In response to the record number of deaths of incarcerated Alaskans this year, the ACLU of Alaska is formally requesting that the Dunleavy Administration initiate an independent investigation into the matter. On Friday, the civil rights organization sent a letter to Governor Mike Dunleavy requesting an independent review of the deaths of Alaskans while in DOC custody. Additionally, the ACLU of Alaska will be gathering with community members in a downtown Anchorage protest Friday afternoon to publicly reenforce the need for this investigation.

In its letter, the ACLU of Alaska outlines its request that the investigation:

  • Be conducted by a neutral entity to ensure objectivity and avoid any possible conflicts of interest.
  • Provide a thorough accounting of all deaths in custody, including causes of death, how each person’s health was assessed, conditions and circumstances of their confinement, and availability and delivery of healthcare prior to death. 
  • Identify how these deaths in custody may have been prevented, through both individual actions and systemic changes.
  • Identify whether language barriers or staff misconduct played a part in any of these deaths in custody.
  • Identify whether any of the people who died were eligible for, or had applied for, compassionate release or special medical parole.
  • Be made public to ensure transparency and accountability, so community members can work with state leaders to solve issues that contribute to deaths in custody.

From 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 14, the group will be joining concerned community members in a downtown demonstration. The event will begin on the Park Strip on the corner of F Street and 9th Avenue with speakers, and then people will march to the Atwood Building for a peaceful protest and to urge an independent investigation of the deaths.