Budget cuts hit prosecutors hard
To see how state budget cuts are affecting Alaska’s legal system, head to Juneau’s courthouse and search the court calendar for misdemeanor drug crimes.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find one.
The Alaska Department of Law has all but stopped prosecuting misdemeanor drug offenses in Juneau that aren’t linked to a more serious crime. The City and Borough of Juneau, which has taken over prosecution of most misdemeanors in the city, doesn’t take drug cases.
“That is a category of offenses that falls into sort of a no-man’s land,” District Attorney Angie Kemp told the Empire.
It’s perhaps the most glaring example of a problem facing Juneau, and Alaska as a whole. Facing a $2.7 billion annual budget deficit, lawmakers have acted to cut costs. Some of those cuts have fallen on Alaska’s public safety departments even as those same departments try to cope with a crime wave linked to Alaska’s ongoing epidemic of drug addiction.
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