Alaska Justice Forum 24(4), Winter 2008

The Winter 2008 issue of the Alaska Justice Forum presents a comparison of the American and Russian constitutions, a description of the Khabarovsk-Alaska Rule of Law Partnership (KAROL), discussion of children with incarcerated parents, figures on prison populations in Alaska and the U.S., immigration figures in the United States  from 1910 to 2006, and figures on non-citizens in the Alaska correctional system.

"Comparing the American and Russian Constitutions" by David Mannheimer

The constitutions of the United States and the Russian Federation were written half a world and more than two hundred years apart. Despite this fact, the two constitutions appear to be remarkably similiar on many levels. Yet their surface similarities mask true differences—differences in the explicit provisions of the two constitutions and also differences in how seemingly equivalent provisions have been put into practice. These differences are mainly attributable to two factors: the extremely different political problems facing the two nations when they drafted their constitutions and the different political traditions that shaped the drafters' choices and emphasis. This article explores the two nation's provisions for federal supremacy, the presidency, and the rights of citizens, and compares the American constitution's emphasis on procedure with the Russian constitution's relative open-endedness about the powers of government and selection of officials.

A longer version of this article, including a history of the development of the two constitutions and a list of references, is also available.

"Editor's Goodbye" by Antonia Moras

Antonia Moras, editor of the Alaska Justice Forum since 1987, will be leaving the Justice Center at the end of April 2008.

"History of KAROL—The Khabarovsk-Alaska Rule of Law Partnership" by Marla Greenstein

Since 2002, the Alaska Court System and representatives from other Alaska justice system agencies have worked with their professional counterparts in the Khabarovsk region of Russia to examine the issues posed by the administration of justice under the emerging Russian democratic system. This effort, the Khabarovsk-Alaska Rule of Law Partnership (KAROL), is one of the partnerships organized under the Russian-American Rule of Law Consortium, a national program that has paired state judicial systems with Russian courts. This article details the history and evolution of KAROL since its inception.

"Children With Parents in Prison"

As the prison population continues to grow in both Alaska and the U.S. as a whole, the number of children who have a parent or parents incarcerated also continues to grow. The number of minor children in this situation nationwide is now estimated to be over 2 million. In Alaska, over 10 percent of children taken into custody by the Alaska Office of Children’s Services (OCS) in both 2006 and 2007 had at least one parent incarcerated. The overall population of Alaska children who have a parent incarcerated, including those children who are not in OCS custody, is undoubtedly much higher.

"Prisoners in Alaska and the U.S"

The number of people incarcerated both in Alaska and the country as a whole continues to rise. In this state the rise has been steeper than in the country as a whole and is particularly marked for the female prison population and for those sentenced to more than a year—essentially those convicted of a felony. The increases in the prison population have the state’s prison operating at above capacity, with approximately a third of those incarcerated now in a private facility in Arizona.

"Immigrants, Refugees and Asylees Over the Last Century"

This article looks at immigration figures in the United States from 1910 to 2006. Over the last century, legal immigrants to the U.S.—people admitted as legal permanent residents—have accounted for about one-fifth of the nationa's total population increase. Over 45 million people entered the U.S. as documented immigrants between 1910 and 2006, and according to the U.S. Census, the country’s population grew from 92 million in 1910 to 300 million in 2006. The total legal immigrant population thus accounted for almost 22 percent of this increase. These figures show the impact over ten decades. From decade to decade during the century, however, the flow of immigrants grew or declined, with peaks occurring in the period 1910 to 1919 and over the last sixteen years.

"Non-Citizens in the Alaska Correctional System"

Figures for non-citizens held by the Alaska Department of Corrections show that the number of non-citizens being arrested for any reason or detained for an immigration violation has been consistently low—never rising even to one percent of the total incarcerated population. This is less than half the representation of non-citizens in the general population.

"Justice Center Move"

The Justice Center has moved offices to Suite 213 in the Consortium Library building on the University of Alaska Anchorage campus. All phone numbers remain the same.