In the News - 2010 Archives

Allegation of Sexual Assault of Prisoner with Disability Spurs Independent Investigation. 

October 27, 2010

Anchorage - The Disability Law Center of Alaska (DLC) has launched an investigation into the Department of Corrections Anchorage Correctional Complex facility to determine whether abuse and/or neglect of an inmate with a development disability has occurred and whether the other inmates alleged to have been assaulted have disabilities. The investigation was set in motion immediately on the heels of the Anchorage Daily News story on Wednesday (10-27-10) which reported the federal indictment of a prisoner for the alleged sexual assault of three inmates. 

“This type of allegation raises issues concerning the identification of prisoners with disabilities,” says DLC Staff Attorney, Meg Allison Zaletel. “Our immediate concern is that prisoners with disabilities are safe and not placed in harmful situations.” A 2008 study by the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority revealed that 42% of inmates in Alaska prisons are individuals with mental illness or cognitive impairments.

The Disability Law Center of Alaska is the State’s protection and advocacy organization. As such, DLC is mandated under federal law to investigate reports of abuse and/or neglect against individuals with disabilities.  In that capacity, DLC has notified the Department of Corrections that it has initiated an investigation. The Disability Law Center anticipates the cooperation of the Department of Corrections in producing the requested information in a timely manner and looks forward to a full investigation to determine whether these individuals have been subject to abuse or neglect.

Contact:  Meg K. Allison Zaletel, Staff Attorney in Anchorage 907-565-1002

 
DLC Investigates Inappropriate Restraint of Juvenile During Transfer to Anchorage for Psychiatric Care.

August 24, 2010

Anchorage -  In August 2009 the Disability Law Center of Alaska (DLC) became aware of concerns regarding the transport of a juvenile from Juneau to Anchorage for psychiatric treatment. Of primary concern was that the juvenile was shackled in a waist belt and handcuffs and escorted from Juneau to Anchorage by two security guards even though he posed no threat to himself or his escorts; actions that seemed completely contrary to the State of Alaska’s policy for the transport of psychiatric patients. DLC initiated an investigation. Upon investigating the matter, DLC found a lack of communication and understanding among the various mental health providers regarding how to get the juvenile to Anchorage for psychiatric care. Additionally, the misuse of state commitment procedures by Bartlett Hospital and Juneau Alliance for Mental Health, Inc. exacerbated the situation ultimately leading to the juvenile’s secured transport.. DLC’s final report on the matter can be found here.

  • Update:  You can find Bartlett Regional Hospital's response to DLC's investigative report here.  
  • Update:  JAMHI has requested that all questions regarding this report be directed to: 
                    Pamela L. Watts, Administrator
                    Juneau Alliance for Mental Health, Inc.
                    3406 Glacier Highway
                    Juneau, AK 99801
                    907-463-3303
DLC and ACLU Challenge State’s Denial of Right to Parole Review

June 28, 2010

Anchorage - The Disability Law Center of Alaska (DLC) and the American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska Foundation (ACLU) have filed suit against the State of Alaska, Department of Corrections seeking to enforce the right of Alaska prisoners with mental illness to be considered for parole.  See the full news release here.

Law firm to examine eviction of North Pole seniors

April 2, 2010

FAIRBANKS -- A nonprofit law firm that serves as a watchdog for disabled residents says it will examine the reasons behind the state's shutdown of a North Pole assisted-living facility.  See the full story from the Anchorage Daily News here.

State evicts seniors from North Pole home

April 2, 2010

FAIRBANKS — A nonprofit law firm has opened another investigation of Forget Me Not Senior Care Homes’ closure.
The Disability Law Center of Alaska, a watchdog for disabled residents, announced it will look into the reasons behind the state’s shutdown of the North Pole assisted-living facility.  See the full story from the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner here.

Assisted living home closure spurs independent investigation.

April 1, 2010

ALASKA – The Disability Law Center of Alaska (DLC) has launched an investigation into the Forget Me Not Senior Home Centers in North Pole, Alaska to determine whether abuse and/or neglect of the assisted living center’s residents has occurred. The investigation was set in motion immediately on the heels of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner which reported Friday’s (3-26-10) abrupt closure of the facility.  Download the full press release and related information here.