Alaska Justice Forum 20(4), Winter 2004

The Winter 2004 issue of the Alaska Justice Forum features articles on forcible rapes and sexual assaults reported to Anchorage Police Department in 2000–2001, the growth of prison populations in the U.S., a review of an Alaska Judicial Council study of felony case process, options for indigent defense in Alaska, and dispositions of sexual asssault cases in Alaska.

"Forcible Rapes and Sexual Assaults in Anchorage" by André B. Rosay

Alaska generally, and Anchorage specifically, have been plagued by a high incidence of forcible rapes and sexual assaults. A joint project of the UAA Justice Center and the Anchorage Police Department has focused on gaining a better understanding of the parameters of the rape problem in Anchorage. Researchers collected data from all sexual assaults and rapes reported to the Anchorage Police Department in 2000 and 2001. These data provide the first solid information on victim and suspect characteristics, time and location of assaults, and other details about sexual assaults and rapes reported to the police, and suggest that effective solutions to problem need to be both suspect-focused and victim-focused, as well as event-focused.

"Population of Prisoners and Former Prisoners Expanding Rapidly"

The first release of figures on the prevalence of imprisonment among the U.S. population by the the Bureau of Justice Statistics shows that at the end of 2001 a total of 5,618,00 U.S. adult residents — about 1 in 37 — had served time in prison at some point in their lifetime. This total includes 1,319,000 who were prisoners at that time and 4,299,000 who were former prisoners. This was 2.7 percent of the adult population in the United States. Moreover, if rates of incarceration for the first time remain the same, by 2010 the total number of adults who will have served time in prison will be 7.7 million — 3.4 percent of the adult population.

"The Felony Case Process in Alaska: The Judicial Council Analysis" by Antonia Moras

A review of the Alaska Judicial Council's felony study presenting its most important findings, reviews the statistical model used, and provides some background context for the findings, especially those related to public attorneys and predisposition incarceration. The article also highlights those points at which the felony study presents major questions about the system that need further study.

"Appointment of Public Attorney"

In Alaska, as elsewhere in the United States, over 80 percent of all criminal defendants lack the economic means to pay for their own defense, and are represented by public attorneys. This sidebar to the article "The Felony Case Process in Alaska: The Judicial Council Analysis" briefly describes the options for indigent defense in Alaska.

"Disposition of Sexual Assault Cases"

Statistical analysis presented in the Alaska Judicial Council study Alaska Felony Process: 1999 shows that cases involving sexual offenses were handled even-handedly, with no effects associated with ethnicity in charge reduction, pre-disposition incarceration or sentence. Some disparities did appear in association with case location and with type of attorney.

"Western Criminological Review"

Sharon Chamard and André Rosay of the Justice Center have assumed editorship of the Western Criminological Review.