The Alaska Prison Project centers restorative justice, healing, community safety, diversion, and alternatives to incarceration to transform Alaska’s failing criminal legal system. The project is dedicated to ensuring that our state’s jails and prisons comply with U.S. and Alaska Constitutional law, and to ending policies that criminalize poverty, substance misuse, and mental health issues which result in disproportionate rates of incarceration for Black and Brown people.

The Prison Project is built around five values:

  1. Ensure transparency & accountability in our criminal legal system

    • Establish an internal affairs unit to investigate conditions of confinement, and serious incidents, such as deaths, overdoses, and excessive use of force
    • Create oversight for the Department of Corrections to protect the human and civil rights of incarcerated Alaskans
  2. Honor the constitutional presumption of innocence

    • Restore the constitutional rights of Alaskans to speedy trials, to bail, to legal counsel, and to other rights
  3. Guarantee humane conditions of confinement

    • Eliminate the use of solitary confinement, for non-punitive purposes.
    • Ensure access to critical physical, mental, and behavioral health services to protect life and health while incarcerated
  4. Create meaningful opportunities for release, rehabilitation, and re-integration

    • Create a more diverse parole board to enable it to more accurately, and objectively determine a person’s chance of community success post-release
    • Pass Second Look legislation to provide opportunities for juveniles sentenced as adults an opportunity for resentencing after serving 15 years of their sentence
  5. Integrate repair, reconciliation, and restoration as cornerstone principles of our criminal legal system.  

    • Update Prisoner Rights Guide to provide critical legal information to incarcerated Alaskans and their families
    • Improve access to civil justice for incarcerated Alaskans and their families
    • Support efforts to strengthen tribal courts and restorative justice frameworks

The Alaska Prison Project will build power to achieve this mission and activate these values through centering the experiences of incarcerated people and their loved ones.

Pro bono cases

How to help

The ACLU of Alaska Prison Project receives hundreds of intakes a month from incarcerated people. Interested in helping improve access to justice for incarcerated people? Here are pro bono cases currently available.

Prison deaths

Project: Prisoner Rights Guide research. Alaska incarcerates thousands of people every year. The Alaska ACLU has a prisoner rights guide to provide information regarding issues including how to advocate for medical care, decent prison conditions and food, how to vote, and much more. The ACLU of Alaska is looking for pro bono assistance with legal research to update the guide. 

Religious Freedom and Prisoner’s Rights Case. State prisoner civil rights case involving a claim of religious discrimination and access to medical care. Client is a pretrial inmate and is a practicing Muslim who wears a Kufi (head covering). He is being denied necessary medical care when he is wearing his Kufi. Client needs pro bono representation for his civil rights case (client is represented by private counsel for his criminal case).  

Sexual Assault Negligence and Prisoner’s Rights Case. State prisoner rights case involving a claim of sexual assault when he was held in pretrial detention, and then after sentencing, was transferred to another facility where he was sexually assaulted. Client needs pro bono representation for civil suit.

Medical Negligence/Tort and Prisoner’s Rights Case. State prisoner case involving denial of access to medical care for undiagnosed spinal meningitis while incarcerated. He is now in a coma.  Client needs pro bono representation for civil suit.

Any questions and/or interest in the above cases, please contact Ruth Botstein @ 907-263-2007 or