Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $249,405)
The purpose of the Upholding the Rule of Law and Preventing Wrongful Convictions Program (URLPWC) is to protect the unwavering integrity of the criminal justice system and the consistent application of due process for all. The URLPWC Program supports efforts by both conviction integrity or review units and entities that represent individuals with post-conviction claims of innocence to review individual cases of post-conviction and appeals claims of innocence. Where possible, the program seeks to identify and apprehend actual perpetrators of crimes who eluded prosecution and bring justice to victim(s), thereby enhancing public safety and security. This program is funded under the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 (Pub. L. No. 115-141, 132 Stat. 348, 420). The objectives are to review cases of post-conviction and appeals claims of innocence; establish or enhance partnerships between units and entities to review individual post-conviction and appeals claims of innocence; establish or enhance units and other strong partnerships with organizations such as prosecutors offices or defense attorneys dedicated to preventing wrongful convictions; identify and apprehend, whenever possible, the actual perpetrator of a crime; and evaluate whether or not any systemic issues exist that may compromise the rule of law and recommend practices for mitigating them and preventing wrongful convictions.
The Alaska Innocence Project is partnering with the Alaska Office of the Attorney General to identify underreported wrongful convictions amongst the Alaska Native population, identify the causes of those wrongful convictions, and create policies and procedures which will prevent them in the future. They will develop pragmatic and effective ways to adequately provide the training necessary to implement these policies and procedures. The grantee will work with local prosecutors, law enforcement, defense counsel, and the Alaska Native community to carry out this work.