Purpose clauses, 2016

  • No clause

  • Parens patriae

  • Due process era

  • Balanced and Restorative Justice (BARJ)

  • Developmental Approach

Alaska’s purpose clause lists 14 elements.  Some language is similar to the Legislative Guide for Drafting Family and Juvenile Court Acts (1969) and other due process protections are mentioned.  It is in the BARJ category, as it mentions protecting the public, restoring the community and victim, imposing accountability, and equipping offenders with skills.

AK ST §47-12-010

Intake and diversion, 2016

Initial intake and diversion decision is at the discretion of the juvenile court intake officer.

In Alaska, police can take children who have run away to a licensed community program for runaways without a referral to the court for the first instance, when the program exists in the community. Youth can also be referred for mediation or other social service programs. When police take custody of a child known to have run away before, the officer must notify the juvenile court intake officer (JCIO) within 48 hours to determine whether a petition should be filed for a child in need of aid. When the child is residing in a program for runaway minors, a court order for protective custody cannot be enforced. When a juvenile is taken into custody related to delinquency, the court must be notified within 12 hours. In any case a minor is detained and taken to an emergency shelter or secure detention, and the minor is not brought before the court on the day detained, a detention hearing must be held within 24 hours if placed in a secure facility, or within 48 hours if placed in a non-secure facility.

Otherwise, the Department of Health and Social Services youth counselors (or designees) exercise the duties of juvenile probation officers (JPO) for the court upon receipt of a complaint. JPO’s screen 'child in need of aid' and delinquency reports for legal sufficiency and make the decision to dismiss the complaint, 'screen and refer' and close the matter, arrange an informal adjustment agreement, or proceed with the petition. Informal adjustment agreements require consent of the juvenile and parent/s, and cannot include detention or placement as a condition. Informal adjustments may include referrals to a community program for runaways, community dispute resolution center, or youth court program as available in the jurisdiction. Youth courts can be used for allegations involving misdemeanor-level and ordinance violations. Upon successful completion, as determined by the JPO, the complaint can be dismissed.

Once a petition is filed by the JPO, with the consent of the victim/s, the judge can ‘hold the matter in abeyance’ for up to 2 years with a stay of disposition pending referral to a restorative justice program and other dispositions. Once due consideration is given to recommendations of the program, the case may be dismissed. Services can include circle sentencing, family group conferencing, reparative boards, and victim/offender mediation.

Post-petition court diversion time limit/s exist.

In Alaska, pre-petition court diversion timelines are not specified, but judges can ‘hold the matter in abeyance’ for up to 2 years.

Courtroom shackling, 2015

Restricted by judiciary

In Alaska, Court Delinquency Rule 21.5 prohibits the routine use of restraints. If a juvenile appears at court in restraints, the judge must make an individualized finding when there is an objection to using them or when the juvenile is without counsel.

Competency, 2015

In Alaska, there are no juvenile statute or court rules that specifically address juvenile competency or make reference to to apply (adult) criminal code competency procedures to juveniles. Juvenile court rules generally permit application of criminal rule/statute if not inconsistent. The juvenile rule does specifically mention applying (adult) criminal code for ‘notice of an intention to offer evidence of mental disease or defect’ when entering an insanity defense, which may provide the opportunity to raise the matter.

  • No juvenile standard

  • Juvenile standard is the adult standard

  • Juvenile justice standard exists

  • JJ standard includes developmental immaturity

Sex offender registration, 2015

Does not register

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Juvenile Justice GPS (Geography, Policy, Practice, Statistics) is a project to develop a repository providing state policy makers and system stakeholders with a clear understanding of the juvenile justice landscape in the states.

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