Lawmakers to DOC: Shipping prisoners out of state will make Alaska more dangerous

State’s past incarceration of prisoners in private facilities increased violent crime, costs

ANCHORAGE – A group of representatives today sent a letter urging Department of Corrections Commissioner Nancy Dahlstrom to reverse the Dunleavy Administration’s plan to ship hundreds of incarcerated Alaskans to private prisons in the Lower 48.

DOC is currently seeking bids from out-of-state firms with the goal of housing between 250 and 500 prisoners, rather than opening the Palmer Correctional Complex and using other existing facilities here that would provide jobs for Alaskans.

“We strongly oppose this decision,” the letter, signed by 22 lawmakers, states. “All evidence suggests incarcerating Alaskans in the Lower 48 not only tears apart families and communities, but it can also create more sophisticated criminals who will eventually return to Alaska. In 2012, Alaska began bringing out-of-state prisoners home. Much of the increased gang activity and violent crime has been directly attributed to Alaskans who spent time incarcerated outside.”

ATTACHMENT: A copy of the October 23 letter signed by Reps. Bryce Edgmon, Harriet Drummond, Steve Thompson, Louise Stutes, Chuck Kopp, Neal Foster, Dan Ortiz, Adam Wool, Grier Hopkins, Sara Hannan, Tiffany Zulkosky, Bart LeBon, Chris Tuck, Andi Story, Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, John Lincoln, Zack Fields, Geran Tarr, Andy Josephson, Gabrielle LeDoux, Ivy Spohnholz, and Gary Knopp.

Austin Baird
Communications Director, Alaska House Majority

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