LISTEN: Why are Alaska’s parole numbers so low, and what awaits those who get out?

Goose Creek Prison. Photo by Ellen Lockyer, KSKA - Anchorage.
Goose Creek Prison. (Ellen Lockyer/KSKA)

In the last five years, the rate of Alaskans granted parole dropped by 50%. The reasons are complicated. The pandemic put a hold on rehabilitation services, and changes to criminal justice through legislation also gave more discretion to the parole board over who would be released. With fewer people being granted parole and others leaving facilities after a year of pandemic lockdown, we’ll discuss the ripple effect on lives and the legal system.

Listen here:

HOST: Lori Townsend


  • Jonathan Pistotnik, coordinator, Anchorage Reentry Coalition
  • Bobby Dorton, co-chair, Fairbanks Reentry Coalition
  • Rich Curtner, former federal public defender, District of Alaska



Call 907-550-8422 (Anchorage) or 1-800-478-8255 (statewide) during the live broadcast.

Send an email to (Comments may be read on air).

Post your comment during or after the live broadcast on social media (Comments may be read on air).

LIVE Broadcast: Tuesday, July 13, 2021 at 10 a.m. on APRN stations statewide.
LIVE Web stream: Click here to stream.

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Lori Townsend is the News Director for Alaska Public Media. She has worked in print and broadcast journalism for nearly 30 years. Radio brought her to Alaska, where she worked as a broadcast trainer for Native fellowship students at Koahnic Broadcasting before accepting a reporting/host position with APRN in 2003. APRN merged with Alaska Public Media a year later. Through her freelance work, she has produced news and feature stories nationally and internationally for Independent Native News, National Native News, NPR , Pacifica, Monitor Radio, Radio Netherlands and AIROS. Townsend is the recipient of numerous awards for her work from the Alaska Press Club, the Native American Journalists Association and a gold and a silver reel award from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters. 

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