Recidivism data are a tool that can help policymakers determine how effectively a criminal justice system is working to protect the public. Such data can help answer whether the current system is appropriate, whether alternative methods could provide better results, and whether specialized programs such as therapeutic courts can help reduce recidivism rates. The Alaska Judicial Council published two reports in 2007 that sought to address these questions and more. This Comment has combined much of the data from these two reports in order to present them in a unified fashion, providing direct comparisons and contrasts where appropriate. The Council has also been busy at work responding to requests regarding the data originally published, and some of this new information is printed here. Finally, the Council has proposed that alternatives to incarceration be looked at in certain situations as a result of the findings and also has encouraged agencies sponsoring therapeutic courts to do more work in order to show the costs and benefits of that approach.
Teresa W. Carns, Recidivism in Alaska, 25 Alaska Law Review Online Articles Forum 1-28 (2008)