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30 Alaska Just. F. 1 (2013-2014)

handle is hein.journals/aljufor30 and id is 1 raw text is: Spring 2013                   UNIVERSITY of ALASKA ANCHORAGE                  Vol. 30, No. 1

Trends in Juvenile Delinquency,
School Suspensions, and Expulsions

Andrd B. Rosay and Marny Rivera
Over the past few years, many highly dis-
tinguished and well respected professionals
have retired after lengthy careers working
with troubled youth in Alaska. For this issue
of the Alaska Justice Forum, we asked three
of these professionals to provide reflections
from their work within the Alaska Division
of Juvenile Justice, the Anchorage School
District, and the Alaska Court System.
These professionals are Dean Williams., who
was the Superintendent of the McLaughlin
Youth Center; Carol Comeau, who was the
Superintendent of the Anchorage School
District; and William Hitchcock. who was
the Master of the Anchorage Children's
Court. Together, they provide a thought-
ful perspective on key issues facing school
districts and the juvenile justice system.
The purpose of this introductory article is to
provide some context for school discipline
issues by summarizing recent trends in ju-
venile delinquency, school suspensions, and
expulsions in Alaska.

Trends in Juvenile Delinquency
Law enforcement agencies make referrals
to the Alaska Division of Juvenile Justice
(Dii) if there is a finding of probable cause
to conclude that a youth (1) committed an
offense which would be criminal if com-
mitted by an adult, (2) committed a felony
traffic offense, or (3) committed an alcohol
offense after two prior convictions in District
Court for minor consuming. The Alaska
Division of Juvenile Justice publishes yearly
statistics on juveniles, referrals, and charges
(or offenses). Eachjuvenile may be referred
multiple times within a fiscal year (resulting
in multiple referrals per juvenile), and each
referral may include multiple charges.
In looking at trends, rates were calcu-
lated using Alaska Department of Labor
and Workforce Development estimates for
the 10 to 17-year-old population in Alaska.
Very few youth under 10 years of age are
referred to DJJ-usually about one percent.
A small number of youth who are 18 years
of age or older are referred to DJJ for pro-

bation violations or for crimes committed
prior to their 18th birthday-usually 3-4
percent. Following are data on three related
measures: rate of juveniles referred to DJJ,
rate of referrals to DJJ, and rate of offenses
referred to DJJ. Each has shown a marked
decline since 2003.
Rate ofJuveniles Referred to DJJ
Since 2003, there has been a steady
decline in the rates of juveniles referred to
DJJ (see Figure 1). This rate is based on an
unduplicated count juveniles who were
referred multiple times within the same fiscal
year are only counted once. In State Fiscal
Year (SFY) 2003, there were 564 juveniles
referred to DJJ per 10,000 juveniles in the
state population. By SFY 2012, the rate
of juveniles referred to DJJ dropped by 42
percent, down to 325 per 10,000 juveniles.
Rate of referrals to DJJ
Some juveniles were referred multiple
Please see Juvenile trends, page 11

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