Alaska Justice Forum 31(1–2), Spring/Summer 2014

Alaska Justice Forum 31(1-2), Spring/Summer 2014

PDF of Spring/Summer 2014 issue"Shifting Marijuana Laws and Policies: Implications for Alaska" 
by Jason Brandeis

Marijuana regulation continues to be a pressing criminal justice and social policy issue both in Alaska and across the nation. A ballot measure that would legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana in Alaska will be before the state's voters at the November 2014 general election. This article summarizes Alaska's current marijuana laws, identifies recent changes to other state laws and federal policies related to marijuana use and possession, and discusses the impact of those changes on Alaska's marijuana laws.

"The Homeless: Who and How Many?" 
by Barbara Armstrong and Sharon Chamard

Across the nation in both rural and urban areas, public and private agencies work to provide services for homeless people. One of the biggest challenges is collecting data about homeless individuals: how many people are homeless, who they are, what services they need most, and how long they have been homeless. This article looks at reports from 2012, 2013, and 2014 on estimates of homelessness in the U.S. and Alaska, the subpopulations of homeless individuals, and the various definitions of homelessness. References for sources cited are provided. Web supplements provide more detailed tables and an expanded bibliography of resources on homelesseness.

"The Alaska Criminal Justice Commission: A Legislative Call for Action" by Mary Geddes

With its enactment of Senate Bill 64 during the 2013-2014 legislative session, the Alaska Legislature created the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission. This article describes the work of the commission, which is charged with evaluating and making recommendations "for improving criminal sentencing practices and criminal justice practices, including rehabilitation and restitution" over a three-year period. An accompanying sidebar describes other provisions of SB 64, the omnibus crime bill.

"Early Resolution for Family Law Cases in Alaska's Courts" by Stacey Marz

The Early Resolution Program (ERP), the first program of its kind in the nation, was developed by the Alaska Court System's Family Law Self-Help Center to provide self-represented litigants in family law cases with free legal assitance and mediation to help resolve issues and reach settlements without protracted court trials. This article discusses the ERP's goals and development, describes how cases are screened and processed, and presents ERP statistics though August 2014. An accompanying sidebar provides a program timeline, and a web supplement outlines how attorneys and judges approach various issues in a case at an Early Resolution Program (ERP) hearing.

"New Faculty"

Professor Lindsey Blumenstein has joined the Justice Center faculty as of the Fall 2014 semester.