Alaska Juveniles Waived into the Adult System

Alaska Juveniles Waived into the Adult System

"Alaska Juveniles Waived into the Adult System" by Justice Center, University of Alaska Anchorage. Alaska Justice Forum 14(4): 6 (Winter 1998). This brief article describes the provisions under Alaska Statutes for juveniles to be waivered into the adult justice system, and provides figures for juvenile waivers in Alaska from 1993 to 1997.

Under Alaska Statute 47.12.030, juveniles are automatically waived into the adult criminal justice system when arraigned for an unclassified or Class A felony which is a crime against a person (murder in the first or second degree; kidnaping; sexual assault in the first degree; sexual abuse of a minor in the first degree; manslaughter; assault in the first degree; robbery in the first degree) or the charge of arson in the first degree. (There are also lesser charges, such as for violations of traffic regulations or fish and game regulations for which a juvenile is processed in district court.) In addition to the statutory waiver of jurisdiction, judicial waiver—that is, by the judge hearing the petition on the juvenile—is permitted when the court finds probable cause that the juvenile is delinquent and not amenable to rehabilitation by treatment through the juvenile process before reaching the age of 20.

DFYS data for FY 1993-1997 indicate that relatively few juveniles enter the adult system through judicial waiver. (The DFYS figures for FY 1993-96 are all judicial waivers. The FY 97 figures are primarily judicial waivers, but may also include a few automatic waivers under the statute, which went into effect that fiscal year.)

1997 was the first full calendar year for which automatic waivers into the adult system were mandated. It is currently difficult to ascertain from the various state information management systems (including PROMIS, the computer system employed by the Department of Law) exactly how many juveniles have been waived into the adult system under this statute. However, Department of Corrections figures from early 1998 can provide some idea of how many juveniles are now being handled by the adult criminal justice system. DOC reported 18 inmates under age 18 on January 21, 1998 and 38 inmates aged 18 to 21 who were incarcerated before their 18th birthday. Among these 56 were a number awaiting trial or sentencing. (The total incarcerated population for January 21, 1998 was 4,242. DOC figures do not include juveniles who may be free on bail or supervised under adult probation.)

Juvenile Waivers in Alaska, FY 1993-FY 1997