2018 Alaska General Elections

Criminal justice

Where do you stand on the criminal justice reforms enacted by SB 91 and what changes (if any) would you like to see?

Where do you stand on the criminal justice reforms enacted by SB 91 and what changes (if any) would you like to see?

  • U.S. House of Representatives

    • Alyse Galvin

      Independent (Democratic Party nominee) candidate for U.S. House of Representatives

      Since Senate Bill 91 is a state law, it is not for the federal government to say what changes should be made. I can tell you that in Congress, I would fight for more funding for public safety in Alaska, such as federal grant programs for additional state troopers and Village Public Safety Officers, resources for combating the opioid epidemic, and additional funding for reentry programs.

    • 2018 Republican U.S. House of Representatives candidate Don Young

      Don Young

      Republican candidate for U.S. House of Representatives

      I understand and appreciate the need to reform various criminal justice policies from sentencing to efforts to reduce recidivism. However, in the year since Senate Bill 91 was signed into law, crime has continued to rise, and the citizens of Alaska have understandably grown more fearful. While any efforts to reform SB 91 fall under the purview of the state, state legislators should listen to the voice of Alaskans to be tough on crime.

  • Governor

    • Billy Toien

      Libertarian candidate for Governor

      The “medical’ industry is price fixed, and often toxic. When prices are out of control, instead of picking each others pockets we need to allow free market competition and the freedom to choose alternative treatments. The providers need to be paid according to their level of skill, availability, and workload (similar to all jobs).

    • Mike Dunleavy

      Republican candidate for Governor

      There are multiple causes to the current crime epidemic, but I believe that Senate Bill 91 has made our problems worse. The public has completely lost confidence in SB 91, and I have repeatedly called for a full repeal of this troubled policy. We need to end “catch and release” of criminals, and we need to deliver swift and severe consequences for criminal behavior – especially for individuals dealing drugs. We need to ensure that police, prosecutors, and our courts have the resources they need. We need to focus on strengthening Alaska’s economy. The misery caused by our economic recession — including the highest unemployment rate in the country — creates an environment in which criminal behavior is more likely to proliferate.

    • 2018 Democratic candidate for governor Mark Begich

      Mark Begich

      Democratic candidate for Governor

      There has been a systemic failure on the state level to address the exploding opioid epidemic and increasing crime within our communities that has led Alaska to be ranked number one for crime nationwide – this is unacceptable. Politicians want to blame it all on Senate Bill 91, but the truth is that the failure is much bigger than one bill. There were parts of SB 91 that haven’t been working, and parts that are good, like an increased focus on rehabilitation for those dealing with substance abuse. But the legislature didn’t adequately fund key programs. That’s something that needs to happen. We need to really tackle our crime problems and not focus on a single bill to blame it all on.

      When I was mayor of Anchorage, my administration cracked down on crime – adding more than 80 police officers as well as two prosecutors to the U.S. Attorney’s office who were part of a strategic effort to get drug dealers, gang members, and violent criminals behind bars and off our streets. We have to do several things simultaneously: address the opioid epidemic, substance abuse, and mental health issues; invest in local police through state revenue sharing; fully staff the Departments of Public Safety, Law, and Corrections; utilize innovative partnerships with federal prosecutors and leverage state resources; closely coordinate state and local government efforts; and bolster public safety in rural communities.

  • Lieutenant Governor

    • 2018 Libertarian Party candidate for Lieutenant Governor Care Clift

      Care Clift

      Libertarian candidate for Lieutenant Governor

      The reforms were not entirely enacted due to cuts in programs that would rehabilitate certain classes of offenders. It is time to start over and fully fund alternates to prison that include rehabilitation and are less expensive for the state.

    • Kevin Meyer

      Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor

      The candidate has not submitted a response to this question

    • Debra Call

      Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor

      Our criminal justice system has been broken for a long time. And while Senate Bill 91 didn’t cause these problems, it did exacerbate them. But the debate about whether to tweak or repeal SB 91 misses the forest for the trees. The fact of the matter is, SB 91 has failed. We need to start over and take a holistic approach to fixing our criminal justice system. This begins with filling the open positions we have that are fully funded: for example 40 state trooper and 20 corrections positions. We also have to fully fund our system, which means going back to 5 full days of court instead of four. At the same time, we have to make sure that sentencing is commensurate with the crime, and that we’re not creating a revolving door system for people committing crimes. At the same time, we must recognize that the majority of people in our correctional facilities have some sort of drug or alcohol problem. We must focus on treatment and rehabilitation alongside enforcement and prosecution. And finally, we must recognize that there are some people that just should not be put through the traditional criminal justice system — for example, young, first-time, non-violent offenders. Creative approaches like youth courts and wellness courts can not only alleviate some of the burden on our criminal justice system, but can also serve as an early intervention for people who made a mistake but do not pose a threat to society so long as they get the proper resources.

  • House District 33

    • Chris Dimond

      Independent candidate for House District 33

      I believe the intent and implementation of Senate Bill 91 would have been successful had we funded the necessary components to make it successful. If we are going to make criminal justice reform work, we need to go through SB 91 and fund the components needed, or look at rewriting portions of the bill to ensure we are keeping law-abiding Alaskans safe.

    • Sara Hannan

      Democratic candidate for House District 33

      I support public safety for all Alaskans and funding for our public safety personnel. I would like to see increased funding at the Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Substance Misuse and Addiction Prevention. I would like to see the state address the drug epidemic and substance abuse issues via community-based programs.

      I will support expanding the Village Public Safety Officers and Village Police Programs. We also need an increasing staffing at the Department of Public Safety and the Department of Law, Office of Public Advocacy. I support the diversion and pretrial monitoring programs that began in 2018.

  • House District 34

    • Andi Story

      Democratic candidate for House District 34

      Senate Bill 91 was enacted without the necessary system of pretrial enforcement and treatment options necessary in the midst of a recession and opioid epidemic, and in a state where we lack mental health services. It was destined to have significant and serious flaws. Senate Bill 54 addressed some needed changes by increasing penalties for certain crimes. The legislature also funded some treatment programs, but more treatment cannot come fast enough for families and society, and for people who are suffering.

      SB 91 needs to be amended further. For example, heroin possession was a Class C felony (with possible jail time). That was changed to a Class A misdemeanor with no jail time for the first few offenses. As a result, offenders were released, and there was no leverage to force people to get treatment or alert authorities to drug suppliers; and there were no consequences to provide incentives for treatment and illegal drug use. This needs to be fixed.

      Previous domestic violence acts were also changed in Alaska Statute 18.66. For example, if a partner threatens you, doesn’t hurt you physically but smashes a baseball bat over something while threatening you, it is criminal mischief and not a significantly punishable crime. Yet, it is recognized by experts that acts of intimidation cause emotional harm, are on a continuum of violence and often times, if not addressed, lead to physical harm later. Stiffer consequences and penalties of domestic violence crimes in Alaska Statute 11.41 should be amended.

    • Jerry Nankervis

      Republican candidate for House District 34

      Senate Bill 54 attempted to fix some of the shortcomings of Senate Bill 91. We need stronger penalties for repeat offenders. Alaskans are tired of having their personal property stolen and want to see the criminal justice system work better. Some drug-related crimes should return to felony offenses. I support drug treatment options, but repeat offenders need jail time. Car theft is also rampant, it should be should be treated the same as other personal property theft. If the vehicle value exceeds $750, then it should be considered a felony. My 24 years of law enforcement experience will be valuable for working with both sides of the aisle to find the right solutions.

  • Senate District Q

    • Don Etheridge smiles as Cathy Muñoz introduces him as a candidate for Alaska's Senate District Q at a campaign event at Rie Muñoz Gallery in Juneau on July 12, 2018.

      Don Etheridge

      Independent candidate for Senate District Q

      We need to open the entire bill up and keep parts that can be saved but throw out any of the parts that let criminals out of jail just to save money.

    • Jesse Kiehl

      Democratic candidate for Senate District Q

      We need to do more to address crime in Alaska. Senate Bill 91 was implemented backwards. States like Oklahoma and Texas warned us that we couldn’t do only half of the things that reduced crime in their states. If Alaska shortened hold times in order to keep offenders in their homes and jobs, we also needed to build monitoring and treatment, too. The monitoring is just now fully online, and the treatment is still sorely lacking. Without those pieces, SB 91’s reforms looked a lot like catch-and-release.

      I’ve worked as chair of the Juneau Assembly’s Finance Committee to help address the state’s gaps. We increased staffing for the Juneau Police Department, increased addiction treatment capacity, and funded mental health services. But not every Alaska community can do that.

      I’ll work in the legislature to address the public safety system from multiple directions, including increasing law enforcement recruitment and retention by fixing our pension system. I worked on this with Sen. Egan and will keep fighting to bring back the chance to earn a real pension. As the only state without any sort of pension for new employees, we struggle both to recruit and keep our public safety officers — at great cost. Alaska can reduce crime with targeted investments in public safety, more treatment, and more experienced law enforcement.