Recommendations

While funding challenges prevented the Commission from fully realizing its potential, numerous recommendations emerged from the fact-finding and deliberative processes in which the Commission engaged. Two over-arching themes emphasize the focus of the Commission's recommendations. First, increased cooperation, coordination and collaboration between tribal, state and federal courts and agencies would greatly improve life in rural Alaska and better serve all Alaskans. Second, tribal, state, federal and local governments must find a way to jointly identify and implement the most effective means by which to prevent alcohol and other illegal substances from reaching rural communities that have chosen to become dry.

The Commission's numerous, more specific recommendations are contained in each of its two reports. The recommendations issued in its 2006 Initial Report and Recommendations are organized into one of the following nine general recommendations:

  1. Engage in more partnering and collaboration
  2. Make systemic changes to improve rural 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 in rural Alaska
  8. Increase access to judicial services
  9. Expand the use of new technologies

In its January 2012 Report to the United States Congress and the Alaska State Legislature, the Commission made two over-arching recommendations. First, the Commission recommends that its work should continue at either the state or federal level. Whatever institutional shape the new deliberative body takes, the Commission urges that it include the same stakeholder groups that comprise the Commission, as well as the Commissioner of the Department of Health and Social Services, a representative of the Alaska State Court System and additional tribal representation to expand upon the tribal perspective. The new deliberative body should proceed with the same charge to allow continuation of a robust dialogue among the original stakeholder entities that is both active, and supported by, the state and tribal governments.

Second, concluding that "[a]lcohol abuse is the single most dominant issue to which many deadly social ills in rural Alaska are tied," the Commission urges all levels of government to aggressively pursue alcohol interdiction in rural Alaska, giving full consideration of a wide array of more specific recommendations that are included in the January 2012 Report to Congress and the Alaska State Legislature.