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Kenaitze's Henu Community Wellness Court

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $330,205)

Kenaitze Indian Tribe (Kenaitze) is a federally recognized tribe located in the central Kenai Peninsula Borough (KPB) in the state of Alaska. With this funding, Kenaitze’s Henu Community Wellness Court (Henu) will:

Maintain program capacity to screen, monitor, support, and collect data on Henu applicants and participants; and
Maintain program partnerships, oversight, and accountability needed to operate Henu.

Kenaitze seeks to address the disproportionate rates of justice-system involvement among Alaska Native/American Indian (AN/AI) community members, especially for crimes involving substance misuse, by continuing to provide alternative-to-incarceration treatment pathways for adult non-violent offenders. Based on Adult Drug Court standards and 10 Key Components for Tribal healing-to-wellness courts, the 18–24 month “phased” approach of Henu operates under joint-jurisdiction between Kenaitze and the State of Alaska Court system, requiring regular check-ins with both Tribal and State Judges, frequent urinalysis (UA) to ensure participant accountability, continual monitoring toward sustained recovery from substances through chemical dependency and mental health treatment, and linkages to community resources and supports. Each Henu applicant is screened for program admission using evidence-based approaches, including Motivational Interviewing (MI), the Level of Service Inventory-Revised (LSI-R), and the Addiction Severity Index (ASI) screening tools. These timely screenings enable Henu to prioritize applicants with high risks/needs, and determine whether the applicant should be referred to a higher level of care than the program can provide, such as in-patient treatment. For Kenaitze to continue to address persistent substance use-related criminality, the spillover into other areas of family and community life, and the regional demand for restorative justice alternatives, sustained and expanded support for service coordination, chemical screening, participant re-entry, and key personnel—specifically the 0.5 FTE Tribal Court and Corrections Manager, the 1.0 FTE Probation Officer, and the Henu Court Judge—through Purpose Area 3 funding is desperately needed to ensure that referred Henu applicants can continue to receive timely screenings; that accepted program participants can continue to receive active supervision and case management, relevant resource referrals, and be held accountable to the high standards of the Henu program; and that the Henu Court partnership continues to be sustained in service to the community. By the end of the first program year, Henu will have expanded programmatic and facility capacity to serve as many as twenty (20) participants per year—nearly double the current enrollment, and equating to more than ninety (90) participants served by the end of the 5-year performance period.

Date Created: November 23, 2021