kristin Knudsen welcomed students and answered questions about Justice programs at the 2017 Campus Kickoff.

To learn more about the programs, degrees and research at UAA's Justice Center see the UAA Justice Center website. Follow us on Facebook and at the Justice Center blog.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Blumenstein recognized with 2017 Chancellor's Award for Excellence

Dr. Lindsey Blumenstein
Dr. Lindsey Blumenstein
Dr. Lindsey Blumenstein is a recipient of a 2017 Chancellor's Award for Excellence. Join us in Congratulating Dr. Blumenstein on this outstanding achievement.

Dr. Blumenstein's award was in the category of Excellence in Academic Research / Creative Activity, in recognition of the significant and positive impact to UAA and Alaska of her research on intimate partner and sexual violence. To learn more about her research, see her faculty profile page.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Myrstol endorses thoughtful approach when testing sexual assault kits

Interim Justice Center Director
Dr. Brad Myrstol
Dr. Brad Myrstol, Interim Justice Center Director, urged patience regarding the use of $1.1 million that the state received for testing DNA evidence from sexual assaults from around the state. “It requires patience, and on a topic, frankly, that people may not have much patience,” Myrstol said in an interview reported in a recent Juneau Empire story.

Myrstol, a member of the statewide Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) working Group, endorsed the thoughtful and deliberative approach the group is taking both to determine factors that have led to a backlog in testing and how best to protect victims from being re-traumatized when kits are tested.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Hospitals apply for more psychiatric beds, Alaska Justice Forum article supports need

Information from "Alaska's Lack of Psychiatric Beds and Consequences," Alaska Justice Forum, Summer 2017, was used in a recent Certificate of Need (CON) hearing to support a request for additional psychiatric beds.
In May 1968, at the time of this photo, API had 225 beds. It has 80 now.
Christine M. McClain papers, Archives and Special Collections,
 Consortium Library,UAA. Jim Balog, photographer

Alaska Regional Hospital and Mat-Su Regional Medical Center both presented cases and supported each other's requests for expanding behavioral health units to the CON board on August 16 in Anchorage. Mat-Su Regional is applying for 36 beds for behavioral health and substance use disorder patients. Alaska Regional Hospital is seeking 24 psychiatric beds, 12 of which would be secure.

"We are desperately in need of more resources," Alaska Regional CEO Julie Taylor told the CON board.  She presented historical information, taken from the Justice Forum article, that API used to have over 200 beds when it began operating in the 1960's. It now has 80 -  with only 50 reserved for adults. The rest are for adolescents, forensic cases and people with dementia and other disabilities who have no other options for placement.

Taylor also presented a chart that appeared in the Forum showing how the de-institutionalization movement of the 1960's and 70's shifted the population of adults with mental illness from medical institutions to jail.

The lack of beds is particularly worrisome as the state takes moves to reduce the number of people with mental illness who are in jail, Taylor said. "We need to be ready with the resources," she said.

Mat-Su Regional will serve both behavioral health and substance use disorder patients. Alaska Regional plans to focus on behavioral health.

Both requests received strong support from service providers, consumers of mental health and substance abuse disorder services, and family members.

A second CON hearing will be held at Mat-Su College on August 31 at 4:30 p.m. 

Friday, August 18, 2017

Fortson, Knudsen and Payne receive tenure recognition

Dr. Troy Payne
Prof. Ryan Fortson
Prof. Kristin Knudsen
Justice Center faculty Ryan Fortson, Kristin Knudsen and Troy Payne received recognition for receiving tenure from Interim UAA Provost Duane Hrncir at the College of Health All-College meeting on Thursday, August 17. The three Justice faculty, who were all promoted to Associate Professor, were the most faculty from one department in the College of Health to be awarded tenure this year. Prof. Fortson and Prof. Knudsen teach in the Justice Center's Legal Studies program. Prof. Knudsen is Legal Studies Coordinator. Dr. Payne, teaches Justice courses and is the Undergraduate Justice Coordinator. All three were granted tenure in May 2017 by then Provost, now Interim Chancellor, Sam Gingerich.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

AJiC's Results First research in the news

Alaska Dispatch columnist Charles Wohlforth cited research produced by the Alaska Justice Information Center (AJiC) in a recent article about the cost-effectiveness of Alaska Department of Correction's (DOC) sex offender treatment program. Information regarding the state's monetary investment in the DOC program and its return on investment in terms of reducing recidivism comes from work that AJiC is doing as part of  Alaska's partnership with the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative.  Results First uses innovative research tools to analyze the benefit to cost ratio of evidence-based programs in Alaska's criminal justice system intended to reduce recidivism.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Dr. Sharon Chamard attends International ECCA Symposium

Escuela Superior de Economia y Negocios in San Salvador
hosted 26th International Symposium on Environmental
 Criminology and Crime Analysis.
Dr. Sharon Chamard, Justice faculty, attended the 26th International Symposium on Environmental Criminology and Crime Analysis (ECCA) in ESEN (Escuela Superior de Economía y Negocios) in San Salvador, El Salvador in June. Dr. Chamard, who teaches environmental criminology, is one of about 50 people from around the world who met to discuss the latest research in environmental criminology and the spatial and temporal analysis of crime.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Legal Studies faculty serve on Alaska Bar committees

Professors Jason Brandeis, Ryan Fortson, and Deb Periman, Legal Studies faculty, have been reappointed to serve on the Alaska Bar Association's Law Related Education (LRE) Committee. The committee is responsible for presenting programs and producing publications to promote public understanding of the law and legal system. Professors Fortson and Periman are actively involved in LRE's Youth Law Guide subcommittee. Prof. Brandeis has also been reappointed to the Alaska Bar Rag Committee. Brandeis is a frequent contributor to the Bar Rag, a quarterly newspaper edited and written by attorneys, for attorneys in Alaska.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Prof. Brandeis presents at Cannibis Law Institute in Denver

Prof. Jason Brandeis, Legal Studies faculty,  provided a perspective on Alaska marijuana law and regulations at the Cannabis Law Institute in Denver, Colorado, July 28-29.  Presented by the National Cannabis Bar Association and the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, the two-day event focused on legal issues facing attorneys and businesses in the cannabis industry. Prof. Brandeis was invited to participate in a panel discussion of the laws and regulatory systems of the western states. He gave an overview of Alaska's regulatory and licensing framework and the unique challenges and controversies the industry faces in Alaska.

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

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,

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

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 /, 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)

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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
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?