FAIRBANKS, Alaska - The State has recently received a federal grant for $900-thousand dollars to help implement what's called the 'Civil Diversion Agreement' with more Alaska tribes.
According to a press release from the Department of Law, under the agreement, offenders who would otherwise be charged with certain fourth degree assaults, reckless endangerment, Class B misdemeanors, crimes involving substance abuse, and certain alcohol and drug-related offenses must be given the option to go before the tribal court for a culturally-based remedy, instead of state court.
It also states that tribal courts can also decline to take the matter and send it back to state court.
Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth says this is just one way to help reduce crime.
“We heard from tribes that they're very interested in standing up and having our tribal courts do these programs and be involved with public safety at the local community level but they didn't have the money and the resources to do it. There wasn't a specific funding for it and so we went to the federal government and asked for a grant that would allow us to both have some money for training for tribal courts to do these programs and also to do sub-grants to the tribes who want to take on these programs and so we're really excited that we'll be able to expand the use of these Civil Diversion Agreements to more tribal courts in Alaska,” she said.
Two tribes have signed the agreement, Anvik Village Tribe and Nulato Tribal Council. The State has been working with these Tribes in preparation for their first referrals.