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Criminal Justice Reform Download PDF info sheet >

Increased spending on prisons has not brought Alaskans greater public safety: nearly two out of every three inmates who leave prison return to prison within three years.

In a sweeping bi-partisan effort, the Senate enacted proven practices to reduce recidivism, keep Alaskans safe, hold offenders accountable, and control corrections spending:

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Criminal Justice Reform Key Points

  • Cost of Doing Nothing: +$169 Million: 10 year additional Corrections spending required
  • Alaska’s prison population grew 27 percent in the last decade, nearly three times faster than the resident population
  • Focuses prison beds on serious and violent offenders by diverting nonviolent misdemeanor offenders to alternatives
  • Strengthens probation and parole supervision by creating a system of swift and certain sanctions to crack down on violations of supervision conditions
  • Requires judges to consider a risk assessment score before releasing someone from jail pretrial
  • Requires prosecutors to consult with victims before entering into plea agreements in all felony cases
  • Focuses the time and resources of probation officers on offenders most likely to commit more crimes
  • Focuses treatment resources on high-need offenders
  • Reinvests a portion of the savings into treatment & re-entry services

SB 91 Incorporates the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission's Recommendations

Focus prison beds on serious and violent offenders by:

  • diverting nonviolent misdemeanor offenders to alternatives;
  • revising drug crime penalties
  • adjusting dollar amounts for felony property crimes to account for inflation
  • realigning sentence ranges in statute
  • expanding and streamlining parole

Strengthen probation and parole supervision by:

  • standardizing sanctions for violations of probation and parole conditions
  • ensure such sanctions are swift, certain, and proportional
  • establishing incentives to comply with supervision conditions
  • focusing treatment resources on high-needs offenders

Improve opportunities for successful reentry by offering:

  • limited licenses to eligible revoked offenders
  • creating a reentry program within the Department of Corrections
  • opting out of the federal ban on food stamps for people convicted of drug crimes.

Reinvest a portion of the savings from these reforms into evidence-based practices designed to improve public safety such as:

  • control corrections populations
  • reduce recidivism
  • strengthen supervision services
  • expand victims’ services
  • improve violence prevention
  • expand treatment services
  • create reentry services

Cost of Doing Nothing: $169 Million

Alaska’s prison population grew 27 percent in the last decade, nearly three times faster than the resident population. At this rate, the Department of Corrections projects the need to house an additional 1,416 inmates by 2024, which will cost the state at least $169 million in new spending. With the disappointing recidivism rates and public safety outcomes the state has been achieving, the cost of doing nothing is too high.

Endorsements of Support

The following people and groups submitted written support for Senate Bill 91, the Omnibus Crime Bill.

  • Alaska Federation of Natives
  • State of Alaska Violent Crimes Compensation Board
  • Aiding Women in Abuse and Rape Emergencies
  • North Slope Borough Arctic Women in Crisis
  • American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska
  • Cordova Family Resource Center
  • Unalaskans Against Sexual Assault & Family Violence
  • Advisory Board of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse
  • Alaska Mental Health Board
  • Alaska Behavioral Health Association
  • Food Bank of Alaska
  • National Federation of Independent Business, Alaska
  • Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act Regional Association
  • Jeffersonian Project - ALEC
  • Faith & Freedom Coalition
  • Alaska Policy Forum
  • The American Conservative Union Foundation
  • Right on Crime
  • Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce
  • Nikki Hines, MHR, Reentry Coalition Coordinator
  • Angela Hall, Supporting Our Loved Ones Group
  • Kawerak, Inc.
  • Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
  • Tony Perkins, former Louisiana legislator, president of Family Research Council
  • Alexander O. Bryner, Alaska Criminal Justice Commission
  • Brenda Stanfill, Exec Dir, Interior Alaska center for non-Violent Living
  • Moreen Fried, LCSW, DOC
  • Bruce Van Dusen, Exec Dir, Polaris House
  • Jorge Marin, Policy Specialist for Criminal Justice Reform, Americans for Tax Reform
  • Jason Pye, Director of Justice Reform, Freedom Works
  • Sarra Khlifi, Alaska Food Coalition
  • Perry Ahsogeak, Director, Fairbanks Native Association Behavioral Health
  • Helen Trainor, Relative of a Felony DUI Wellness Court graduate
  • Anne Seymour, National Crime Victim Advocate
  • Nicole Borromeo, VP & General Counsel, AFN
  • Zane Nighswonger, Correctional Office III, DOC
  • Bruce Busby, Director of Institutions, DOC
  • David Joslin, Correctional Officer IV, DOC
  • Clare Sullivan, Deputy Commissioner for Institutions, DOC
  • Ron Shriver, Correctional Officer III, DOC
  • Cathy Mahnke, Correctional Officer III, DOC
  • Jessie Behrends, Correctional Officer II, DOC
  • Dean Williams, Commissioner, DOC
  • Jerrod Andrews, Correctional Officer II, DOC
  • Tomi Anderson, Superintendent, DOC
  • Emily Geiger, Probation Officer II, DOC
  • Dean Marshall, Superintendent, DOC
  • Jacob Wycoff, Correctional Officer IV, DOC
  • William Lapinskas, Superintendent, DOC
  • Debbie Miller, Re-entry Project Manager, DOC
  • Adam Rutherford, Chief Mental Health Officer, DOC
  • Laura Brooks, Deputy Director Inmate Health Care, DOC
  • Marianna Miranda, Correctional Officer IV, DOC
  • Berni Troglio, Probation Officer III, DOC
  • Kay Hoover, Executive Secretary, DOC
  • Tamara Axelsson, Superintendent, DOC
  • Iva Cooney, Correctional Officer II, DOC
  • John Cox, Correctional Officer III, DOC
  • Carrie Belden, Director of Probation and Parole, DOC
  • Judith Martin, Probation Officer II, DOC
  • Marissa Lapinskas, Probation Officer I, DOC
  • Monica Hinders, Probation Officer III, DOC
  • Boyd Muzzana, Anchorage
  • Channcie Bean, Palmer
  • Della Coburn, Kasaan City Councilwoman
  • Heidi James Frost, Anchorage
  • Richard & Beth Hazen, Anchorage
  • Elizabeth Affatato, Juneau
  • Karen Fifer, Admin Manager, Lewis Controls
  • Jayce Robertson, Kenai
  • Bruce Peter, Fairbanks
  • Edward Smagge, Fairbanks
  • Lou Brown, Fairbanks
  • Don Kingkade, Father of Fairbanks Wellness Court Program Graduate
  • Anthony Kingkade, Fairbanks Wellness Court Program Graduate
  • Donna Fischer, Reformed substance abuse felon
  • Donna Steven, Anchorages
  • Margaret Hobbs, Palmer
  • Neil Robertson, Soldotna
  • Sharon Eluska, Anchorage
  • Theresa Brewer, Soldotna
  • Gerald Timmons, Fairbanks Businessman
  • Kyle Brown, Anchorage Businessman
  • Michael Lunde, Fairbanks Wellness Court Program Graduate
  • Jeannette Robertson, Kenai
  • Reece Burke, Fairbanks
  • Amanda LeDesma, Anchorage
  • Dawnelle Fleming, Fairbanks
  • Sophie Sorensen, Dillingham
  • Leigh Copeland, Graduate Anchorage Therapeutic Court
  • Faye Harasack, Kotzebue
  • Zach Finkel, Fairbanks
  • Rebecca Barker, Master of Social Work student intern, DOC
  • Kris Knutzen, Fairbanks
  • Angela Pekich, Anchorage
  • Karin Stilson, Fairbanks Wellness Court Participant