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Past School & Community Outreach Programs

The Alaska Court System: Celebrating 50 Years of Statehood, 1959 - 2009

The Alaska Legal History Series

The 50th Anniversary of Alaska Statehood also marked the 50th Anniversary of the Alaska Court System. The Alaska Bar Association and the Alaska Court System co-sponsored the Alaska Legal History Series in honor of this milestone, which featured presentations by prominent lawyers and jurists on the early days of our justice system. The presentations were filmed and are available for viewing by contacting Deborah O'Regan, Executive Director, Alaska Bar Association, at 272-7469 or oregand@alaskabar.org.

  • VOICES THAT CARRIED: The Framing of Alaska's Three Branches Featuring Doug Pope, Talis Colberg, Joe Josephson, and Judge Karen Hunt (Ret.), plus audio passages from actual debates at Alaska's Constitutional Convention, 1955-56. Presented October 22, 2009.
  • A JUDICIARY FOR ALASKA. Featuring Justice Warren W. Matthews (Retired) and a slideshow of images from Alaska's Constitutional Convention. Presented November 12, 2009.
  • EARLY JUNEAU JUDGES—THE PIONEERS. Featuring Chief Justice Walter L. Carpeneti and a slideshow of images chronicling the life of Justice John Dimond, Judge Thomas Stewart, and Judge James von der Heydt. Presented December 10, 2009.

50th Anniversary Educational Resources

The 50th Anniversary of Alaska Statehood also marked the 50th Anniversary of the Alaska Court System. The poster exhibit The Alaska Court System: Celebrating 50 Years commemorates the occasion with a photo retrospective highlighting key people and events in the court's history, from Statehood to the present day. Teachers are welcome to print it for use in their classrooms.

Accompanying the exhibit is a Quiz that is drawn from information on the posters and designed for use in classrooms and at participating courthouses.

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Children in Alaska's Courts Project

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Civic Learning & Engagement

From 2003-2008, the Alaska Court System sponsored the Alaska Teaching Justice Network, a coalition of educators, lawyers, judges, youth leaders, legislators, agency officials and others dedicated to advancing law-related education [LRE] in our state, which was supported by Youth for Justice, a program to promote law-related education funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice.

Alaska Civic Learning Assessment Project. In 2004, the ATJN secured a small grant from the national Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools to undertake the Alaska Civic Learning Assessment [ACLA] Project, an effort to survey the current state of K-12 civic learning in Alaska and to assess the civic knowledge and experiences of Alaska's youth. In November 2006, the ATJN published Advancing Civic Learning in Alaska's Schools: Final Report of the Alaska Civic Learning Assessment Project . The report details ten recommendations for improving the state of civic learning in Alaska.

Alaska State Legislature's Citizen's Advisory Task Force on Civics Education Policy. In May 2007, in response to the ACLA Report, the Alaska legislature established a Citizen's Advisory Task Force on Civics Education Policy. The Task Force was charged with reviewing the ACLA report and making recommendations to the legislature regarding its implementation. (See Resolution establishing the task force .) The Alaska Court System was represented on the Task Force by the longtime coordinator of the Alaska Teaching Justice Network. In January 2008, the Citizen's Advisory Task Force published its Final Report and Recommendations , which makes four main recommendations:

  1. the need for statewide coordination of civic learning and engagement to include the educational community, the community at large, and all branches and levels of government;
  2. the need to review and amend the Alaska standards for government and citizenship, and develop commensurate "grade level expectations";
  3. the need to identify and/or develop national, state and local civics curricula for all grade levels that satisfy the quality criteria for educational programming for democracy and incorporate the six promising practices for civic education; and
  4. the need to provide coordinated technical assistance and funding for comprehensive professional development opportunities for teachers and administrators.

The Task Force presented its report to the legislature in February 2008.

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Open Court: 2007-2009 Statewide Community Ooutreach Program Hosted By Chief Justice Dana Fabe

Open Court banner logo

Events 2007-2009

OPEN COURT is a judicial outreach program initiated by the Alaska Court System in February 2007 that brought former Chief Justice Dana Fabe and former Administrative Director Stephanie Cole together with members of the justice community and the public for discussion and problem-solving on specific topics of mutual concern. OPEN COURT sessions took place in most of the fifteen superior court locations in the state between 2007 and 2009. Each local court was asked to select the focus of OPEN COURT in their community.

The goal of OPEN COURT was two-fold. First, the program sought to identify practical solutions to the challenges facing the justice system by creating a forum for discussion, identification of best practices, and consensus-building among the decision-makers involved. Second, the program aimed to foster greater public understanding of our justice system and the role of courts in addressing community problems. To address these goals, the program format was divided into two parts: a work session for justice professionals and policymakers followed by a reception for the public at large.

OPEN COURT forums resulted in practical recommendations for timely action by the court system or legal community. For example, the main recommendation from the Juneau session was to establish a mental health court on a trial basis, and plans for a Juneau mental health court were shortly underway. In Ketchikan, the community decided to develop an educational team on the risks of juvenile substance abuse, drawn from the courts, the legal community, and public safety officials. The team plans to visit schools and youth organizations throughout the region. Sitka OPEN COURT participants identified the need for greater information and training about unbundled legal services as one of the best ways to address the rise in self-representation, and as a result the Alaska Bar Association sponsored a workshop on the issue during the fall of 2007. All OPEN COURT events promised comparable outcomes for improving the administration of justice.

Photo of an Anchorage OPEN COURT work session on felony case delay, held May 8, 2008.

An Anchorage OPEN COURT work session on felony case delay, held May 8, 2008.

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OPEN COURT events, 2007-2009:

  • Juneau, 2/27/07: Closing the Revolving Door: Therapeutic Courts & Community Corrections
  • Ketchikan, 4/4/07: Closing the Revolving Door: Therapeutic Courts & Responses to Juvenile Substance Abuse
  • Sitka, 4/6/07: The Rise in Self-Representation: Examining the Impacts & Alternatives
  • Anchorage, 8/29/07: Avoiding Delay in Child Protection Cases: Ensuring Timely Progress for Families
  • Kodiak, 10/30/07: Resolving Family Cases Through Settlement: Taking the Burden Off the Kids
  • Anchorage, 5/8/08: Avoiding Delay in Criminal Felony Cases: New Initiatives for Timely Disposition
  • Kotzebue, 5/29/08: Keeping Kids in School: Responding to Truancy in Our Community
  • Nome, 5/30/08: Underage Drinking: Ensuring An Effective Community Response
  • Kenai, 9/4/08: Public Reception to hear recommendations for Avoiding Delay in Criminal Felony Cases: New Initiatives for Timely Disposition
  • Fairbanks, 9/18/08: Public Reception to hear recommendations concerning A Cutting Edge Look at Child Custody and Visitation: Creating a Vision for the Future
  • Bethel, 6/3/09: Avoiding Delay in Child Protection Cases: Ensuring Timely Progress for Families
  • Palmer, 5/27/09: Avoiding Delay in Child Protection Cases: Ensuring Timely Progress for Families

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Success Inside and Out Program

The Success Inside and Out program was founded by Alaska Supreme Court Justice Dana Fabe to help incarcerated women prepare for the transition to life outside prison. Since 2006, the program has sponsored annual conferences at Hiland Mountain Correctional Center near Anchorage to provide information and support to women inmates prior to their release from prison, with the goal of improving their chances of success in the community.  Since 2008, the program has also been presented annually at Lemon Creek Correctional Center in Juneau.  At both locations, volunteer professionals offer workshops on topics that range from securing housing and employment to managing finances and maintaining healthy lifestyles.  Motivational speakers, music, and ever-popular luncheon fashion shows round out the conference activities.  Co-sponsors include the Alaska Court System, the Alaska Bar Foundation, and the National Association of Women Judges.

Conference supports Hiland inmates before they're released (Anchorage Dispatch News, October 24, 2015)

Re-entry Program Gives Inmates Hope to Succeed Inside and Out (Alaska Public Media, March 11, 2015)

First Lady Donna Walker addresses inmates during Opening Ceremonies of the Success Inside & Out event held at Hiland MountainCorrectional Center, October 2015.

Judge Stephanie Rhoades working with an inmate during the Passport to Success portion of the program.

Judge Anna Moran and Hiland Mountain Correctional Center inmate Erin Jones, October 2015.

Left to Right: Hiland Mountain Correctional Center Superintendent Gloria Johnson, Justice Dana Fabe, First Lady Donna Walker, Former Department of Corrections Commissioner Ronald Taylor.

Judge Jo-Ann Chung works with an inmate during the Passport to Success portion of the Success Inside and Out Program, October 2015.

Lt. Governor Byron Mallot address participants at the Success Inside & Out event held at Lemon Creek Correctional Center, March 2015.

David Katzeek mentors two participants.

Participants in break-out session.

Hiland Mountain Correctional Center photos by Aliki Joannides Photography,Lemon Creek Correctional Center photos courtesy of Neil Nesheim.

Success Inside and Out 2014 (Anchorage Dispatch News, October 25, 2014)

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