Alaska Justice Forum 25(1–2), Spring/Summer 2008

Alaska Justice Forum 25(1–2), Spring/Summer 2008

This brief article introduces a special double-issue of the Alaska Justice Forum focusing issues related to sexual crime. Reported figures indicated that Alaska consistently has an exceptionally high rate of sexual assault, with rates of forcible rape — 76 per 100,000 in the general population — over twice the national rate of 30.9. Because reports of sexual crimes tend to inflame emotions, it is important to ground public discussion in what is actually known about the crimes, victims, offenders, and law enforcement and prosecution efforts.

"Case Attrition of Sexual Violence Offenses: Empirical Findings" by Darryl S. Wood and André B. Rosay

Allegations have been made that the State of Alaska discriminates on a geographic and racial basis in the provision of criminal justice services to Alaska Native villages that are isolated from the main road system, including in response to sexual violence against Alaska Natives. Although compelling, the case made against the state is largely anecdotal. This article considers information gathered from the case files of the Alaska State Troopers (AST) and the Alaska Department of Law (DOL) to determine if there is an empirical basis for claims of unequal enforcement of sexual violence statutes.

"Revisiting Alaska's Sex Offender Registration and Public Notification Statute" by Deborah Periman

This article provides a look at the paramaters of Alaska's sex offender registration statutes. In Alaska and throughout the country sex offender registration requirements have become more inclusive: almost all convicted sex offenders now must register for very extended periods; the registry is available over the Internet; and more details on the current status of the offender are available to the public. The intent of the registries is to protect the public from convicted offenders, but it can be argued that the increasingly stringent demands placed on offenders may, in fact, be counter-productive. The severity of the registration requirements may prohibit the rehabilitation of offenders and their reintegration into the community, and the increasing burden on law enforcement to monitor and maintain very broad registries may prevent police from focusing on the more serious sexual predators.

"Sexual Assaults Reported to Alaska State Troopers" by André B. Rosay, Greg Postle, Darryl S. Wood, and Katherine TePas

Most research on sexual assault and the sexual abuse of minors in the state of Alaska has been focused on Anchorage; little has been known about the characteristics of these problems in other communities. The Justice Center, working with the Alaska State Troopers and the Alaska Department of Law, has completed the first thorough review of sexual assault incidents reported to Troopers, covering data from 2003 and 2004. The results delineate a first draft of the problem in Alaska's smaller communities, the population primarily served by the Troopers.

"Sexual Assault Nurse Examinations in Alaska" by André B. Rosay and Tara Henry

Sexual assault nurse examinations are important in responding to sexual assaults — both in treating victims and in collecting forensic evidence. The presence of genital injury, as documented in an examination. can be a factor in the prosecution of a sexual assault case. This article reports results from a study of the relationship between a patient’s condition at the time of assault and the time elapsed between the assault and its report and the presence or absence of genital injury. The study also examined the effect of the presence of genital injury on legal case resolutions and assembled descriptive data on a broad sample of cases handled under the Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) protocol.

"Anonymous Reporting and Forensic Examinations"

This article describes provisions of the 2005 Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act and its application in Alaska. Under the act, states must provide victims of sexual assault with access to forensic medical examinations by a trained examiner free of charge (or with full reimbursement), regardless of whether victims decide to cooperate with law enforcement.

"Further Reading on Sexual Assault"

A bibliography or articles and studies on sexual assault in Alaska. Most are available online. A chart of rates of forcible rape in the U.S. and Alaska is also included.

"The Number of Parents in Prison Grows"

According to a report released recently by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, over half of the nation's prisoners are parents of minor children. Of the total 1,518,535 inmates in custody at midyear 2007, 809,800 had children under eighteen - an estimated 1,796,600 children. This represents 2.3 percent of the total U.S. population under eighteen.

"ECCA Symposium"

A brief desciption of the 17th Environmental and Crime Analysis (ECCA) Symposium, held at University of Alaska Anchorage on July 23–26, 2008.

Justice Center Departure

Announces the departure of John Riley from the Justice Center to join the UAA Sociology Department as department chair.