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KNOM Exchange: Mental Health and Criminal Justice

Alaskans awaiting arraignment in Nome's courthouse. Photo: Matthew F. Smith, KNOM file.

The Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority and the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission are in Nome, Unalakleet, Stebbins, and Gambell this week to ask residents in western Alaska how the state can achieve better results when it comes to treating mental health and substance abuse issues — specifically, how those results can connect people with treatment and avoid jail time.

On Thursday, Nov. 5, KNOM Exchange hosted guests Katie Baldwin with the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority; retired Supreme Court Justice Alex Bryner with the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission; Greg Razo also with AJCJ; Lance Johnson with Norton Sound Health Corp.’s Behavioral Health Services; and Spencer Cook, also with NSHC BHS.

The episode of KNOM’s Exchange is now over, but comments to the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission can be sent via email to postmaster[at]ajc.state.ak.us, or by calling 907.279.2526.

Comments to the Mental Health Trust can be submitted electronically via the AMHTA website, or by calling 907.269.7960, or in writing to:

Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority

3745 Community Park Loop

Suite 200 Anchorage, Alaska 99508


AMHTA finds 40 percent of people incarcerated in Alaska have a mental illness, substance abuse problem, or intellectual disability. This week on Exchange, we want to ask:

  • How can Alaska achieve better outcomes when it comes to mental health and criminal justice?
  • What can the state’s health, court, and law enforcement agencies do to help people get treatment instead of jail time?
  • What concerns and experiences can you share from western Alaska that can help guide statewide reforms?
  • Quite simply, what do you think is working, and what’s not, in our region?

More than ever, this episode of Exchange needs your calls, your thoughts, and your experience. Tune in, and call in, Thursday Nov. 5 at 10 a.m. — or submit a comment to be read on the air.

1 Comment

  1. […] KNOM Exchange will also be hosting a similar conversation Thursday morning, with guests from the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority and the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission, who will be listening to share thoughts—and experiences—on the issues of mental health and criminal justice from across the Norton Sound and Bering Strait. […]