Tribal Courts in Alaska

Tribal Courts in Alaska

UAA Justice Center. (2014). "Tribal Courts in Alaska." Alaska Justice Forum 31(3-4): 1 (Fall 2014/Winter 2015). An introduction to the Fall 2014/Winter 2014 issue of the Alaska Justice Forum focused on topics related to tribal courts in Alaska.

This issue of the Alaska Justice Forum is devoted primarily to issues related to tribal courts in Alaska, including how they function, measures of their effectiveness, and past and future issues regarding tribal court jurisdiction.

"Survey of Tribal Court Effectiveness Studies" (p. 1) examines empirical studies that have been conducted on the effectiveness of tribal courts, both in terms of reductions in recidivism and participant attitudes. The article also looks at some of the challenges to implementing a tribal court effectiveness study in Alaska.

Professor Jeff D. May of the University of Alaska Fairbanks offers two articles on the theory and implementation of the restorative justice principles frequently used in tribal courts. The first, "Restorative Justice: Theory, Processes, and Application in Rural Alaska" (p. 2), explores the principles behind using restorative justice as an alternate form of sentencing in criminal cases. The article focuses particularly on how restorative justice might be of benefit in rural Alaska. The second article, "Community Justice Initiatives in the Galena District Court" (p. 6) examines a community outreach program in rural Alaska whereby an Alaska Court System judge uses restorative justice principles in village sentencing hearings.

This issue also includes two surveys of tribal court jurisdiction-"Key Acts and Cases for Alaska Tribal Court Jurisdiction" (p. 12) and "Current Issues Regarding Alaska Tribal Court Jurisdiction" (p. 14). These surveys trace the development of tribal court jurisdiction in Alaska and federal case law and statutes, and examine some of the unresolved issues that will shape this jurisdiction in the years to come.

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