Alaska Justice Forum 17(4), Winter 2001

Alaska Justice Forum 17(4), Winter 2001

"Circle Peacemaking" by Lisa Rieger

Circle sentencing is a form of restorative justice, one of a number that have emerged over the past decade in response to demands for community and victim involvement in the justice process. These community-based projects are value-based, seeking to repair harm done and to transform communities. A Justice Center research team working in Kake, in Southeast Alaska, was able to observe the community's adoption of the circle sentence process over a period of eighteen months. Although circle sentencing is a community problem-solving mechanism open to all, Kake's tribal leadership considered it important to incorporate Tlingit values in the way the circle was conducted. The circle's broad intention is noted by its name in Kake: "circle peacemaking."

"Juvenile Jail Monitoring in Alaska" by Cassie Atwell

Since Alaska's plan for monitoring the detention of juveniles under the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act was accepted by the federal government in 1989, Alaska has made significant progress in reducing violations of the system of safeguards surrounding the detention of juveniles, but it continues to report a higher number of violations than is permitted under the act. The Justice Center has administered the monitoring program for the Alaska Division of Family and Youth Services, and now the Division of Juvenile Justice, since 1989. This article discusses the nature of the federal act and the Alaska monitoring program, and provides an overview of the data accumulated over the last decade along with an analysis of problems involved in responding to the federal regulations.

"Alaska Legal Services Service Learning Project" by Pamela R. Kelley

As part of a community partnership with Alaska Legal Services, which assists low-income individuals facing civil law problems, Justice Center paralegal students are working and learning in the Anchorage Legal Services office while assisting with client intake, interviews and case assessments. The service learning project is part of a course redesign that will permit students to apply theoretical knowledge in work with clients who may be unfamiliar with or intimidated by the legal process.

"Judicial Council Analysis of Civil Cases"

As one consequence of tort reform legislation passed by the state legislature in 1997, the Alaska Judicial Council has begun to report on closed civil cases, using data from forms filed by attorneys and the parties to provide the legislature and the public with information about the civil case process. The first Judicial Council report presents a basic analysis of the forms filed from September 1997 through May 1999. The data are extremely limited but they present a first look at the actual figures surrounding civil settlements.