I am writing this letter to the people of Juneau and Alaska, in the hopes that it will help inform as many Alaskan citizens that the current public safety direction our state is going is in need of and of an immediate course direction correction.
Many Alaskans — including myself, my family, my neighbors along with numerous business owners and residents of Juneau — have repeatedly become victims to crimes such as vehicle theft, burglarized homes, property damage, theft and assault. These crimes have increased tremendously as a result of Senate Bill 91, also known as the “Crime Bill” which was enacted in 2016 and has negatively impacted and changed the Alaska Criminal Justice System at the expense of public safety, as is clearly shown in the following FBI crime data.
FBI crime statistical data shows that Juneau’s 2016 overall average crime rate is 101 percent higher than the national overall average and 37 percent higher than Alaska’s overall average crime rate in assaults, violent crimes and burglary, theft and property crimes.
Also, Juneau’s property crime rate is 97 percent higher than the national average and 44 percent higher than Alaska’s average.
The number of year-over-year crimes in Juneau has increased by 23 percent.
Alaska’s public safety picture is pretty clear, not pretty and in need of a change to protect more Alaskans and their property.
The primary focus of SB 91 was to reduce the state government costs by releasing arrested offenders back into the community, thus reducing overall correctional costs. Mathematical algorithm computerized programs have been used to greatly decide which offenders to release versus using the collective professional judgment of our elected judges, district attorney’s, probation offices and Correctional Classification Committee. This has been a grave mistake, in my opinion. No mathematical algorithm computerized program can effectively replace the sure knowledge and understanding of criminal behavior than those who have spent their professional lives in safeguarding our communities.
Those who have committed crimes as previously noted must not be released back into the community. Many must remain in custody to keep our people safe and to protect our freedom. Too many high-risk offenders are released and immediately reoffend or abscond.
Attempts have been made to change parts of the SB 91, but it is not enough. This experiment has caused a public outcry in communities throughout Alaska and SB 91 must be repealed completely.
We have a responsibility and duty to make a stand against SB 91 for our safety and to protect our freedoms. Let us unitedly stand together, agree on a common goal of increasing public safety and make our voices loud and clear by voting this coming November to completely repeal SB 91.
We need a new direction, new leadership and we need it now.
We must stand tall for Alaska.
Correctional Superintendent (Ret.)