2014 Alaska Department of Corrections Institutional Population

2014 Alaska Department of Corrections Institutional Population

UAA Justice Center. (2015). "2014 Alaska Department of Corrections Institutional Population." Alaska Justice Forum 32(2-3): 4-5 (Summer/Fall 2015). This article looks at highlights from the 2014 Alaska Offender Profile published by the Alaska Department of Corrections (DOC), with a focus on the 2014 institutional population defined as pretrial detainees, post-conviction inmates, and probation and/or parole violators housed in a correctional facility. A brief sidebar describes Alaska's unified system of corrections.
Links to publications mentioned in this article last verified 7 Sep 2016.

This article looks at highlights from the 2014 Alaska Offender Profile (Offender Profile) published by the Alaska Department of Corrections (DOC). All of the data in the report are point-in-time counts taken on either December 31 or June 30 of the year reported, as noted on the accompanying tables and figures. The focus here is on the 2014 institutional population (5,082 persons) defined as pretrial detainees, post-conviction inmates, and probation and/or parole violators housed in a correctional facility. (See "Alaska DOC: Unified Correctional System," this page.) In 2014, 99.5 percent of Alaska's institutional population were housed in Alaska, while the rest were housed in out-of-state facilities (Tables 1 and 2). From 2005 to 2014, the institutional population in the DOC system-housed in correctional facilities both in-state and out-of-state-increased by 20.1 percent.

Table 1. Institutional Population under the Authority of the Alaska Department of Corrections, 2005-2014
Table 2. Institutional Population under the Authority of the Alaska Department of Corrections, by Institution, June 30, 2014

Demographic Characteristics

Males comprise the majority of the DOC institutional population; Table 3 illustrates selected demographic characteristics of individuals in this population. Of the 5,082 persons in the total institutional population in 2014, 4,489 were male and 593 were female. Almost one third of the institutional population (60.3%) was sentenced, and 39.7 percent was unsentenced in 2014.

Table 3. Institutional Population under the Authority of the Alaska Department of Corrections, June 30, 2014: Demographic Characteristics

With regard to offense level, over three-quarters (76.0%) of the institutional population were charged with, or convicted of, a felony, and about 24 percent of a misdemeanor. Over one-third (36.3%) of the institutional population was in the age range of 25-34 years of age. A little over 43 percent were in custody for 6 months or less between their admit date and June 30, 2014, and nearly 23 percent of the institutional population were in custody for 37 months or more (data not shown).

In terms of race/ethnicity, about 46 percent of the institutional population were White; nearly 37 percent were American Indian or Alaska Native; almost 10 percent were Black or African American; just over 4 percent were Asian/Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander; and Hispanics/Latinos were just under 3 percent of this population (Table 3). Members of two minority groups, American Indian or Alaska Native and Black or African Americans, were in custody at levels disproportionate to their percentages in the general population. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, American Indians or Alaska Natives comprised about 15-19 percent of Alaska's general population, and Black or African Americans were 3-5 percent. In contrast, almost 37 percent of the institutional population in 2014 was American Indian or Alaska Native, and nearly 10 percent was Black or African American.

Offenders by Class of Offense

The Offender Profile reports the class of offense with which individuals in the institutional population have been charged or convicted. Table 4 shows the offense class, the number of persons in the institutional population charged with, or convicted of, each offense, and the change in the number of persons charged with, or convicted of, each offense class from 2005 to 2014.

Table 4. Institutional Population under the Authority of the Alaska Department of Corrections, by Offense Class, 2005 and 2014

By offense class, the largest increase in the institutional population over the period was for those charged with, or convicted of, sex offenses. There was a 54.6 percent increase in the institutional population charged with, or convicted of, sex offenses-from 353 persons in 2005 to 778 in 2014. The institutional population charged with, or convicted of, drug offenses rose 35.6 percent in 2014-increasing from 279 persons in 2005 to 433 in 2014. The next highest increases in the institutional population were for those charged with, or convicted of, property offenses (27.8%), person offenses (21.2%), and weapons offenses (21.2%). For public order/administration offenses, the institutional population increased 10.9 percent, while for probation/parole offenses, there was a slight increase of 1.9 percent in the institutional population over the period. The institutional population charged with, or convicted of, alcohol offenses decreased by 7.4 percent from 2005 to 2014- from 365 individuals to 340.

Figure 1 illustrates the proportion in the institutional population by offense category in 2005 and 2014. The proportion of the institutional population in custody for sex offenses increased from 8.8 percent in 2005 to 15.3 percent in 2014. There were slight increases in the proportion of the institutional population charged with, or convicted of, drug crimes (increasing from 7.0% in 2005 to 8.5% in 2014) and for property crimes (increasing from 11.4% in 2005 to 12.4% in 2014). The proportion of the institutional population in custody for person crimes remained stable over the period at about 26 percent, while the proportion of the institutional population charged with, or convicted of, weapons offenses also stayed the same-at 1.3 percent. The proportion of the institutional population charged with, or convicted of, parole/probation offenses dropped from 20.2 percent in 2005 to 16.2 percent in 2014; the proportion charged with, or convicted of, alcohol offenses declined from 9.1 percent to 6.7 percent, while the proportion charged with, or convicted of, public order/administration offenses fell from 12 percent to 10.6 percent.

Figure 1. Proportion of Alaska Department of Corrections Institutional Population by Offense Class, 2005 and 2014

A copy of the full report is available at http://www.correct.state.ak.us/admin/docs/Final_2014_Profile.pdf.

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