The Mission: Congressional Charge
In 2004, Congress established the Alaska Rural Justice and Law Enforcement Commission within the Omnibus Appropriations Act, directing the Commission to review federal, state, tribal and local jurisdiction over civil and criminal matters in Alaska and make recommendations to the United States Congress and the Alaska State Legislature on four potential options:
- Create a unified law enforcement system, court system, and system of local laws or ordinances for Alaska Native villages and communities of varying sizes including the possibility of first, second, and third class villages with different powers;
- Meet the law enforcement and judicial personnel needs in rural Alaska including the possible use of cross-deputization in a way that maximizes the existing resources of Federal, State, local, and tribal governments;
- Address the needs to regulate alcoholic beverages including the prohibition of the sale, importation, use, or possession of alcoholic beverages and to provide restorative justice for persons who violate such laws including treatment; and
- Address the problem of domestic violence and child abuse including treatment options and restorative justice.
Between 2004 and 2012 the Commission studied the complex issues encompassed within each of these options, and issued recommendations in its 2006 Initial Report and Recommendations and January 2012 Report to the United States Congress and the Alaska State Legislature.