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Commission Recommendations

12-2017 Summary

On January 19 and 27, 2017, the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission voted to forward a number of recommendations for amendments to SB 91 to the Alaska Legislature. In Recommendation 14-2017, the Commission recommends a number of technical fixes to the language of SB 91.

12-2017 Summary

On January 19 and 27, 2017, the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission voted to forward a number of recommendations for amendments to SB 91 to the Alaska Legislature. In Recommendation 12-2017, the Commission recommends amending SB 91 to clarify which defendants shall be assessed by the Pre-Trial Services program.

12-2017 Summary

On January 19 and 27, 2017, the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission voted to forward a number of recommendations for amendments to SB 91 to the Alaska Legislature. In Recommendation 13-2017, the Commission recommends fixing a drafting error in SB 91 regarding victim notification.

11-2017 Summary

On January 19 and 27, 2017, the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission voted to forward a number of recommendations for amendments to SB 91 to the Alaska Legislature. In Recommendation 11-2017, the Commission notes that there are two penalty provisions for DUI and Refusal convictions found in Alaska’s statutes. The Commission recommends that there be only one such provision in the statutes.

10-2017 Summary

On January 19 and 27, 2017, the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission voted to forward a number of recommendations for amendments to SB 91 to the Alaska Legislature. In Recommendation 10-2017, the Commission recommends amending a statute so that courts are only required to provide certain notifications to victims if practical.

9-2017 Summary

On January 19 and 27, 2017, the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission voted to forward a number of recommendations for amendments to SB 91 to the Alaska Legislature. In Recommendation 9-2017, the Commission recommends that the Legislature clarify the length of probation allowed for first- and second-time Theft 4 offenders.

8-2017 Summary

On January 19 and 27, 2017, the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission voted to forward a number of recommendations for amendments to SB 91 to the Alaska Legislature. In Recommendation 8-2017, the Commission recommends enacting a statutory provision to ensure that sex offenders are required to serve a term of probation as part of their sentence.

7-2017 Summary

On January 19 and 27, 2017, the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission voted to forward a number of recommendations for amendments to SB 91 to the Alaska Legislature. In Recommendation 7-2017, the Commission recommends clarifying the law so that people cited for Minor Consuming Alcohol may participate in the Alcohol Safety Action Program (ASAP).

6-2017 Summary

On January 19 and 27, 2017, the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission voted to forward a number of recommendations for amendments to SB 91 to the Alaska Legislature. In Recommendation 6-2017, the Commission recommends enacting an aggravating factor for Class A misdemeanors for defendants who have one prior conviction for similar conduct; this aggravator would allow a judge to impose a sentence of up to 60 days.

5-2017 Summary

On January 19 and 27, 2017, the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission voted to forward a number of recommendations for amendments to SB 91 to the Alaska Legislature. In Recommendation 5-2017, the Commission recommends enacting a presumptive term of 0-90 days for Class C Felonies for first-time felony offenders.

4-2017 Summary

On January 19 and 27, 2017, the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission voted to forward a number of recommendations for amendments to SB 91 to the Alaska Legislature. In Recommendation 4-2017, the Commission recommends revising the sex trafficking statute to clarify the intent of that statute and define the term “compensation” in this context.

3-2017 Summary

On January 19 and 27, 2017, the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission voted to forward a number of recommendations for amendments to SB 91 to the Alaska Legislature. In Recommendation 3-2017, the Commission recommends amending the “binding provision” of SB 91 to allow municipalities to impose different non-prison sanctions for non-criminal offenses.

2-2017 Summary

On January 19 and 27, 2017, the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission voted to forward a number of recommendations for amendments to SB 91 to the Alaska Legislature. In Recommendation 2-2017, the Commission recommends increasing the penalty to up to 10 days in jail for an offender’s third Theft 4 offense.

1-2017 Summary

On January 19 and 27, 2017, the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission voted to forward a number of recommendations for amendments to SB 91 to the Alaska Legislature. In Recommendation 1-2017, the Commission recommends that Violation of Conditions of release be returned to misdemeanor status, punishable by up to 5 days in jail.

9-2016 Summary

On November 29, 2016, the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission voted to forward its Report on Alcohol Related Offenses in Title 28 to the Alaska Legislature. This report was mandated by both SB 91 and SB 64, and provides the Legislature with a substantial background on impaired driving and related offenses in Alaska. It also offers recommendations on ways to improve the law in this area.

8-2016 Summary

On November 29, 2016, the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission voted to forward its Restitution Report to the Alaska Legislature. This report was mandated by SB 91, and contains a number of recommendations on ways to improve restitution collection for victims of crime. The report also provides the Legislature with a substantial background on restitution processes in Alaska and statistics on restitution collection.

7-2016 Summary

In a series of votes on August 28, 2016 and October 13, 2016, the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission RECOMMENDED a number of statutory and policy changes regarding behavioral health issues in the criminal justice system. Recommendation 7-2016 calls upon the Department of Health and Social Services to review the proposed statutory changes recommended in the Review of Alaska Mental Health Statutes conducted by the University of Nevada Las Vegas and to report back on its findings in September 2017.

6-2016 Summary

In a series of votes on August 28, 2016 and October 13, 2016, the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission RECOMMENDED a number of statutory and policy changes regarding behavioral health issues in the criminal justice system. Recommendation 6-2016 asks the legislature to amend the Commission’s enabling statute to include the Commissioner of the Department of Health and Social Services to the Commission.

5-2016 Summary

In a series of votes on August 28, 2016 and October 13, 2016, the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission RECOMMENDED a number of statutory and policy changes regarding behavioral health issues in the criminal justice system. Recommendation 5-2016 calls for an amendment to the relevant statutes and court rules to included behavioral health information in felony presentence reports.

4-2016 Summary

In a series of votes on August 28, 2016 and October 13, 2016, the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission RECOMMENDED a number of statutory and policy changes regarding behavioral health issues in the criminal justice system. Recommendation 4-2016 asks the legislature to enact a statute that would provide for a universally accepted release of information form for health and behavioral health care service providers.

3-2016 Summary

In a series of votes on August 28, 2016 and October 13, 2016, the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission RECOMMENDED a number of statutory and policy changes regarding behavioral health issues in the criminal justice system. Recommendation 3-2016 calls for an amendment to AS 12.30.027(b) which would allow defendants to return to a group home on bail.

2-2016 Summary

In a series of votes on August 28, 2016 and October 13, 2016, the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission RECOMMENDED a number of statutory and policy changes regarding behavioral health issues in the criminal justice system. Recommendation 2-2016 calls for the Department of Corrections (DOC) to establish a voluntary pretrial diversion/intervention option for Alaskans with behavioral health disorders within DOC’s new Pretrial Services Program.

1-2016 Summary

1-2016 Summary In a vote on October 13, 2016, the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission RECOMMENDED that the Alaska Legislature amend AS 12.55.155 (“Factors in aggravation and mitigation”) to include two new mitigating factors (mitigators) for sentencing offenders who have accepted responsibility for their actions. One mitigator would apply where defendants have entered into a plea agreement, and one would apply where defendants have not. Both of the recommended mitigators are expected to conserve prosecutorial, defense and court resources by promoting timely resolutions of criminal cases. Timely resolutions are also consistent with victims’ interests.

6-2015 Summary

In a vote on December 10, 2015, the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission RECOMMENDED that the Alaska Legislature adopt the package of reforms identified by the Commission in its Justice Reinvestment Report. Over a seven-month period, the Commission analyzed the state’s criminal justice system, including a comprehensive review of sentencing, corrections, and community supervision data. Based on this analysis, and the directive from legislative leadership, the Commission developed a comprehensive, evidence-based package of 21 consensus policy recommendations that would protect public safety, hold offenders accountable, and reduce the state’s average daily prison population by 21 percent, netting estimated savings of $424 million over the next decade. 6 additional recommendations were also forwarded, although not supported by group consensus. The Report can be found here:

5-2015 Summary

In a vote on October 15, 2015, the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission RECOMMENDED that the Alaska Legislature amend AS 12.55.085 (“Suspended Imposition of Sentence”), AS 12.55.086 (“Imprisonment as a Condition of Suspended imposition of Sentence”) and AS 33.05.080 (“Definitions’) as recommended. The changes would allow a court to delay the final disposition of a case, impose “pre-conviction” probation, and to ultimately dismiss the case if probation conditions were satisfied within the time set. These amendments provide a fix for the SIS “set aside” mechanism which has been shown to have little beneficial effect, although originally intended to provide a clean slate for those who succeeded on probation.

4-2015 Summary

In a vote on March 31, 2015, the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission RECOMMENDED that the Alaska Legislature amend AS 12.55.055, the Community Work Service (CWS) statute. Each year, hundreds of misdemeanor petitions to revoke probation are filed for failure to comply with the CWS portion of a judgment. (There were 494 such petitions in FY 2014.) In many of these PTR cases, the court ultimately converts unperformed CWS hours into jail. The specific statutory changes proposed by the Commission would direct courts to convert any unperformed CWS directed in a judgment to a fine – and not to jail time - once the deadline set and announced at the time of sentencing has elapsed.

3-2015 Summary

In a vote on March 31, 2015, the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission RECOMMENDED to the Alaska Court System that it provide ongoing judicial education on evidence-based pre-trial practices and principles that can improve how decisions are made in the earliest stages of a case to address the high percentage of pre-trial and unsentenced detainees in Alaska's DOC. The National Judicial College and the Pre Trial Justice Institute have developed pretrial justice curricula that can be adapted for statewide judicial education by those involved in planning judicial conferences for presentation -- optimally by a mix of experts and sitting judges who have succeeded in achieving reforms -- in one-hour to one-day segments at state judicial conferences. Such short programs could focus on key points about the current pre-trial detention situation and viable approaches to implementing improved practices, with examples from peer jurisdictions.

2-2015 Summary

In a vote on February 24, 2015, the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission RECOMMENDED that all three branches of state government invite and partner with two different Pew Trust initiatives offering free technical assistance: the Justice Reinvestment Initiative and the Results First Initiative. The Commission has had the opportunity to hear presentations from each Initiative and had opportunity to study their very impressive products, i.e. the results of technical assistance provided to other states. The two programs are distinctly different, but they would each serve to advance the Commission’s own time-limited mission i.e. to provide an effective review of our criminal justice system and make recommendations for reform where needed. Not insignificantly for our State, the technical assistance they offer is free.

1-2015 Summary

In a vote on January 23, 2015, the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission RECOMMENDED that the Alaska Legislature enact an ‘opt-out,’ as permitted by Congress, from a federal law, Section 862a(a)(2) of Title 21, United States Code. Section 862a(a)(2) permanently excludes any person convicted of a drug felony after August 1996 from eligibility for federal food assistance, which we in Alaska call Food Stamps. Congress allows states to opt-out or modify this ban. Alaska is one of only ten states that have maintained a lifetime ban for any person convicted after August 1996 of any state or federal drug felony, including possession. Most States have concluded that the exclusion from Food Stamp eligibility is counter-productive in several significant ways. Food Stamps are 100% federally funded.