Coming up: The expensive part

On the first day of the special legislative session, the Alaska House and Senate agreed to repeal and replace 2016’s infamous Senate Bill 91 that is blamed for rising property crime across the state.

The House may vote on the agreement, a compromise on House Bill 49, next week; the Senate sometime after Memorial Day.

The legislation, if signed by Gov. Mike Dunleavy, as appears likely, would make sex offenders moving here from other states to register in Alaska, increase sex crime sentences and general lengthens other prison sentences. That likely would mean inmates spending more time locked up, sending prisoners out of state and reopening the Palmer Correctional Center. One estimate has the cost of all that at about $100 million.

SB91 failed in large part because while its aim was to reduce recidivism and save money on Corrections, the money to rehabilitate and provide job training and counseling for inmates being released at the end of lighter sentences never materialized. Instead, the justice system became a revolving door, especially for car thefts and other property crime.

In the end, instead of the state paying to imprison criminals, Alaskans got to pay for their misdeeds.

With SB91 gone – and goodbye and good riddance, now we will see if the Legislature can make HB49 work.

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