Alaska Justice Forum 23(4), Winter 2007

The Winter 2007 issue of the Alaska Justice Forum presents articles on Alaska justice system operating expenses (FY 1984–2006), a review essay of a recent book about terrorism and the constitution, a study by the Alaska Judicial Council of offender recidivism in Alaska, and U.S. and Alaska incarceration rates in 2005.

"Justice System Operating Expenditures"

This article briefly describes changes in Alaska justice system operating expenses from fiscal year 1984 to fiscal year 2006. During this time, expenditures have increased 145 percent. The rise was dominated by an increase in the budget of the Alaska Department of Corrections, which almost dobutled between FY 1990 and FY 2006.

"Review Essay — Terrorism and the Constitution: Security, Civil Rights, and the War on Terror"
by John Riley

Debates on justice policy often reflect fundamental disagreements about the extent to which either the rights guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution or the crime-fighting mission of our justice agencies should be emphasized. Terrorism and the Constitution by David Cole and James X. Dempsey is a critical account of our increasing willingness to trade civil rights for an enhanced sense of security, a trade that the authors argue will ultimately leave us both unsafe and unsatisfied.

"Offender Recidivism Figures"

In the first general study of offender recidivism in Alaska, the Alaska Judicial Council found that two-thirds of the offenders in the study sample of 1,934 offenders had been re-incarcerated at least once in the first three years after their release from custody for a former conviction. The re-incarceration was for either a new offense or a probation or parole violation. Overall, 55 percent had a new conviction within the three years.

"U.S. and Alaska Incarceration Rates: Prisoners in 2005"

At the end of 2005, the total number of individuals incarcerated in the country’s prisons and jails stood at 2,193,798, according to figures recently released by the Bureau of Justice Statistics. This represents an incarceration rate of 737 people for every 100,000 people in the general population — the highest rate of incarceration in the world. The Alaska Department of Corrections reports a total incarcerated population of 3,385 on January 3, 2007. The Alaska incarcerated population has grown by almost 70 percent since 1984.