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JRI Year: 2016



The Alaska Criminal Justice Commission (ACJC) was established in 2014 to undertake a comprehensive review of the state’s corrections and criminal justice systems. When the ACJC was formed, Alaska’s imprisonment rates had grown at a rate almost three times faster than the resident population.1 The cost of Alaska’s prison population was rising, yet the state’s recidivism rate remained high—almost two-thirds of people released from the state’s facilities return within three years. Further, the pretrial population had increased by 81 percent over the previous decade, consuming outsized resources given the geography of the state.2


With technical assistance from The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Crime and Justice Institute, the ACJC analyzed the state’s criminal justice system and subsequently developed a package of 21 policy recommendations.3 These recommendations were instrumental in creating Senate Bill (SB) 91, which passed with bipartisan support and was signed by then-Governor Bill Walker on July 11, 2016. SB 91 focused prison beds on people who committed serious and violent offenses, limiting the use of prison for lower-level misdemeanor offenses; revised some drug penalties; and expanded use of parole.4 To strengthen community supervision and community-based interventions intended to reduce recidivism, SB 91 established the use of graduated responses and reducing lengths of probation terms. To achieve the goals of SB 91, Alaska implemented policy and practice changes involving multiple state and local agencies.


Though many of Alaska’s JRI policies were repealed in July 2019, the state had made significant progress toward its goals. The percentage of people successfully discharged from probation or parole had increased from 66 percent in FY14 to 88 percent in FY18, and the number of people revoked to prison for a supervision violation declined 21 percent from FY17 to the first quarter of FY19.5 Despite this progress, a spike in property crime, which had been rising prior to the adoption of the JRI policies in SB 91, led to the repeal of many of the policies in SB 91.

For more information, see Justice Reinvestment: Alaska.

JRI-Driven Policies and Practices

  • Reclassify/redefine drug offenses
  • Reclassify/redefine property offenses
  • Establish/expand presumptive probation for some offenses
  • Revise sentencing enhancements
  • Revise mandatory minimums
  • Establish sentencing commission/revise sentencing guidelines
  • Improve/revise pretrial release systems
  • Establish/revise presentence assessment
  • Revise parole hearings/decision/eligibility standards
  • Expand good-time/earned-time prison credits/reentry leave
  • Establish/expand geriatric or medical parole
  • Establish/expand earned discharge (probation/parole)
  • Authorize administrative jail sanctions
  • Authorize/develop/modify graduated responses or matrices for violations
  • Cap revocation time
  • Require/improve risk-needs assessment
  • Require evidence-based practices
  • Improve behavioral health interventions
  • Reduce probation terms or active supervision period
  • Require data collection/performance measures
  • Establish/extend oversight council
  • Improve restitution/victim notification

1 Alaska Criminal Justice Commission, 2015, Justice Reinvestment Report, retrieved March 19, 2023 from

2 Ibid., 6.

3 Ibid., 2.

4 Ibid., 18, 19, 21.

5 Alaska Criminal Justice Commission, 2019, 2019 Annual Report, retrieved June 22, 2023 from, 32.

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