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.