My administration is committed to building safer, healthier communities in which Alaskan children and families can work, live, and learn without fear of violence. This initiative is being addressed in many different forums. My Children’s Cabinet and my Public Safety Cabinet have each identified the need to revitalize the systems that deal with children and youth at the state and local levels, and to ensure that these systems deal effectively with crime committed by juveniles. The Public Safety Cabinet specifically recommended that the juvenile code be rewritten and strengthened. Similarly, the Juvenile Justice Subcommittee of the Governor’s Criminal Justice Working Group recommended in its November 1994 final report that we establish a task force to undertake a comprehensive review and revision of Alaska’s juvenile code.
Alaskans realize that the ultimate solution to the juvenile crime problem is to prevent children from entering the juvenile justice system. To achieve this solution will require an active partnership among parents, schools, business people, law enforcement officials, and community leaders. As a society, we will be measured by how well we create an environment in which our children can live healthy and productive lives.
Therefore, under the authority of Article III of the Alaska
Constitution and AS
44.19.145(c), the Governor’s Conference on Youth and Justice is
conduct a comprehensive review of the juvenile code, to make recommendations on how to improve the systems in Alaska that serve children and youth, and to develop a plan to help prevent youth from entering the justice system.
Section 1. DUTIES.
The Governor’s Conference on Youth and Justice shall
- analyze the 1977 juvenile code and related laws, and determine the appropriate goals for Alaska’s systems serving children and youth;
- identify problems in the juvenile system that prevent it from achieving the identified goals;
- identify gaps in the community-based services that are available to assist children and youth;
- evaluate the availability and accuracy of data relating to Alaska’s systems serving children and youth;
- develop preliminary recommendations for changes to the juvenile system at the state and local levels;
- develop a preliminary plan to help prevent children and youth from entering the justice system;
- evaluate the fiscal impact of changing the systems serving children and youth and implementing a prevention plan;
- hold workshops and public forums to solicit public comment on the preliminary recommendations and preliminary prevention plan;
- develop final recommendations for changes to the juvenile system, taking into account the state’s current fiscal situation;
- develop a final plan to help prevent children and youth from entering the justice system, taking into account the state’s current fiscal situation.
Section 2. MEMBERS.
The Governor’s Conference on Youth and Justice shall be co-chaired by the Attorney General and the Commissioner of Health and Social Services, and shall include those members of the public, and the executive, legislative, and judicial branch of government that I will later appoint. These representatives shall provide broad geographic representation, and shall have diverse backgrounds with interest, expertise, or experience with the juvenile system or with children, youth, and families.
Section 3. WORKGROUPS.
The recommendations for changes to the juvenile system and for a final plan to help prevent children and youth from entering the system shall be made by the Conference as a whole. However, in evaluating the existing juvenile system and developing the initial plans and recommendations for change, the Conference shall be comprised of the following work groups:
- the Prevention Strategies Work Group, which shall review and make recommendations for comprehensive state, local, school, and community-focused prevention and early intervention strategies;
- the Children and Youth At Risk Work Group, which shall review and make recommendations regarding those parts of the state and local systems that deal with abused, neglected, runaway, out-of-control, and truant children and youth; and
- the Juvenile Offenders Work Group, which shall review and make recommendations regarding that part of the juvenile system that addresses youth who have broken criminal laws.
SECTION 4: STAFFING.
The Governor’s Conference on Youth and Justice shall draw on the Departments of Law, Public Safety, Education, Health and Social Services, Corrections, and Community and Regional Affairs for the necessary staff support and coordination, as appropriate.
SECTION 5: DURATION.
The Governor’s Conference on Youth and Justice shall forward its final report to the Children’s Cabinet no later than September 1, 1996. On that date, the Governor’s Conference on Youth and Justice shall cease to exist.
This order takes effect immediately.
DATED at Juneau, Alaska this 2 day of October, 1995.
By: S/S Tony Knowles