The complex issues surrounding the delivery of justice and law enforcement in rural Alaska are profound and acute. They represent multi-dimensional challenges that have stymied rural communities for decades. Residents of these remote communities, the majority of whom are Alaska Native, continue to face high rates of alcohol abuse, juvenile suicide and family violence/sexual assault, often simultaneously struggling to maintain order in their communities without a law enforcement presence physically located in those communities. While Alaska Natives represent only nineteen percent of the total population of the state, they are twice as likely to be represented in the state’s juvenile justice and adult correctional systems, and more than three times as likely to be represented in the state’s child protection system.
In this report, the Alaska Rural Justice and Law Enforcement Commission (“Commission”) offers recommendations that have emerged from the fact finding and deliberative processes in which the Commission has engaged.