Juvenile justice in Alaska: Issues and challenges

Justice Alaska on Hometown Alaska returns this week to consider the topic of juvenile justice in our state. May 15 marks the anniversary of a key 1967 U.S. Supreme Court decision, called The Gault Decision, giving juveniles accused of crimes the same due process rights as adults, such as the right to timely notification of charges, the right to confront witnesses, and the right to counsel.

The case tells the story of a 15-year-old Arizona youth accused of making an offensive phone call to a female neighbor. A local sheriff took him into custody without alerting his parents. When they returned from work, they eventually located him at a county children’s detention home. After a few days, he was released to his parents, but they received a note alerting them to a court hearing just a few days later. There, a judge ordered the boy confined to a State Industrial School until the age of 21. If the boy had been an adult, the maximum punishment would have been two months in jail and a fine of $5 to $50.

This case highlights why children and youth moving through the justice system need support.

What are the issues in Alaska juvenile justice? What issues mirror those of adults in incarceration, and what issues are unique to children? Our guests are experts in juvenile justice and along with co-host and Senior Judge Elaine Andrews, we’ll discuss Alaska’s juvenile justice landscape.



HOSTS: Senior Judge Elaine Andrews and Kathleen McCoy


  • Heather Nobrega, Anchorage prosecutor in juvenile cases
  • John Bernitz, attorney in juvenile cases, public defender
  • Heidi Redick, chief probation officer, Div. of Juvenile Justice



  • Call 550-8433 (Anchorage) or 1-888-353-5752  (statewide) during the live broadcast (2:00 – 3:00pm)
  • Send email to hometown@alaskapublic.org before, during or after the live broadcast (e-mails may be read on air) hometown@alaskapublic.org
  • Post your comment or question below (comments may be read on air)

LIVE BROADCAST: Wednesday, May 17, 2017, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. (Alaska time)

REPEAT BROADCAST: Wednesday,  May 17, 2017, 8:00 – 9:00 p.m. (Alaska time)

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