The State’s new $250 million prison could be full in just three years, based on current projections from the Joint Judiciary Committee. To address the growing criminal population, the Joint House and Senate Judiciary Committee will meet on Thursday in Wasilla.
Representatives say they’ll focus their attention on community programs to reduce criminal activity.
A 2011 study by by the Alaska Judicial Council showed 66 percent of Alaskan inmates return to prison within three years of release. The Judiciary Committee says that during that time, 44 percent will be jailed for a new crime, which is the highest rate in the nation.
The basic idea is to save money by reducing the low-risk prison population by investing in community programs which are much less expensive than building new prisons.
Senate Judiciary Chair John Coghill said Alaska is at a crossroads, so they’ll be looking at “the best practices in the country on corrections reform.”
Guest speakers at the meeting will include: Chief Justice Walter Carpeneti, the Criminal Justice Working Group, Department of Corrections representatives, the Re-Entry Task Force, and former Texas Representative Jerry Madden.