Alaska Justice Forum 21(2), Summer 2004

Alaska Justice Forum 21(2), Summer 2004

"Alaska Justice System Expenditures, 1984–2001"

Justice system operating expenditures in Alaska have been increasing much more quickly than the overall state budget. To a great extent, this is due to the steep rise in the correctional budget. This article provides figures on operating costs for Alaska's major justice system agencies—the Alaska Court System, the Departments of Public Safety, Corrections, and Law, and the Public Defender and Office of Public Advocacy—for state fiscal years 1984-2001. An accompanying sidebar story on justice system employment indicates that, compared with most other U.S. states, Alaska has a larger public employment sector in which justice system positions form a smaller segment.

"Review Essay—Prisoners Once Removed" by John Riley

For some time, crime policy has focused on the incarceration of offenders, ignoring the families and children they leave behind. Now, however, these children and other family members are finally starting to receive serious consideration, as researchers, practitioners, and policy makers move beyond individual accounts of crime to understand the broader context of family and community life in which criminality arises and is sustained. This article reviews Prisoners Once Removed: The Impact of Incarceration and Reentry on Children, Families, and Communities, an edited collection of current writings focusing on the collateral consequences of mass incarceration.

"Incarcerated Parents in Alaska Prisons"

As mentioned in an accompanying review of the books Prisoners Once Removed, an estimated 2 million children in the U.S. have at least one parent in prison. If Alaska figures parallel this national estimate, there may be as many as two thousand Alaskan children with at least one incarcerated parent. This article provides current information about services for incarcerated parents in Alaska prisons and their families.

"Anchorage Perceptions: Sanctions and Gun Crime Deterrence" by Brad A. Myrstol

Deterrence theory assumes that people are innately rational in the sense that they are able to comprehend and compare the costs and benefits associated with various courses of conduct. Actions which, on balance, yield more costs than benefits will be avoided, while actions providing more benefits than costs will be pursued. According to this theory, legal punishments should be formulated for crimes so that they impose costs for offenders that just exceed the benefits derived from their wrongdoing. The perception of criminal sanctions is integral to deterrence, because if actual or potential offenders are unaware of the possible application of sanctions, they cannot be deterred by them. This article examines how legal sanctions for gun crimes are perceived by respondents to a survey of Anchorage households in spring 2004. In all, 585 individuals in 551 households were interviewed.

"Loss and Restoration of Voting Rights in Alaska" by Antonia Moras

Article V, Section 2 of the Alaska Constitution provides for the disenfranchisement of anyone convicted of a “felony involving moral turpitude.” This article details the Alaska laws which deprive felons of their right to vote and provide for the restoration of their voting rights once their sentences (including probation or parole, as well as incarceration) have been served, and estimates the number of Alaska felons affected.