CBJ to follow state law laid out in House Bill 49.

    Photo credit to CBJ.

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The CBJ will attempt to approve tougher penalties for crime.

    CBJ Attorney Robert Palmer will draft an ordinance that will change the CBJ criminal codes to conform with new state law.  The ordinance would be introduced to the Assembly on August 19.  The CBJ currently prosecutes 75-percent of the criminal cases in Juneau.

    Palmer noted the District Attorney has a heavy caseload and at times have to drop the less serious cases.   He noted there is a need for more drug treatment programs. 

    The CBJ modified codes when Senate Bill 91 was introduced because local penalties could not be stiffer than state law.  "This is another massive change.  The difference today is the state penalties are increasing, and we are not compelled to make the change."

    Palmer said the goal is to get drug treatment.  He noted some sentences are so short, there is no incentive to attend drug treatment programs rather than serve the short sentence.

    Palmer said the prosecutors consider a number of factors before they ask for a sentence.  One of the major ones is the length of a drug addiction.

    "Hopefully there will be more options for people to seek treatment," he added.

    Assembly Member Alicia Hughes Skandijs said the state could be overreacting with these longer sentences. 

    Assembly Member Michele Bonnet-Hale said there are a lot of people concerned about crime in Juneau.  "There is a real sense of urgency. People are starting to wonder if the situation downtown with violence is getting worse and it might be."

    Assembly Member Wade Bryson said the addicts are the ones burglarizing the homes and businesses of Juneau.  He added Senate Bill made it okay to possess drugs and steal a car.  He said the state removed the consequences for criminal.

    "People started to steal at will.  I'm so tired of criminals and I think the community is fed up with this.  Public Safety was the primary issue last year.  The state handed us a gift, finally, you can penalize the people who are committing a crime in the community."

    He said this will make the community safer again.


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