Alaska Native Justice Center Receives Prestigious National Award
ANCHORAGE –The Alaska Native Justice Center (ANJC) is one of six organizations nationwide to be honored with the 2019 Paul H. Chapman Award from the Foundation for the Improvement of Justice. This prestigious award recognizes individuals and organizations whose innovative programs and work have made improvements in the justice system. The recognition is based on ANJC’s efforts in advocating for statewide legislative reform to fix gaps in Alaska’s sexual offense laws. Anchorage-based ANJC was the only recipient from Alaska.
In 2018 ANJC partnered with the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) to successfully create two resolutions advocating for more rigorous sexual assault laws and greater equality for victims. ANJC’s advocacy came after a case involving the sexual assault of an Alaska Native woman exposed a loophole in state law and led to lenient sentencing for the perpetrator. The resolutions ANJC sought to close the loophole and ensure that victims of all ethnicities receive equal treatment in the justice system. The resolutions, which were adopted at the annual AFN gathering, later prompted Alaska lawmakers to propose and pass Senate Bill 12, legislation which rectified loopholes in sentencing structure and better protects Native people and others from predators.
“This is a landmark achievement for ANJC,” said ANJC Board Chair Gail R. Schubert. “Not only does this award recognize the extraordinary work done to improve Alaska’s sexual offense laws and increase safety for Alaska Native people, but it also shows the importance of advocacy for victims and equal treatment for all throughout Alaska’s justice system—something ANJC has been dedicated to for more than twenty-five years.”
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ANJC will be presented the Paul H. Chapman Award and a check for $10,000 at an event in Atlanta on September 28th. The Foundation for Improvement of Justice is a private not-for-profit institution founded in 1984 for the purpose of improving local, state, and federal systems of justice within the United States of America.