New joint tribal-state court established
A disproportionately high number of Alaska Natives are incarcerated in the state of Alaska. In 2014, nearly 32 percent of the prosecuted criminal offenders in Alaska were Alaska Natives; they only constitute less than 20 percent of the population. Recidivism rates are higher for that group as well. Now, the state is working on new ways to partner with tribes to help solve both problems.
For the first time in Alaska, there will be a joint tribal-state court. A Kenaitze tribal judge will sit side-by-side with a state judge and have equal say in decisions. It will be a wellness court that hears criminal cases involving substance abuse, and will start taking up to 20 participants in March. Currently, tribal courts only have jurisdiction over civil matters, like adoptions, divorces, domestic violence petitions, and child protection cases.