Alaska Public Media Story on the Kenaitze Joint Jurisdiction Court


Kenaitze Indian Tribe in Kenai is partnering with the State of Alaska to develop the state’s first joint-jurisdiction therapeutic court. Proponents say it’s a step towards better support for community members — both Native and non-Native — who are struggling with substance abuse and the legal system.

Judge Sweet identifies a particular issue of interest:

Kimberley Sweet, Chief Judge for the Kenaitze tribal court, said the situation is having a serious impact on families.

“99 percent of our children and native aid cases come in and there is a drug and alcohol component to either the neglect or the abuse that has taken place and the state court is seeing the same things,” Sweet said. “We were having people in our CINA cases here that had a simultaneous criminal case going on over in the state court.”

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