Friday, December 22, 2017

High victimization rates and lack of reporting troubling in 2016 NCVS

Darlene Hutchinson, Director of the Office for Victims of Crime, the Office of Justice Programs responded to the 2016 National Crime Victimization Survey released last week, finding troubling high victimization rates and the fact that 58 percent of victims of violent crime did not report the offenses to the police. The Bureau of Justice Statistics released the 2016 National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), a survey, undertaken every year. NCVS data show that in 2016, U.S. residents aged 12 or older experienced 5.7 million violent offenses-including rape or sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated and simple assault. The NCVS data also show that only 42 percent of victims of violence report the offenses to the police.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Congratulations to 2017 grads!

L-R: Troy Payne, Deb Periman, Allan Barnes,
Sharon Chamard, Brad Myrstol, and Ron Everett.
Not pictured: Kristin Knudsen and Ryan Fortson
Sharon Chamard, UAA Faculty Senate President and Justice faculty, spoke at UAA commencement on Sunday and encouraged graduates to "to lift up those around you, to contribute to the betterment of the world, or just your tiny corner of it.  Do what you can to ensure that others coming behind you have the same or even better opportunities than you have had."

Read the full text of Chamard's inspiring speech below:

As President of the Faculty Senate, and on behalf of the faculty, it is my honor and privilege to congratulate all of you graduates for your success and accomplishments.

Whether this is part of your life plan hatched as a toddler and you fully expected to be sitting here today, or you are looking around in amazement, wondering how you pulled off this tremendous feat of completing a university degree, you are all now members of an elite group—those who have had the good fortune of living in a time and place that provides broad opportunities for higher education.
Indeed, you are part of the most educated generation in the history of the world. Did you know, for example that in 1960, shortly after Alaska became a state, only 10% of Alaskan adults had a Bachelor’s degree? That percentage has increased every year, and now we’re close to 30%. Globally, right now fewer than 10% of adults have a college degree.

With this good fortune and privilege comes a responsibility, to lift up those around you, to contribute to the betterment of the world, or just your tiny corner of it.  Do what you can to ensure that others coming behind you have the same or even better opportunities than you have had.
Right now, despite the festivities of the day, you may be worried about your own future, about getting a good job, and about paying back your student loans. But I guarantee you, you have what it takes to not only continue to succeed in your own life, but to help others around you succeed.  It takes persistence and commitment to get where you are today, and you can model that behavior to your siblings, your children, your coworkers, your friends, and the people in your community.

For faculty, seeing you all turn the page to your next amazing story is tremendously gratifying. We hope you will look back on this chapter of the book of your life with fondness, appreciation, and a sense of accomplishment.
Now, I ask my faculty colleagues to join me in recognizing you for your success and thanking you for sharing a part of your valuable life with us.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Congratulations to Justice Center fall and summer 2017 grads!

With Fall 2017 Commencement this weekend, join us in congratulating Justice Center fall and summer  2017 graduates!

This fall, 15 students received a B.A. in Justice, nine received a B.A. in Legal Studies, three received an A.A.S. in Paralegal Studies and one received a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Paralegal Studies.

This summer three students graduated, one with a B.A. in Legal Studies, one with a B.A. in Justice, and one with a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Paralegal Studies.

We also congratulate the five students who are receiving a Justice minor and two students receiving a Legal Studies minor this fall.

Best wishes on your future success!

Judge Mannheimer listens to oral arguments in Prof. Fortson's Advanced Litigation class

L-R standing: Max Delzer, Kara Stewart, Prof. Ryan Fortson,
Court of Appeals Judge David Mannheimer, Sabine Kraft, Kris Young, Joseph Mitzel
L-R kneeling: Colleen Abad, Jenny McCord

Judge David Mannheimer, Chief Judge of the Alaska Court of Appeals, listened to final oral arguments of students in Prof. Ryan Fortson's Advanced Trial and Litigation Processes class, (Legal 47), on Wednesday, Dec. 13. As part of their final project for class, students prepared memos opposing or in support of one of five different fictional scenarios developed by Prof. Fortson. Prof. Fortson invited Judge Mannheimer to give students the experience of presenting oral arguments on their memos in front of a sitting judge. Wednesday's oral arguments serve as the final exam for the class.

Cravez speaks at Tundra Vision and Justice Alaska about territorial lawyers

Pamela Cravez, editor of the Alaska Justice Forum, was featured speaker at the Tundra Vision Lecture Series this week. She told stories from her recent book, The Biggest Damned Hat: Tales for Alaska's Territorial Lawyers and Judges at the community history event.

Next week, Cravez will be a guest on Alaska Public Radio's Justice Alaska, a call-in radio show featuring topics on Alaska's justice system. The show will be broadcast on KSKA 91.1 FM at 2 p.m., Wednesday, December 20.

Monday, December 11, 2017

AJiC releases fact sheet on motor vehicle thefts

AJiC Fact Sheet 17-03
The most recent issue of the AJiC Fact Sheet, "Motor Vehicle Theft Arrests Reported in Alaska, 1986–2015," presents data on motor vehicle theft arrests reported in Alaska from 1986 to 2016 as reported in the Alaska Department of Public Safety publication Crime in Alaska. Overall, the motor vehicle arrest rate consistently declined between 1990 and 2014 when it reached the lowest level in the 1985–2016 period. The motor vehicle arrest rate rebounded in 2015 and 2016. Increases in Alaska motor vehicle arrest rates in 2015 and 2016 were particularly pronounced among adults and males, while motor vehicle arrest rates for juveniles and females remained minimal in comparison. On average, adults accounted for 62.6 percent and juveniles for 37.4 percent of all arrests for motor vehicle thefts reported in Alaska from 1985 to 2016. Males accounted for 81.8 percent of all motor vehicle theft arrests, females 18.2 percent.

The fact sheet is by Random Reamey, Research Professional, Alaska Justice Information Center (AJiC). The AJiC Fact Sheet series addresses various crime and criminal justice topics.


Prof. Payne publishes method for identifying dark-time crime locations for street lighting
Prof. Troy Payne, Justice faculty, recently published an article in Crime and Prevention and Community Safety with co-author Rustu Deryol, that provides an empirical method for where to site street lights for the purpose of crime prevention. The authors used a statistical clustering method to examine and compare streets near the University of Cincinnati West Campus selected for lighting during early 2014. Findings revealed temporal patterns of crime within crime hot spots. To learn more about findings and implications of conclusions read the article:

Friday, December 8, 2017

Prof. Brandeis discusses marijuana policy at CLE today

Prof. Jason Brandeis
Alaska is now among eight states that have legalized commercaial marijuana use and sale for adults. However, marijuana use, possession, and sale remains generally illegal under federal law. This ongoing tension presents numerous legal challenges and questions for businesses operating in the marijuana industry, for recreational and medicinal marijuana users, for government regulatory agencies tasked with overseeing and managing these markets, and for attorneys who work in this field.

Professor Jason Brandeis, Justice Center faculty,  is giving two presentations on these ongoing marijuana law and policy issues at today's continuing legal education (CLE) event titled Recreational Marijuana Law In Alaska. Professor Brandeis' first presentation, "Federal Responses to Alaska Marijuana Law," will discuss constitutional preemption and the Controlled Substance Act, how federal agency policy decisions affect state marijuana markets, current federal marijuana enforcement priorities, and the impact of federal marijuana prohibition on state agencies receiving federal funding.

Professor Brandeis is also giving a presentation on the ethical issues that marijuana legalization poses for attorneys. This presentation, covering marijuana and the Alaska Rules of Professional Conduct, satisfies part of the Alaska Bar Association's legal ethics education requirement.

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, November 20, 2017

Troy Payne talks about how social media crime reports can distort world view

Dr. Troy C. Payne, Justice Center faculty,  discussed the ability of social media reports of crime to distort people's view of the world in a recent story in the Anchorage Daily News about the uptick in social media reports of crime.
Dr. Troy C. Payne, Justice faculty

Although there are few academic studies about the impact of social media crime reports, one recent study found that the amount of time that people consume social media about crime influences how they feel about their community, according to Dr. Payne.

"People who use social media are more likely to feel unsafe," Payne said. They may not see crime personally, but when they "look on their Facebook feed, or Nextdoor, they see crime all over the place."

"It can have this really strange distorting effect on how we view the world," Payne said.

While crime in some categories, such as car theft, is increasing, when combined with social media accounts, you have the perfect environment for people to perceive crime as pervasive, Payne said.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Northern Light cites Alaska Victimization Survey to highlight efforts to address intimate partner violence and sexual assault

The Northern Light used the 2015 Alaska Victimization Survey (AVS) to underscore the need to address intimate partner violence and sexual assault, stating that nearly one in two Anchorage women experience intimate partner violence, sexual assault, or both in their lifetime.

Keeley Olson, executive director of Standing Together Against Rape (STAR), added that rates of child sexual abuse in Alaska are six times higher than those in the lower 48 and that once someone is harmed, they are more likely to be harmed again. It is very important to prevent the first occurrence of sexual violence, she said.

Open communication is important. “As it becomes more mainstream to speak about it, the stigma and blame will dissipate. If everyone would express belief and offer support to those impacted, rather than laying blame, or making excuses, it would make a world of difference,” Olson said in the Northern Light article.

The article listed several initiatives at UAA that are increasing awareness about intimate partner violence and sexual assault including the mandatory Title IX training and the Take Back the Night March in September. UAA has also done 21 bystander training presentations according to Betty Bang, a nurse practitioner at the Student Health and Counseling Center. The goal is to help students get involved in intervening.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Alaska Justice Information Center provides research necessary for evidence-based policy making

The Alaska Justice Information Center (AJiC) is well-positioned to provide Alaska policy makers and lawmakers with the information and research necessary to make evidence-based decisions, according to Brad Myrstol, AJiC director, in recent stories published in Alaska Business Monthly and Cordova Times.  AJiC released its first major report, the Alaska Results First Initiative, in October, and legislators have called upon Myrstol to provide information about crime rates numerous times this fall.

Nationally, and in Alaska, policy makers have historically relied upon "gut-feel" rather than data, according to Myrstol. That trend is changing and AJiC is making it possible for lawmakers to dig deeper and get the information they need to support policy decisions.  This year AJiC is building an integrated Alaska justice platform, a repository for justice data routinely collected by criminal justice agencies in Alaska. The platform will make it possible for AJiC to help answer the complex questions Alaska lawmakers face when creating justice policy for Alaskans.

"How UAA’s Justice Information Center Is Using Data to Help Policymakers" by Catalina Myers.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Legal Ethics students participate in diversity luncheon

Students in Prof. Deb Periman's  Legal Ethics class A215 were invited to participate in the 2017 Diversity Luncheon titled: Diversity in Our Community: Stories Affecting Our Lives. Senior Justice Dana Fabe, Retired Alaska Supreme Court Justice, moderated the conversation between Shauna Hegna, President Koniag, Inc., Jo-Ann Chung, District Court Judge, Karina Waller, Executive Director, Ted Stevens Foundation, and Mark Kroloff, Principal, First Alaskan Capital Partner, LLC.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Alumni spotlight: Dominick Eubank, Justice '16, is APD patrol officer

APD Patrol Officer Dominick Eubank
Dominick Eubank, double major in Justice and History, 2016, is a Patrol Officer with the Anchorage Police Department (APD). Dominick entered the Police Academy in June 2016, a month after graduating from UAA. He completed the Academy in December 2016 and also completed  Field Training between December 2016  and April 2017.

The responsibilities of Dominick's job include investigating person and property crimes at the patrol level. The crimes Dominick investigates range from misdemeanors to felonies and include theft, assault, and domestic violence. He also responds to violent  crimes such as homicide and robbery prior to detectives being involved.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Random Reamey joins AJiC as research professional

Random Reamey
Random Reamey, new AJiC research professional.
Please join us in welcoming Random Reamey to the UAA Justice Center. Random is a research professional in the Alaska Justice Information Center (AJiC). Prior to working at the Justice Center, Random was a research professional and graduate research assistant at the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER). At ISER he analyzed data from the American Community Survey and other sources to analyze how potential tax options used to balance the Alaska state budget would impact children and families in urban and rural Alaska. This included an analysis of the impact of the Permanent Fund Dividend on Alaskan households. Random began working at ISER as a First Alaskans Institute Intern as part of his undergraduate business degree and continued working there after graduating with a B.B.A. in Economics from UAA in summer 2016. He is currently enrolled in the M.B.A. program at UAA and is interested in business intelligence. Research and analysis for AJiC is similar to the research and analysis in business, according to Random. Decision makers in both fields require good data and analysis in order to make the best decisions possible.

Myrstol presents crime data to House Finance

slide presentation
Dr. Brad Myrstol, interim Justice Center director and director of the Alaska Justice Information Center and Alaska Justice Statistical Analysis Center, provided the Alaska House Finance Committee with Alaska crime statistics during its special session meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 31. Dr. Myrstol provided  "big picture" annual crime rates from 1985-2016 and monthly crime rates from 2014 to 2016. The presentation gave legislators  trends over both long and short periods of time as well as trends for specific crimes.  In addition to Dr. Myrstol, the committee also heard from Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth from the Department of Law and Tony Piper from the Alcohol Safety Action Program. The committee is considering the financial implications of addressing crime rates and changes proposed to criminal justice reform in SB 54. See Dr. Myrstol's presentation here.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Alumni spotlight: Wendi Jobe Shackelford 5th generation police officer and crisis intervention expert

Wendi Jobe Shackelford, B.A. Justice, '94, played on the UAA women's basketball team and  received the 1993 award for most improved. She also received the Dresser Cup for having the highest GPA of any student athlete, male or female. Her undergraduate years at UAA, though, were just a warm up for the years of achievement that have followed.

Most improved and highest
GPA among student athletes
After graduating, Shackelford joined the Anchorage Police Department, becoming the fifth generation in her family to enter law enforcement. Her father, maternal grandfather, maternal great grandfather and maternal great, great grandfather have all been police officers. She was one of the first dozen School Resource Officers to go into the Anchorage School District schools, stationed at Chugiak High School from May 2003 to June 2013. She was also among the first patrol officers to be trained in crisis response and supported the development of APD's Crisis Intervention Team (CIT).

Nearing retirement at APD
CIT is a collaborative approach, employing partnerships between law enforcement, the community, mental health providers, individuals with mental illness, their family, and advocates to address the needs of persons with mental illness in a way that emphasizes treatment for nuisance crimes, rather than jail.

From 2001 to 2013, Shackelford served as coordinator of APD's Crisis Intervention Team in addition to her duties as a patrol officer. In 2013, after showing her superiors that CIT coordination was a full-time job, the position of full-time coordinator was created and she held it until her retirement in 2015.

In 2005, Shackelford received the APD officer of the quarter. She also became a YWCA Woman of Distinction that year, the first police officer to be recognized. In 2008, the APD CIT, under Shackelford's coordination, received the Governor's Award recognizing a civic organization that has done the most to improve the potential of people with disabilities.

Shackelford with current APD CIT Coordinator Ruth Adolf
Shackelford is now back at UAA, where she's become a member of the Center for Human Development (CHD) Alaska Training Cooperative. She continues to use her knowledge and experience to train  law enforcement, emergency, and medical first responders in crisis intervention as well as mental health first aid. She is helping to provide the training for a new CIT Coalition in Mat-Su Borough.(See Fall 2017 Alaska Justice Forum) as well as serving as coordinator of Youth Mental Health First Aid training.

And, since July 2016, Shackelford has held a public seat on the executive board of the Alaska Police Standards Council. She is confirmed by the Alaska Legislature to serve through 2021.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Myrstol provides tutorial on importance of "time" when interpreting crime statistics

Brad A Myrstol
Dr. Brad Myrstol, interim Justice Center director, provides a tutorial on interpreting crime statistics, showing the importance of “time” in any analysis of trends.

This is the first in a series of short videos to help everyday people interpret basic crime statistics. In this video, data on rates of larceny theft in Alaska for 1985–2016 are used to demonstrate the importance of time in analyzing whether crime is trending upward, trending downward, or remaining flat.

See the video and transcript.

Students talk with Supreme Court Justice Maasen and Clerk of Appellate Courts Marilyn May

Seal of the State of Alaska that hangs
in the courtroom of the
Alaska Supreme Court.
Alaska Supreme Court
Justice Peter Maasen
Students in Prof. Deb Periman's Legal Studies Senior Seminar (LEGL A489) attended class in the Alaska Supreme Court Conference Room on October 23. Marilyn May, clerk of the appellate courts, talked with students about the appellate process and briefing. Students toured the Alaska Supreme Court and the records office. They also met with Alaska Supreme Court Justice Peter Maasen who spoke with them about legal writing and the best and most difficult parts of being a justice.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Alaska Justice Forum supplement: Is the rate of property crime increasing in Alaska?

Dr. Brad Myrstol, interim Justice Center director and director of the Alaska Justice Information Center, developed a series of graphs using data from six Alaska jurisdictions to show the complexity of determining whether property crime is increasing in Alaska. The video presentation and transcript are new additions to the online version of the Fall 2017 Alaska Justice Forum.  Sign up to receive the Alaska Justice Forum.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Judge Henderson speaks with Society of Law & Justice students

Anchorage Superior Court Judge Jennifer Henderson speaks with
 Society of Law and Justice students. Photo by Hideki Kimura.
Anchorage Superior Court Judge Jennifer Henderson spoke at the general meeting of the the Society of Law and Justice on Thursday, Oct. 19. Gov. Walker appointed Henderson to the Superior Court in May 2017. A 2001 Yale Law School graduate, she had served as a District Court judge in Anchorage since 2013. Prior to being appointed to the bench, Judge Henderson clerked for Alaska Supreme Court Justice Warren Matthews and Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw. She served as assistant district attorney in Anchorage and practiced with the law firm of Farley & Graves.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Myrstol provides crime rate data to House Judiciary Committee

Dr. Brad Myrstol presenting Alaska crime data to
members of the House Judiciary Committee
Dr. Brad Myrstol, interim Justice Center director, spoke with members of the House Judiciary Committee on Oct. 16, about crime rates in Alaska, specifically presenting monthly crime rate information for 2014, 2015, and 2016. Rep. Matt Claman, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, stated the purpose of the meeting as gathering information prior to the start of a special session called for next week by Gov. Walker to work on SB54. SB54 is a bill which would amend portions of SB91, a criminal justice reform law that passed in July 2016. Dr. Myrstol provided the committee the latest information available regarding monthly
crime rates both before and after passage of SB91. Find a copy of Dr. Myrstol's presentation here:

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Periman talks with students at Color of Justice

Prof. Terry Price (L) and Prof. Deb Periman at Color of Justice
Deb Periman, Justice faculty, along with Prof. Terry Price from the University of Washington School of Law, spoke with nearly 100 Alaska high school students  about what lawyers and judges do. Their conversation was part of  the two-day 2017 Color of Justice Program held in Anchorage Oct. 5 & 6. The Color of Justice is designed to encourage students to consider a career in law and also to increase the diversity in the legal profession and judiciary.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Women in Law Enforcement and Career Fair opportunities

Check out upcoming career fairs including the 2017 UAA Fall Career Fair, Thursday, October 12, 9a.m. to 2p.m. in the Student Union. Dress professionally and bring your resume. On Friday October, 13, 2:30-3:30p.m, learn about internship and career opportunities with the CIA. Preregister here.

Next Tuesday, Oct. 17,  local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies will be recruiting at UAA in the Student Union from 10a.m. - 4:30p.m. during the Women in Law Enforcement Recruitment Fair. Sponsored by Women Police of Alaska with support from the UAA Justice Center,  the Recruitment Fair is open to the public and offers an opportunity to talk with female officers about opportunities in law enforcement.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Students observe Wrongful Conviction Day with Alaska Innocence Project Director

Alaska Innocence Project Director Bill Oberly speaks with
students on Wrongful Conviction Day
Students in Prof. Deb Periman's Legal Ethics A215 and Prof. Ron Everett's Intro to Justice A110 observed Wrongful Conviction Day on Oct. 4 by learning about how the Alaska Innocence Project and Innocence projects around the country are working to address wrongful convictions. Director of the Alaska Innocence Project Bill Oberly spoke to students about DNA exonerations and how DNA evidence is making a difference in the criminal justice system. Although most of the Alaska Innocence Project work does not involve DNA, DNA work elsewhere shows many of the likely causes of wrongful convictions. The Innocence Project Alaska is an Alaska non-profit corporation that provides legal, educational, and charitable services to identify and exonerate individuals who have been wrongfully convicted in the state.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Myrstol talks about crime rates with House Budget Committee

Dr. Brad Myrstol talks to House Budget Committee about
property crime rates in Alaska
Dr. Brad Myrstol, interim Justice Center director, spoke with the Alaska State House Budget Committee about crime rates on Oct. 5. Myrstol presented information about property crime rates, showing that crime levels and patterns of fluctuation vary widely over time, across jurisdictions, and according to the crime considered. Find the presentation here.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Family law practitioner Blake Quackenbush speaks to Society of Law & Justice Thursday

Students are invited to a general meeting of the UAA Society of Law & Justice, Thursday October 5,  at 5:45 p.m. in SSB 118. If you think you may be interested in joining the club and want to learn more, drop by for pizza and soda and a chance to hear Blake Quackenbush talk about what it's like to practice family law.

Myrstol discusses Justice Center research on Talk of Alaska

Dr. Brad Myrstol, interim Justice Center director and director of the Alaska Justice Information Center and Alaska Justice Statistical Analysis Center, spoke about SB91 and its impact on crime rates on KSKA Public Radio's Talk of Alaska on Tuesday, Oct. 3 as part of a panel including, Greg Razo,  chair of the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission, Susanne DiPietro, executive director of the Alaska Judicial Council, Jahna Lindemuth, Alaska Attorney General, and Clint Campion, Anchorage District Attorney. Myrstol told listeners to look at Justice Center research including the newly released Alaska Results First report and Alaska Victimization Survey to see data showing the effectiveness of current adult criminal justice programming at reducing recidivism and a downward trend in sexual violence and victimization, respectively.

Faculty Senate President Chamard chairs UAA chancellor search

Dr. Sharon Chamard
Dr. Sharon Chamard, Justice Center faculty, became UAA Faculty Senate President in May and was recently appointed chair of the UAA Chancellor search committee. In her role as Faculty Senate President, Charmard presides over a monthly forum and a committee structure that  addresses university-life issues (curriculum, student success, institutional organization, and professional development) and represents the Faculty Senate as part of UAA shared governance on a variety of groups, including the Council of Deans and Directors, Faculty Alliance, and University Assembly.

Monday, October 2, 2017

AJIC report features information about the effectiveness of Alaska's adult criminal justice programs

Alaska Results First Initiative
The Alaska Results First Initiative, a new report from the Alaska Justice Information Center (AJiC) at the Justice Center, shows that most of Alaska's evidence-based adult criminal justice programs are showing positive return on state investment of money. Notably, all but one of those programs are shown to measurably reduce recidivism (the likelihood that an inmate will re-offend when released), which not only improves public safety, but saves the state the costs associated with criminal activity.  Learn more.

Gov. Walker cites Justice Center research, urging Alaskans to reduce violence

Gov. Bill Walker cited statistics from the Justice Center's Alaska Victimization Survey, "that 59% of adult women in Alaska have experienced intimate partner violence or sexual violence - or both - in their lifetime," as  he urged Alaskans to do everything in their power to reduce and eliminate violence. In his One Alaska Update, Governor Walker wrote: "October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. In Alaska, this is particularly significant, because 59% of adult women in Alaska have experienced intimate partner violence or sexual violence - or both - in their lifetime. Domestic violence thrives on indifference; it is our responsibility to acknowledge the prevalence of this plague, and do everything in our power to reduce and eliminate violence in our homes and communities."

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Chamard provides technical assistance to Town Square Park redesign

Dr. Sharon Chamard, Justice faculty, served as a member of the Technical Advisory Group for the Anchorage Parks and Recreation Department to develop a new  Anchorage Town Square Park design. Two proposals for going forward were released today.

The Technical Advisory Group, on which Dr. Chamard served, includes a group of designers and planners with a history of work, body of knowledge and understanding of past efforts regarding the development of Town Square Park.

Anchorage Town Square — Concept Design A

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Myrstol presents information on property crime rates

Dr. Brad Myrstol, interim Justice Center director and director of the Alaska Justice Information Center told a group of Anchorage business owners that the impact of SB91, a bill providing sentencing and corrections reforms to reduce the prison population and save an estimated $380 million in 10 years, on property crime rates is difficult to assess given that it's been just over a year since its passage. He encouraged members of the group to view current levels of crimes known to police in historical context, and discussed the limitations of using crime rates to assess the effects of SB91.

Myrstol presented graphs showing the number of property crimes reported to the Anchorage Police Department between from 1985 through 2016. Pronounced increases in larceny thefts, motor vehicle thefts and burglaries reported to the police all started well before the passage of SB91, Myrstol said. He added that although numbers are going up, put in context, some are well below historical highs.

Click on the image below to see rates per 100,000 population for property crimes in Anchorage.

Rate of larceny thefts reported to Anchorage Police Department, 1985–2016. Click through for graphs of other property crime rates.

In the news:

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.