The Alaska Department of Law works to assure safe and healthy communities by prosecuting and convicting criminal offenders in urban and rural Alaska.
Unlike most other states, Alaska has no system of county prosecutors. Some municipalities have ordinances governing criminal conduct and prosecute misdemeanor crimes that occur in their jurisdictions, but the Attorney General has the responsibility of prosecuting violations of state law.
District attorneys prosecute violations of state criminal law committed by adults and a large portion of the serious crimes committed by juveniles. Prosecution services protect the public by convicting criminals and placing them under appropriate controls.
The Attorney General is committed to providing the State of Alaska with vigorous and fair prosecution services. Many dedicated prosecutors, paraprofessionals, and support staff in the Alaska Department of Law work to help fulfill that commitment.
Rural Justice & Law Enforcement
The Criminal and Civil Divisions of the Department of Law are committed to improving justice in rural Alaska. The Department has rural offices in Bethel, Dillingham, Kotzebue and Nome. The staff work diligently in aiding and instructing law enforcement personnel, including Village Public Safety Officers and village and tribal officers; providing local prosecutorial services and attorneys who work on child protective issues, issues relating to alcohol abuse importation and interdiction; and supporting the fight against child abuse, sexual assault and domestic violence.
The Department recognizes the recommendations of the Alaska Rural Justice and Law Enforcement Commission established by the United States Congress in 2004. The Commission made nine recommendations for improving rural justice: (1) Engaging in more partnerships and collaboration, (2) Making systemic changes to improve rural justice law enforcement, (3) Enlarge the use of community-based solutions, (4) Broaden the use of prevention approaches, (5) Broaden the use of therapeutic approaches, (6) Increase employment of rural residents in law enforcement and judicial services, (7) Build additional capacity, (8) Increase access to judicial services, and (9) Expand the use of new technologies.
The Department has also worked with the Alaska State Legislature to support rural communities regarding local alcohol option laws and improving state statutes regarding bootlegging. The legislation has provided funding for lawyers to work on interdicting alcohol headed for dry communities. Our focus is to work with village residents to address their needs.
Victims in juvenile proceedings have the same rights as those in adult proceedings. Unless the juvenile is waived into adult court to be prosecuted by district attorneys because their crime is very serious, the case is handled by the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) in the Department of Health and Social Services. In the least serious juvenile cases, the juvenile probation officer works with the parents, victims, schools, community groups, and others to hold the offender accountable without a court hearing. In more serious juvenile cases, the case may go before a judge for adjudication. Department of Law attorneys prosecute the case before the judge. These hearings are closed to the public; however, the victim has the right to attend all hearings that the offender has the right to, just as in adult proceedings.
DJJ also manages the youth correctional facilities in Alaska. DJJ is responsible for victim assistance and notification from arrest through release in these cases. Visit their web site for office locations and other information about juvenile justice in Alaska.
The Judicial Council's Handbook (PDF 130K) for Victims of Crime in Alaska also has a short description of how juvenile cases differ from adult cases.
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