Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2007, $1,100,000)
The Edward Byrne Memorial Discretionary Grants Program, administered by the Office of Justice Programs' (OJP's) Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), furthers the Department's mission by assisting state and local jurisdictions in improving the criminal justice system and assisting communities in preventing drug abuse and crime. In fiscal year 2007, the Edward Byrne Memorial Discretionary Grants Program will focus on funding local, regional, and national efforts within six major categories: 1) targeting violent crime; 2) preventing crime and drug abuse; 3) enhancing local law enforcement; 4) enhancing local courts; 5) enhancing local corrections and offender reentry; and 6) facilitating justice information sharing. All categories combat, address, or otherwise respond to precipitous or extraordinary increases in crime, or in a type or types of crime.
Alaska Natives constitute 19% of Alaska's population (U.S. Census, 2001). Alaska Native adults and juveniles are arrested for many of Alaska's most serious crimes at rates that are highly disproportionate. Alaska Native Adults Account For: 75% of arrests for drunkenness; 68% of arrests for forcible rape; 38% of arrests for burglary; 32% of arrests for aggravated assault; 44% of Family/Child (non-support, neglect, desertion, or abuse of family/children); and 28% of all arrests among persons 18 and older. Alaska Native Juveniles Account For: 63% of arrests for forcible rape; 39% of arrests for other sex offenses; 49% of arrests for burglary; and 25% of all arrests among persons 18 and over. Violent offences, sexual offences, and burglary are among the categories in which Alaska Natives are most disproportionately represented. Alaska Native rates of incarceration are similarly high, at 37% of adult and 41% of youth offenders in institutions (2003 Offender Profile, Alaska Department of Corrections). This makes Alaska Native adults 2 ½ times as likely to be in a correctional institution as their non-Native counterparts and Alaska Native juveniles 3 times more likely to be in a correctional institution than their non-Native counterparts. Just as Alaska Natives are over-represented among arrests, so also are they disproportionately represented among Alaska's victims. Alaska Native women experience the highest rates of sexual violence in the state. Alaskan women are murdered by their intimate partners at a rate 1.5 times greater than the national average. In 2003, Alaska ranked first for rates of forcible rape at 2.8 greater than the national average. Last year, 59.85% of domestic violence victims were Alaska native, Hispanic, Asian or another minority. At the same time, Native children constitute nearly 50% of the children under the care of the State of Alaska, Office of Children's Services. Many of the Alaska Native women leaving incarceration have extensive histories of victimization.
To respond to precipitous or extraordinary increases in crime, the Alaska Native Justice Center will implement the Yagheli Ten Project to enhance offender reentry in the State of Alaska. This program aims not only to develop and implement an adult reentry program, but also to increase rural Alaskan tribes' abilities to respond to offender reentry in their communities using traditional support. They will enhance their existing re-entry services by offering classes covering basic life needs such as housing, employment, transportation, child care, food and surviving probation and parole. They will also facilitate a series of three workshops for tribal court personnel and rural first responders throughout Alaska. These workshops will be used to build communities' skills in facilitating offender re-entry, understanding the dynamics of crimes that are common in rural Alaskan communities, and understanding the nature of 'reciprocity between tribal courts and the State of Alaska justice system.'