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New pilot program targets chronic petty theft, shoplifting

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The city is helping spearhead a one-year pilot program to help curb the drastic rise of theft and shoplifting in Juneau.

 

“Juneau Avert Chronic Shoplifting Pilot Project” aims to provide repeat offenders with a case manager, one-on-one training, behavioral therapy and other problem-solving techniques, rather than incarceration, to stop the cycle of chronic petty theft.

“As criminal reform has gotten underway in Alaska, we as prosecutors have had to rethink how we approach certain cases, especially misdemeanor property crimes,” City and Borough of Juneau City Attorney Amy Mead said in a prepared statement. “There is very little data on how to best address this population of offenders in a way that reduces the risk of recidivism, but preliminary findings suggest that motivational interviewing and moral recognition therapy may be beneficial. We are hopeful that this pilot project will serve as a model for other communities struggling with the same issues.”

The pilot program is a collaboration between CBJ Law Department, Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska Second Chance Re-entry Program, and the Juneau Alliance for Mental Health Inc., according to a CBJ press release.

The pilot program is estimated to cost $67,000, with funding coming from a federal grant through the Bureau of Justice Assistance. Representatives hope to start taking participants in October.

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the program was estimated to cost $100,000, due to misinformation from the City and Borough of Juneau. CBJ issued a later correction, saying the estimated cost is actually around $67,000. The Empire regrests the error.

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